Vegetables

Quinoa seeds

The pseudocereal that is good for health

In the culinary field, in recent years many ingredients have been rediscovered that over time had fallen into disuse, or that were mainly used only in some parts of the world. One of the reasons is the need to return to eating in a complete and healthy way, after years of domination of junk food, the junk food of the large take away and fast food chains. Another reason lies in the increased number of food intolerances, which has made it increasingly necessary to find alternative foods for daily nutrition. Thus, quinoa seeds have also begun to appear on the tables of Italians. Quinoa is a plant that resembles grasses, like wheat, but actually belongs to another family, so much so that it is called a pseudo-cereal.

Quinoa seeds and their virtues


Quinoa belongs to the chenopodiaceae family, which is the same as other vegetable plants such as beets, or spinach. Nevertheless, as we said, its appearance is in all respects similar to that of the graminaceae, in fact it comes in spikes within which the quinoa seeds are found. This plant grows at very high altitudes, in fact it is grown mainly in the Andes, and is native to South America. In Italy its cultivation is practically impossible, except for a particular variety, the Chenopodium album. Quinoa was consumed in America in pre-Columbian times, by the Incas, who called it the mother of all seeds for its very high nutritional properties, which are those for which consumption has been recovered even today, even in Europe.

The nutritional properties of quinoa


What are the characteristics that make quinoa advisable for human consumption? Its virtues are many: the only precaution is to soak the quinoa seeds for four to six hours, before consuming them, because they contain saponin in the outermost layer. Saponin is used to keep birds away, but it is harmful to humans. Instead, quinoa seeds are composed of about 50% carbohydrates, but they do not have a high calorie content: just 368 per 100 grams of product. In addition to carbohydrates, they also contain proteins, many vitamins, including C and E, and many essential amino acids. They are also rich in magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, as well as antioxidants. Quinoa seeds, however, are gluten-free, so they can be eaten by those with celiac disease.

Quinoa seeds: How quinoa seeds are eaten


The reasons for consuming quinoa seeds are therefore many, in addition to the fact that their taste, neutral but pleasant, makes them suitable for preparing many recipes, both sweet and savory. On the market there are white, black or red seeds, or flour. In some specialized shops you can also find spaghetti made with quinoa flour. Their consumption can be simply as a substitute for rice or pasta: they must be cooked in abundant salted water, about double their volume. Then they can be seasoned to taste, to make cold or hot salads. Alternatively, quinoa seeds can be used to make veggie burgers, or for breakfast, amidst muesli. With quinoa seeds you can make biscuits and muffins, and are excellent combined with dried and dried fruit.

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