I’ve recently come to really enjoy eating quinoa, a whole grain that originated in South America thousands of years ago. Actually, quinoa isn’t technically a grain, but a seed. In today’s cuisine, however, it’s used much like you would use grains like brown rice or couscous.

Quinoa has some great health benefits. It is a good source of fiber and protein, with each 1 cup cooked serving providing 5 grams of fiber and a huge 8 grams of protein. More importantly, the protein in quinoa is a complete protein, which means it provides all the essential amino acids so your body can build protein. This is a rare quality to find in a grain. Additionally, quinoa has lots of B vitamins as well as minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium. And it has the added benefit of being gluten-free, so it can be a great alternative for those with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
Quinoa is fairly easy to prepare–it cooks up like rice. Just boil it in water for 10-15 minutes and it’s done.
One of my favorite recipes at The Resort is Chef Cameron’s recipe for quinoa lettuce wraps. It’s a lovely, flavorful dish that really packs a good nutritional punch. With the popularity of quinoa increasing, it’s not too difficult to find various recipes in cookbooks or on the internet. I recently found some interesting recipes I thought were worth sharing. Just click the link on the recipes below:
For those of you interested in counting calories, the calorie count is provided under the Nutritional Information section for each recipe.
For more information about quinoa, its benefits and how to prepare and cook it, I found this article helpful (click the link).
So add quinoa to your variety of whole grains, and enjoy the benefits!
Rachel Cope MPH, RC, CD