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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Quinoa and More

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Quinoa: The Super Grain

QuinoaQuinoa is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. Though it’s been around in South America for thousands of years it’s only recently that we’ve rediscovered it in the US. And if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re definitely missing out!

Not only is quinoa the most nutritious of all the grains, but it’s also the fastest cooking. Containing all 9 essential amino acids, quinoa is a complete protein, equal in content to milk, which also makes it a great protein source for vegans. It’s also high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamin E, and breaks down slowly during digestion, so it doesn’t elevate blood sugar and we end up feeling fuller longer–making it an ideal food for endurance. And for those with special dietary restrictions, it’s also gluten free. I’ve used it in everything from salads to stuffings and everywhere in between.

Before preparing quinoa make sure to thoroughly rinse it to remove the saponin (which is a naturally occurring, bitter coating). If you have time to soak it, even only for an hour, that’s even better. You cook it like you would rice (and it can also be used across the board as a substitute for rice) – 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or stock, sometimes a bit less water to avoid overcooking. Let it simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let cool and enjoy!

Here’s my favorite quinoa recipe.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers:


2 cups cooked quinoa

1-2 Tablespoons organic, unrefined extra virgin olive oil or ghee

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

¾ teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh basil (less if using dried)

2 Tablespoons paprika

Dash of cayenne pepper

4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 pound of greens-kale, broccoli, etc. (parboil* 5 mins. and chop)

6 red peppers (parboil* 5 mins. And halved)

* optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onion in oil or ghee with seasonings until the onion is translucent. Add garlic, celery, greens and cook until tender. Blend with cooked grains. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa mix. Bake at 350 degrees in an oiled casserole dish for 45 minutes.

–Kerri Pagliarini-Dorman is a NYC-based certified Holistic Health Coach, who works with women nationwide to improve their health by incorporating whole healing foods. To learn more about her work please visit

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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