The Big Q – What is Quinoa?
Everyone wants to know: Is it a grain? How do you use it? How do you pronounce it? Is it good for you? Is it kosher for Passover?
So I looked it up. Turns out, this trendy food is from South America and it’s a species of goosefoot, a “grain-like” crop. That clears everything up, doesn’t it?
But there’s more. The fact is that quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or kee-no-uh, your choice) is packed with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and has a high protein content to boot. Unlike wheat and rice (but similar to oats) it contains a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein source. It’s high in fiber, gluten-free and easy to digest. It’s so nutritious that NASA is considering it as a crop for their Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights. (So if your kids turn up their noses, tell them it’s astronaut food!)
It’s kinda like rice or couscous. Has a nice, nutty flavor too.
It seems that the ancient Incas were onto this little wonder food as far back as 3,000 years ago and it played a major role in sustaining their teeming civilization. It’s been a staple in that part of the world all this time, and we only just discovered it on our grocer’s shelves a few years ago. Go figure. But it’s time we got in on it. Any food that’s equally at home in a primitive mountain village or in outer space has my respect.
There. I think I answered all your questions. Oh, the Pesach thing. Ask your rabbi.
Listen, I can’t help with everything. Quick & Kosher doesn’t include clean up, doesn’t do your dishes and doesn’t answer tricky halachic questions. But I do have a year-round recipe for you: Asian Vegetables with Quinoa. Light and totally vegetarian, you will feel good about yourself after eating this for dinner. Do I get points for that?