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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quinoa: The Ancient Grain

Quinoa, pronounced 'kinwa', is a species of goosefoot native to both Peru and Bolivia. It is a grain like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Unlike most grains, quinoa is extremely rich in protein, which is why some treat it as a legume. You may or may not be familiar with quinoa as a food source, however, there are a few facts listed here that may tweak your interest.

The Incas of Peru held quinoa sacred calling it "The mother of all grains" in their native language, and even used it in ritualistic ceremonies. It is believed that this may be one of the reasons the Spanish conquistadors forbade the growth and consumption of quinoa forcing corn as its replacement in the region.

Luckily, quinoa has made a pretty recent comeback. And not only is quinoa rich in protein & fiber as mentioned earlier, but it also boasts beneficial amounts of lysine, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition, it's gluten free, and I personally think it is delicious along with being super easy to prepare. Yes, I'm with the Incas on this one; Quinoa is one of those perfect foods for so many reasons.

I made this burger after seeing it in a divine photo on Bonnie's lovely site SweetLifeBake. Bonnie got the recipe here. I used the recipe making some minor changes like pinto beans instead of white beans, a touch less cumin, garlic clove with half the scallion amount, less salt, etc. I encourage anyone to look at this recipe and make it your own, as this is a wonderful and healthful patty that can be a burger, appetizer, or salad topping as pictured.

Ooh, and I've included my friend's super delicious yogurt sauce here:

Fat Free Yogurt Sauce/Dressing
1/2 Cup Organic Fat Free Yogurt
Hefty Squeeze of Lemon
1/4-1/2 Tsp. Cumin
Chopped Cucumber or Scallion
Drizzle Olive Oil (optional)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate till ready to serve. Enjoy!

Also Dearies, these radishes were wonderful. I think that at least in parts of the U.S., these are in season and so enchanting!