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All About Quinoa: Cranberry, Scallion & Orange Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a staple in our families diet and we become bigger fans of this little ‘grain’ each time we eat it. Have you ever heard of Quinoa (pronouced ‘Keen-Wah’)? It is known as the ‘Mother of all Grains’ and I am seeing it everywhere these days from mass-market stores to magazines of all genres.  Why is it becoming so well publicized? I believe that is due to the increasing awareness of the benefits of adding whole grains to your diet and the increased awareness of celiac disease.  Speaking of whole grains, quinoa is actually not a whole grain but a seed. There are so many great things about this seed so let’s begin with the fact that it is a complete protein. A complete protein contains all the essential amino acids your body needs and cannot produce on its own. It is also a great source of magnesium, iron, manganese, copper and phosphorus. In addition, this seed is low on the glycemic index (it will not spike your blood sugar) and is high in soluble fiber.

When I first bought a container of organic Quinoa, I read about how to cook it and read that in its natural state has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins, so you had to spend lots of time soaking and rinsing it. However, most quinoa sold commercially in America has been processed to remove this coating so a good rinsing is all it takes and then you cook it as you would rice.

I have a number of tasty quinoa recipes on Savor the Thyme but one of my absolute favorites is:

Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Scallions and Orange Rind

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Handful of sweetened dried cranberries
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon orange rind
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa
2. Place 1/2 cup into a bowl
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix

I have cooked it in water as well as vegetable and chicken broth and have used it in salads, soups and as a side dish. It has a slight nutty flavor that can be enhanced with toasting.  It is a great grain to introduce into your families diet because it has both a light and fluffy texture and it is not a chewy or strong flavored.

For even more quinoa, check out these 5 quinoa recipes.

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