the story of QUINOA
Quinoa acts like a whole grain, but it’s actually a seed, harvested from a plant called goosefoot, that’s more closely related to spinach and beets than to grains.
It was first grown and harvested about 5,000 years ago in the Andean region of South America, where it is still widely grown today. Much of the world's quinoa comes from Bolivia and Peru.
a heritage of SUSTAINABILITY
Quinoa has always been a sustainable food source*. Unlike rice, which requires about 7 feet of water each year to grow, quinoa needs only 8-12 inches. A highly resilient plant, quinoa thrives where no other crops are viable. It grows on saline, desert lands at an altitude of 12,000 feet.
*Quinoa is considered a sustainable food source due to its significantly lower water requirements than other crops, including rice.
a nutrition POWERHOUSE
The ancient Incas called quinoa “the mother grain”—and today’s experts call it a superfood—for good reason.
- Plant-based Protein Source - Quinoa has been classified by the National Academy of Sciences as one of the best sources of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Lysine – Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine, which appears to help the body absorb calcium, and may play a role in the formation of collagen—important for healthy bones, skin, tendons and cartilage.
- Naturally gluten-free – Quinoa is a digestible food source for people with wheat allergies or sensitivities.
supporting SMALL FARMERS
Andean Naturals organic quinoa is cultivated by traditional smallholder farmers primarily in Bolivia who are committed to sustainably growing organic quinoa. For decades Andean Naturals has been building partnerships with these quinoa farmers.
These farmers seek to improve their living conditions and provide better education for their children. They also want to protect their natural environment and preserve their ancient culture. Andean Naturals helps them achieve organic cultivation and access to markets that pay Fair Trade prices for their quinoa.
Andean Naturals supports its farming families in multiple ways:
Supporting farmers’ associations in developing strong governance structures and achieving Fair Trade certification. Fair Trade prices help farmers invest in their communities for social, educational and health projects.
Creating the Quinoa Soil Health Program in 2010 to reduce erosion and improve microbial life and organic matter in the soil, improving the yields of traditional farmers by 83% and doubling their income.
Helping farmers expand their financial management skills so they can grow their enterprises.
COOKING WITH QUINOA
Good news! If you know how to cook rice, you already know how to cook quinoa. You can even use a rice cooker to make it.
Basic Cooking Directions
15 minutes is all it takes
Combine one part quinoa and two parts of water in a pot with a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and then let it stand in the covered pot while you get the rest of your meal together.
Andean Naturals organic quinoa, does not require pre-rinsing because it has been carefully cleaned and washed. We carefully rub the seeds with specialized equipment, then wash and rinse the product in three separate phases.
Some other brands might have saponin (the bitter-tasting substance that grows on quinoa seeds) left on the seeds, in which case it is very important to rinse the quinoa thoroughly until any traces of foam disappear.
Tips & Ideas
Add it to anything!
Adding cooked quinoa to your favorite recipes is a great way to boost protein and nutritional value, not to mention adding rich, nutty flavor and appealing texture. Cook a batch of quinoa ahead of time, fluff, cool, and store in the refrigerator so you can enjoy it any time as a side dish or add it to other foods.
Add cooked quinoa to:
- chilis, stews and soups (ideal to boost the protein content of meatless dishes).
- scrambled eggs and omelets
- pancakes or waffles (stir it right into the batter)
- burgers, meatballs and meatloaf
- oatmeal and other cereals
You can also toast uncooked quinoa in a dry skillet, and add it to cereals, parfaits and granolas.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
If you love tabbouleh, give this bright, fresh salad a try. Cooking quinoa with vegetable broth is an easy way to add rich, savory flavor.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 4 tablespoons white balsamic dressing
- 2 cups spinach
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 10 pitted, green olives (optional)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and cracked black pepper
Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender.
While the quinoa is cooking, roughly chop the spinach and quarter the cherry tomatoes and olives.
Toss the cooked quinoa with the dressing, spinach, tomatoes, olives and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate before serving.
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each
Ranch House Omelet
This protein-packed omelet is full of vegetables and it’s right at home at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons quinoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, divided
- 2 asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup diced white button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
- 2 tablespoons halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons basil pesto
- 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the asparagus and mushrooms for 4 minutes. Add the green onion and sauté for another 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan, mix in the tomatoes and set aside.
Heat the frying pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Whisk together the eggs, 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa, milk and pesto. Pour the mixture into the saucepan, and cover with a lid or foil.
Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the top of the eggs is firm. Place the vegetables on half of the omelet. Cover and cook for 30 seconds to heat the vegetables. Transfer the omelet to a plate and spoon the cottage cheese over the vegetables. Fold the omelet in half over the filling and serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.
Recipe used with permission from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood, by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming (Whitecap Books, 2010).
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