Derived from the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name kinwa or occasionally "Qin-wah", Quinoa originated in the Andeanregion of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru before they were colonized and became nation-states, where it was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption, though archeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5,200 to 7,000 years ago.
Similar Chenopodium species, such as pitseed goosefoot (Chenopodium berlandieri) and fat hen (Chenopodium album), were grown and domesticated in North America as part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex before maize agriculture became popular. Fat hen, which has a widespread distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, produces edible seeds and greens much like quinoa, but in smaller quantities.
The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa grains contain essential amino acids likelysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
After harvest, the grains need to be processed to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins. Quinoa grains are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa leaves are also eaten as aleaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited.
We love quinoa, but we go thru times where we don't eat it at all. Found 2 large bags of quinoa in my pantry, one red and one white, and thought a light salad would be the perfect side for my steak dinner. Had half a head of cauliflower in the fridge which needed to be used soon, so that was it! It tasted amazing and my love for quinoa is back!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 cup quinoa(white or red)
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cauliflower, chopped + 1 tablespoon olive oil + salt and pepper
1/3 cup marcona almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 cup lime garlic vinaigrette(recipe follows)
salt and pepper to taste
Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in a baking dish. Roast for 15 minutes.
Add quinoa to boiling water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Turn it off and let it rest 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place on a large mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, almonds, herbs and dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and toss. Serve warm, room temperature or cold as a side or your main meal.
Lime Garlic Vinaigrette:
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
In a small jar with a lid, place all ingredients, but olive oil. Put the lid on and give it a good shake. Add olive oil slowly, put lid back on and shake until all combined. Refrigerate for 3 weeks.