Quinoa is an ancient food that has been cultivated in the South American Andes for centuries. The Inka called it the "mother grain" and considered it sacred. Technically it is not a grain, but a seed, rich in iron, protein and calcium. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids.
Before using, the seeds need to be rinsed well in order to remove a bitter resin-like substance called saponin. Usually quinoa sold in North America is already rinsed, but it's always a good idea to rinse again to remove any leftover residue.
Consider using quinoa in soups, stews, salads, breakfast foods, desserts...The possibilities are endless. Being highly nutritious and gluten free, quinoa is a worthy addition to anyone's diet.
I stock up every month on both white and red quiona and try to incorporate it in my cooking at least once a week.
You'll love this one:
White quinoa porridge with banana and toasted coconut
2 cups light coconut milk
1 cup white quinoa
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup shredded, toasted coconut
Combine coconut milk with 1 cup water in a pan. Add a pinch of salt and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently for about 25 minutes, until the grains are tender.
Meanwhile place sugar with 1 1/4 cups water in another pan and place over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and simmer until thick and syrupy.
Pour some syrup into your serving bowls, then add a layer of quinoa, add more syrup and finally top with sliced banana a sprinkle over the toasted coconut.
If you haven't got much of a sweet tooth you might enjoy this quinoa salad recipe: http://labohemecherie.blogspot.com/2009/02/moroccan-red-quinoa-salad-with.html