Quinoa – vegetarian protein, pros and cons.

Quinoa has long been touted as an addition to a vegetarian diet. It has the full complement of amino acids necessary for humans – an oddity in the plant world – bearing the name “complete protein”. 2013 was actually the year of Quinoa! It also has manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2, other essential minerals, and seem interesting anti-oxidant phytochemicals. Dr. Weil likes it, so I do too  There are two recipes in the link. I also use it to make a tabbouleh. Cook it like rice: 1 C of Q to 2 C water. Make sure you wash it first to remove saponins in the outer layer. Don’t soak it, the saponins will leach into the seeds.

Of course, there is another side to everything. (A Mother Jones article that’s interesting.) Quinoa has become so beloved and sought-after in North America that it has become less consumed in home markets in South America. The demand outside of producing countries is now huge, and causing the concomitant environmental issues that commodity crops do.  The good news? Quinoa can be grown in many different climates and should be soon. Buy your quinoa from organic sources and educate yourself so you are supporting small careful agriculture. Bon appetit!