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White Quinoa / Golden Quinoa from Peru.
Price at major bulk food chain: $6.20/lb
Quinoa has exploded in popularity in the recent years because of its high nutrition value, ease of cooking and versatility. While technically a seed (not a grain), it's used in lieu of grains like couscous and rice in dishes and recipes.
Quinoa is high in protein and considered a "complete protein" as it contains all essential amino acids, making it bioavailable without combining it with nuts or legumes to be usable by the human body. The high protein content along with the iron content makes it ideal for vegetarians and vegans who may be lacking in both, which are typically found in red meats, and makes it a great component of a vegetarian diet.
Quinoa is cooked similar to rice and the change in texture and colour make it simple to cook and apparent when its done cooking. It can also be made in a rice cooker, making it ideal to set-and-forget while the rest of the meal is prepared. Flavours, spices and herbs can be added to the cooking process, which are readily absorbed by the quinoa, adding to the flexibility and variety that is possible.
Most recipes call for 1 cup of Quinoa to 2 cups of water, however we have found a more satisfying crunchy texture with our Quinoa when using 1 cup of Quinoa to 1+3/4 cups of water.
While delicious itself, quinoa is typically used as a base or side dish for full meals including meats and other legumes. It can be used as a component in a full meal, in a salad, or even substituted (fully or partially) in recipes for cookies, cakes, brownies and waffles.
Quinoa has been pressed into quinoa flakes as a substitute for oatmeal, ground into quinoa flour, pasta shapes like quinoa macaroni and quinoa spaghetti in lieu of traditional pasta, and made into puffed quinoa to add crunchy texture to desserts.