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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!


  1. Goosefoot! Oh your crazy ingredients. This burger looks delightful.

  2. This looks beautiful! I like quinoa. I've only had it a few times and only made it once but this looks like a delightful way to try it. I bet the kids would love it.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's for Dinner

  3. Ooh, that yogurt sauce looks so great on that burger...creamy..yum!


  4. ive recently started experimenting with quinoa so i found your post really interesting, thanks :)

  5. I recently started enjoying this very tasty grain...especially the red kind. I even have it for breakfast to get a swift kick to start my day.
    Your burger recipe sounds very promising. I will most probably put my Italian twist on it ;0)
    Thanks for sharing and flavourful wishes, Claudia

  6. Oh Stella... seriously I'm blushing....how sweet to be on your witchy blog...I love your spin, how funny hubby said- you should try these with pinto beans and here you are proving they would work..I love your dressing and to have these paired with a salad even better, thanks fro the link love and your first pic of the red quinoa is stunning my friend..hugs and kisses sweetlife

  7. I absolutely LOVE quinoa -- it is such a great staple for vegetarian diets. When I was in Peru, the Peruvians would call quinoa "the little giant", because they were small grains with lots of power! These veggie burgers you made look delicious too!

  8. I've never tried quinoa before but I see all the time in organic stores. These burgers look really yummy and healthy!

  9. That sounds really healthy! I have also recently ventured into quinoa and do you know how I cook it? :p

  10. These burgers look delightful! I love quinoa, and I just found a box of red quinoa at the store, which I haven't tried yet. I'll have to try out these burgers! Oh, and radishes are in season right now. You're right, Stella, they are simply enchanting!

  11. What a savory looking healthy burger! I like that you always find such unique ingredients for your recipes. Radishes are one of my favourite vegetables, that photo is stirring up a serious craving. :D

  12. I have not tried quinoa. Thanks for sharing about this lovely grain. I would love to try. Your burger looks healthy and delicious.

  13. I'd love to try red and black quinoas someday, but white quinoa is disgustingly cheap in the bulk bins compared to what the red and black ones sell for in their pre-packaged boxes, so for now I'm sticking with white. ;)

    I *must* try the quinoa burgers though! I tried making quinoa-chickpea patties a while ago but they didn't turn out so well (delicious, but bad texture and appearance).

  14. Isn't it strange how easy it is to get in a cooking rut? We like quinoas but don't use it enough. Your recipe inspired me to try it again.

  15. You are right Stella the radishes are enchanting! They look great, I love quinoa salad specially with beans...it makes it so meaty. ;-)

  16. I was asking you to guess how I cook quinoa....;p

  17. you know Stella, Quinoa is rather popular lately... Hmmm, but I found them rather expensive from where I live.

    I rarely make them. It's been yearsss...
    Maybe I give it a try when I am feelin in need of more health boosts

  18. Hey Pierre, yes it is expensive. I only buy it like once every six weeks b/c of that, plus I normally like to eat local foods. I just saw it on Bonnie's site, and it looked so good. (it was too). Mine kind of tasted like Falafel...

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Please do comment, Dearies!