One of the easiest ways to stay successful on a gluten-free diet is experimenting with the diverse foods that are available. One thing gluten-free foods lack is variety. Almost everything is made with a base of rice or potato. Majority of gluten-free products available use rice as their main ingredient. There are so many other grains out there that are both delicious and great for you. One of these grains is quinoa. This incan grain is jam-packed with nutrients. It is a complete protein, has a large amount of fiber, and is loaded up with vitamins you need to stay healthy.
Quinoa can be cooked in either water or broth (vegetable or chicken work best). Once cooked, the grains expand making one cup of raw quinoa equal to three cups of cooked quinoa, so be careful with the serving sizes. Before cooking the quinoa, rinse it first. Most quinoa that you buy has already been rinsed, and it will say this on the package, but if it isn’t pre-rinsed make sure you rinse it yourself. Otherwise, the grain will have a bitter taste to it. Add your quinoa to a saucepan and add your liquid (either water or broth). Double the liquid to the amount of grains you have added. For instance, if you added one cup of quinoa, add two cups of water. Bring the combination to a boil and then let it simmer, covered, for fifteen minutes. By the time the fifteen minutes is up all of the water should have been absorbed and you will be left with fluffy grains. Since the grain has a mild flavor, it can be used in a variety of dishes.
You can substitute quinoa in any dish that uses a grain, whether that be rice or pasta. Quinoa really absorbs flavor so when you add vegetables and spices to it the grain really pops. You can use quinoa for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Simply play around with the way that you cook it.
A great way to use quinoa in dinner is to add some roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables gives them a lot of flavor and adding this to the quinoa adds some substance to the dish. You can heat up some vegetable broth in a saucepan, add some spices, and pour it over the dish. The quinoa soaks up the broth and adds so much flavor. If you’d like you can add some chicken or shrimp to the dish. You can make it your own.
For breakfast you can just change the way that you cook the quinoa. Once you turn the boiling water to a simmer, add some cinnamon and a little maple syrup. You can put dried fruit into the simmering liquid and let that cook down until all of the water is absorbed. Since quinoa takes in the flavor of whatever it is cooked in, it will taste sweet and is a healthy way to start off your day. When you eat a breakfast packed with protein, rather than carbs, you will be stay energized. Protein is broken down by your body slowly, so the energy is released more continuously. Carbs are broken down quickly and the energy that is expelled is used up right away leading to a crash around lunchtime.
Quinoa will fit into any dish you make. Opening your mind to new and interesting foods will allow you to keep interested. If you eat rice every day, there’s a strong chance staying on a gluten-free diet will be tough. If you experiment and eat foods that you haven’t tried before, eating will feel exciting rather than bland.