Superfood Spotlight: Quinoa

What really is quinoa?  Well for starters, it is pronounced KEEN-WAH.  Most people think quinoa is a grain but it is really the seed of the plant, Chenopodium Quinoa and is a highly nutritious food.   It is native to South America and was a staple crop to the Inca people.

Tri-Color Quinoa: Cajun-style

Why should you eat quinoa?

Short version: Rich in protein, fiber and manganese.  Gluten-free. No cholesterol, sugar and low-fat.

1) PROTEIN: Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids.  Besides meat products, it is difficult to obtain all nine essential amino acids from a single food source.  For example, beans must be eaten with a grain in order to get all nine amino acids.  This makes quinoa an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8g protein.

(2) GLUTEN-FREE: For those who are gluten-intolerant, quinoa is your gem. If you are allergic, make sure it was not in contact with wheat in the process.  By nature, quinoa is gluten-free but check just to be safe.

(3) MANGANESE: Quinoa has 40-45% of your daily intake of Manganese, which relaxes blood vessels.  This can help with hypertension, cardiovascular problems, aches and pains.

(4)  FIBER: My favorite! 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 5g of fiber, about 20% of your recommended daily value.  Fiber latches onto cholesterol and takes it out of your system through pooping.  Yes, I just wrote ‘pooping’ for the entire cyber-world to see.  For the record, pooping is a scientific term.  Nobody cares about bowel movements, just tell me how regular/irregular you poop.  Then I can tell you a lot about your health.

Quinoa Citrus Salad

Convinved yet?  (Sorry if I grossed you out with the poop, haha)  Quinoa is fluffy and and light and have a great nutty, dense texture.  It will be bland if you cook it with only water, but try cooking it with 1/2 water, 1/2 vegetable or chicken broth.  It can really enhance the flavor.

How to prepare Quinoa

  1. Wash the seeds to get rid of residue and bitterness, drain with a sieve
  2. Add 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid, and bring to a boil
  3. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until ready (about 15 minutes)
  4. Fluff with fork to stir

I highly recommend experimenting with various spices and herbs and toss it in pastas and salads.  You can even use it in breads, muffins and other baked goods, making them gluten-free!

Citrus Quinoa-layers

This Quinoa black bean and corn salad was one of my first posts on The Fresh Find, and it holds dear to my heart.  I made it for holiday party with my co-workers and it was a hit!

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad

  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 2 c. black beans
  • 2 c. corn
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 c. lettuce
  • 1 avocado
  • additional: cilantro, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese
  1. Cook quinoa accordingly with the vegetable broth, cumin and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of oil and black pepper with the beans, corn, onion, and red pepper.
  3. In an 8×8 pan, cover the base with quinoa and cover with bean/pepper mix.
  4. Top with lettuce, avocado, cilantro or whatever else your heart desires!

Here are some of my other favorite quinoa recipes!

Quinoa Spinach Patties

Quinoa Patties close | www.thefreshfind.com

Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Citrus Salad

Citrus Quinoa above

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers (I just made them again this week, keep posted for a new recipe!)

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers | www.www.thefreshfind.com

Coming tomorrow… Baked Quinoa with Roasted Kale and Chickpeas!

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  • Reply
    Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies
    August 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I love quinoa! It’s so versatile. I like to cook it in a little fruit juice and eat it for breakfast :)

    • Reply
      August 21, 2013 at 10:25 am

      That’s such a great idea Kelly! What kind of juice do you use? And how much? I’d love to try that for breakfast!

  • Reply
    Baked Quinoa w/ Roasted Kale and Chickpeas {with a GIVEAWAY!} | The Fresh Find
    August 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    […] All the hoo-ha kept me intrigued and I continued to experiment with quinoa.  I have come a long way since then and now love it.  Not only is quinoa gluten-free, but it is rich in fiber, protein and manganese.  Sound familiar from yesterday’s Superfood Spotlight on Quinoa? […]

  • Reply
    August 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Isn’t quinoa versatile in everything else?! I wonder if quinoa is delicious in sweet desserts ;)

    • Reply
      August 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      I’ve made a few muffins out of it before and it was! I want to try a few cookies, but my baking skills are not all that tremendous. Have you made it in sweet before?

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