Introducing the hottest new grain on the market

High in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most other grains, quinoa is the new “It” grain. Quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-uh) has become vastly popular because of its health benefits.

An excellent source of iron and other minerals, and a good source of several B vitamins, quinoa also contains cancer-preventative phytochemicals. It has been an important element in the diets of people living in the Andes for thousands of years, evoking a sense of history and tradition.

Quinoa is related to leafy green vegetables such as spinach; although not technically a grain, it acts like one with a few significant advantages over other grains.

Vegetarians will find quinoa an excellent component to their diet because, as a complete protein, it provides all of the nine essential amino acids. While animal protein provides all of the essential amino acids, plant sources rarely do.

For those with wheat or gluten sensitivities, quinoa is both wheat-free and gluten-free. It can be used to replace rice or oatmeal and is often used in salads or stews.

Eaten hot or cold, quinoa has a delicious flavour and its versatility makes it a very desirable grain.

Cooking quinoa is a very easy process: simply take two parts water to one part quinoa, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed. It becomes fluffy when ready and only takes between 12 and 15 minutes to cook.

For a nutritionally balanced meal, try this garlicky quinoa with chickpeas recipe adapted from a suggested recipe included in a box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa.

Experiment with using more vegetables and spices at your personal preference. Chopped celery, mushrooms and spinach are a nice addition.

This dish can be altered according to whatever leftover vegetables you might have forgotten about in your fridge or the cans of beans neglected in your pantry, too.

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