Quinoa: it sounds strange, but you’re gonna love it!

I love quinoa!

Okay, it does have a strange-sounding name, which is pronounced “keen-wah and it’s even spelled funny. But once you try it, you’ll find yourself serving it more and more. (The United Nations even named it the food of the year in 2013).

Quinoa isn’t a grain so much as a simple seed.  But when cooked, it can be served in a dish or bowl just like corn, barley or brown rice. And if you’re looking for a food that has it all, well, quinoa might just be it. Farmed and eaten in South America for centuries, it has all eight essential amino acids, practically explodes with fiber, and is brimming with iron, phosphorous and magnesium (all very healthy stuff).

So just how do you cook this exciting new food (assuming it’s new to you, that is)? Using a rice cooker on the “steam” setting it takes all of about 10 to 15 minutes. When done, the water should be absorbed and the quinoa light and fluffy.

You can give it a ‘starring role’ in any number of salads featuring your favorite ingredients, along with, say, lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs. Or you can add it to an entree in place of rice. It’s also starting to gain quite a following with the breakfast crowd as a cereal, or in things like muffins and granola.

But my favorite way is the simplest. A hot steaming bowl of quinoa topped with some salmon or sardines and a squirt of lemon juice. Try it just once, and you’ll be hooked

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