Balanced Nutrition

Healthy food spotlight: quinoa

Annessa Chumbley, RD, Nutrition Expert
A meal including quinoa in a mason jar

Quinoa… you’ve probably heard of it, but have you tried it? You may find it delicious enough to make it a normal part of your pantry and meal rotation. Here you’ll find the story of quinoa, and some yummy ways to use it.

Quinoa Nutrition Facts

Quinoa is a grain crop with edible seeds, and it’s a seed that is just as nutritious as it is versatile.

It’s naturally gluten-free, a good source of protein and fiber, and one of its most beneficial nutritional qualities is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids.1 It also contains B vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.2

One cup of cooked quinoa provides:2

Quinoa also contains flavonoids, which are beneficial antioxidant plant compounds.3 And, because quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, it is a perfect plant-based protein source for vegans and vegetarians. Plus, it’s cholesterol and trans fat-free.2

Because of its great nutrition profile, quinoa may help fill you up, and keep you fuller longer. It’s satisfying, delicious and easy to cook.

History of Quinoa

Quinoa is native to Peru and has been referred to as “the mother of all grains” because of its comprehensive protein profile.4 It was first cultivated in the Andes Mountains, and it’s a plant actually related to beets, chard, and spinach.5

How to Cook Quinoa

When quinoa is cooked, it becomes soft and fluffy, and has a nutty taste. It’s very versatile, because it can handle other flavors no matter what recipe it’s used in. For this reason, it’s often used as a high-protein and higher-fiber swap for rice. It’s delicious used in pilafs, soups, stews, sides, stir-fry, or lunch bowls.

To cook quinoa, simply rinse it until the water runs clear, then boil 2 parts water with 1 part quinoa. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 12-15 minutes. The quinoa should absorb all of the water. Then remove from heat, and fluff quinoa with a fork. Season, and stir in whatever other tasty elements you like.

If you are new to using quinoa, here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

a meal that includes quinoa, greens, and feta cheese

Here are two easy quinoa recipes that I love to make:

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa

Instructions: Spray a medium-sized saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high and add onion, cooking until translucent (about 5 minutes). Turn heat to high and add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, turn heat to low, and continue cooking just until warm. Serve warm or chilled!

Delicious Cranberry Pecan Warm Quinoa Salad

One bite of this will convince you! Enjoy it as a delicious side, or add grilled chicken or steak to make it a meal.

Instructions: Spray a medium-sized saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high and add onion, cooking until translucent (about 5 minutes). Turn heat to high and add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle cranberries in, cover again, and let quinoa stand for 5 minutes. Mix in pecans and salt, and serve!

Annessa Chumbley

About the Author

Annessa RD is a mom, dietitian, TV anchor, recipe creator, and spokesperson, who cares deeply about encouraging and inspiring people to live their healthiest, happiest lives, and is known for her engaging & conversational style. Annessa uses her background in weight loss coaching to help patients and clients transform their lives and make cooking easy, fun and irresistible. Annessa's health tips and recipes have been featured on morning shows and in print media all over the country, including the Hallmark Home and Family Show, Women's Health, Forbes Online, and Pop Sugar.

When she isn’t in her kitchen making (messy) memories with her kids, Annessa is the co-host of the WISHTV's Indianapolis afternoon talk show, “All Indiana," where she shares inspiring stories, real life issues, and some of her signature, delicious recipes. Annessa can be found on Facebook and Instagram @AnnessaRD, and on her website for e-cookbooks and tips - AnnessaRD.com

Learn More about Annessa Chumbley

Rx Only. For the safe and proper use of Plenity or more information, talk to a healthcare professional, read the Patient Instructions for Use, or call 1-844-PLENITY.

References

The opinions provided in this article are those of the author alone, and in no way imply an endorsement by Gelesis Inc. The information in this article should not be used as a substitute for talking with your healthcare professional. Always talk with your healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment information.