Quinoa is a pseudocereal – not exactly a whole grain or even a grass – that originates from the Andean area of South America. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has a unique combination of amino acids that makes it one of the very few non-animal based sources of complete protein. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber – one cup of cooked quinoa has five grams of fiber, 220 calories and eight grams of protein.
Quinoa by itself doesn’t have a lot of taste, and it can be rather bland if not prepared corretcly. I recently had one of the best quinoa dishes I’ve ever tasted: the “Peruvian Salad” from the Brazilian Steakhouse Texas de Brazil. This version uses red quinoa, difficult to find in traditional grocery stores, but available in the bulk foods section at Whole Foods Market. This recipe comes compliments of Evandro Caregnato, Culinary Director at Texas de Brazil.
Texas de Brazil Quinoa Salad
- 1/2 lb red quinoa
- 1/2 gallon boiling water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened raspberry puree
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup chopped scallion
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Cook the quinoa in boiling water for about 15 minutes until tender but not mush.
- Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, raspberry puree and sugar. Set aside.
- Using a fine mesh colander, drain the water and let the quinoa cool.
- Once quinoa is cool, add the vinegar mix, scallion and cranberries. Combine all ingredients with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition Information: 222 calories, 3 grams fat, 7 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams protein, 205 mg sodium per serving.
If you’re interested in learning more about quinoa, check out this great cookbook, The Art of Cooking with Quinoa from Bob’s Red Mill.