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By now you already know the grain-like seed quinoa is one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, and it’s gluten-free too. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to pasta, rice or couscous. Here are a few of our favorite recipes using quinoa:

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad

Sweet & Savory Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa

Crispy Crunchy Quinoa Cakes

And here are some more ideas for other things to do with quinoa:

* Put warm quinoa in a breakfast bowl with toasted walnuts, grated apples, a drizzle of maple syrup, and milk.

* Toss cold cooked quinoa in a salad to add extra crunch and protein.

* Spanish-flavored quinoa: Sauté some onions and garlic; add 1⁄2 cup salsa and a pinch of cumin. Add 1 cup quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer for 15 minutes.

* Instead of a “pasta bar” (page 65 of The Family Dinner book), have a “quinoa bar” with sauces and toppings to drizzle and dollop.

* Make a quinoa “tabbouleh” with chopped kale, parsley, mint, and quinoa tossed with plenty of lemon juice, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add feta and cucumbers to make it even better.

* Put a few tablespoons of quinoa into your soups to add some body and protein.

And for the record, “quinoa” is pronounced “KEEN-wah.” But no matter how you pronounce it, make sure to include this super-food in your family’s diet.


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