Quinoa – a Real "Wonder Grain"

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a pseudo cereal/grain that has been grown for thousands of years in South America and was called the “gold of the Incas”. Unlike most grains in our diets, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids (our body’s building blocks) that the human body cannot manufacture. In addition to being source of protein and high in fiber, quinoa is also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and iron - minerals that are important to keep up with the demands an athlete places on their body. Quinoa is also a gluten-free alternative for someone on a gluten restricted diet. Additionally, it is excellent for those who are busy because it is so versatile. It is delicious served cold or warm, can be frozen and reheated, and acts as a vehicle for flavors. To save time down the road, prepare the entire package of quinoa and freeze the unused portions for later use. One of my favorite things to make with quinoa is a mélange of fresh flavors with a ‘South of the Border’ flare:

  • 2-3 c cooked quinoa - prepare to package instructions (I use chicken stock, instead of water)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro – chopped
  • 3 green onions – chopped
  • 1 Tomato – diced
  • ½ Bell pepper (red or yellow) – diced
  • Dash of cumin
  • Squeeze of lime juice – to taste
  • Optional ingredients – black beans, grated cheese (such as Chihuahua)