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Vegan at Heart

30 Missions

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Mission #19:
It's Pronounced "KEEN-wah"

Dear Vegan at Heart,

Today your mission is to read about quinoa.

I love quinoa. If I have a son, I want to name him Quinoa! This lovely little cereal grain was prized by Incan civilizations as “The Mother of All Grains.” Because of its super high protein content (13 grams per half cup!) and balanced set of essential amino acids, it’s an unusually complete food. And it tastes nutty and it does this cool thing when you cook it where this ring pops out. I like to use it where I’d normally use rice. You can buy it in larger grocery stores and natural/health food stores.

Just because it’s hard to pronounce doesn’t mean it’s hard to make. Here are the basics of cooking quinoa:

First, wash it to get rid of the bitter (and unhealthy but natural) coating. You can put it in a fine strainer or cheesecloth and run water over it, or you can put it in a bowl and pour water over it, then drain the water. Repeat as necessary until the foam is gone. Some of the boxed brands are pre-washed but you might wanna wash it anyway.

It cooks very similar to rice: bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa to a boil, then simmer for 14-18 minutes until the germ “pops” from the seed (the cool thing). DO NOT STIR IT while it simmers!


  1. Instead of plain water, you can add more flavor by using vegetable stock.
  2. For extra nuttiness, dry toast it lightly in the pan before you add the water or broth. (It pops and smells faintly like popcorn.) While you're toasting, shake it like jiffy-pop.

1. Check out the following recipes and add them to your Recipe Box (if you like):

  1. Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
  2. Heavenly Breakfast Quinoa

2. Add quinoa to your shopping list (and any other ingredients you need if you’re making one of these dishes.)

3. Impress someone with your knowledge of quinoa this week.

;-) Marisa


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