TEN QUICK QUINOA SWAPS

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - CH­ERYL FOR­BERG.

Re­place bad food for good By Ch­eryl For­berg

The pro­tein and flavour from Quinoa adds sub­stance to food and when you use it as a

sub­sti­tute for items that con­tain empty calo­ries, like su­gar or worse, the ben­e­fit is dou­bled: You lose some bad stuff and re­place it with some good stuff writes

FLOUR WITH REAL POWER

One of the big­gest swaps you can make is to use quinoa flour in place of tra­di­tional flour. Flour is used in so many of our fa­vorite things: breads, cook­ies, cakes, pies, muffins, pizza and bagels. If you are on a gluten-free diet for med­i­cal rea­sons, mak­ing this swap could be the so­lu­tion to what has prob­a­bly been your big­gest co­nun­drum.

Warn­ing: Plenty of gluten-free prod­ucts are on the mar­ket — cakes, pies, cook­ies, flours, and bak­ing mixes — but buyer be­ware: A gluten-free la­bel on the pack­age doesn’t mean the prod­uct is healthy. Although these prod­ucts may not have the highly re­fined gluten-filled white wheat flour, the in­gre­di­ent(s) they use in place of that flour may not be any health­ier. Many of them con­tain white rice flour, starches, gums, and other highly pro­cessed in­gre­di­ents.

When you swap quinoa flour for or­di­nary flour, you are get­ting not only some­thing that’s gluten-free but also that’s down­right nu­tri­tious. You can find quinoa flour al­ready pre­pared, or you can mill your own. Although you can’t al­ways just swap one flour for another, you can make the swap rather eas­ily in recipes like quick breads and some muffins and cakes that don’t re­quire gluten for struc­tural in­tegrity.

WHO ARE YOU CALL­ING CRUMB?

In­stead of us­ing bread­crumbs made from panko or white bread or white flour, try cooked and dried quinoa or quinoa flakes. Un­like other flakes, quinoa flakes are min­i­mally pro­cessed and there­fore keep quinoa’s whole-grain good­ness in­tact (they con­tain the en­tire ker­nel, in­clud­ing en­dosperm and bran).

Tip: Use this high-pro gluten-free swap for a wel­come nutty fla­vor and an ul­tra crispy crunch.

PSEUDO-CE­REAL SE­RIAL SWAPPER

The com­fort and sati­ety you get from a steam­ing bowl of oat­meal, fu­els you well on a cold win­ter morn­ing or warms lit­tle bel­lies and cold hands af­ter a day of snow­ball mak­ing.

But a warm, creamy bowl of quinoa does the same trick. You keep the prep about the same: You cook the dry quinoa in wa­ter or milk, just as you would oat­meal, and you eat it just the same as you would oat­meal. Pour milk over it and go ahead and add some syrup or agave if you like.

In ad­di­tion to adding a de­li­cious, new, fast-fix break­fast trick to your reper­toire, you are also kick­ing up the cal­cium and pro­tein just by swap­ping oat­meal for quinoa.

PASTA

Up un­til a few years ago, the only pasta you could find in the gro­cery aisles was plain old white pasta or egg noo­dles — made with white flour and wa­ter and in the case of the egg noo­dles, with egg. For­tu­nately, the choices, colours, tastes, and tex­tures have in­creased ex­po­nen­tially, though not many of them of fer much nu­tri­tion.

That said, in the last cou­ple years, man­u­fac­tur­ers have spent lots of time and money to cre­ate wor­thy swaps that are health­ier, less pro­cessed, and gluten-free.

You can now find pas­tas that are higher in pro­tein and fiber, which, in many cases, is achieved by us­ing legume flour pro­duced from things such as lentils. Quinoa has earned a cov­eted place on the pasta shelf.

Many of the quinoa pas­tas available are to­tally gluten-free be­cause they’re made with quinoa and corn, a fab pasta part­ner.

To­gether this combo cre­ates a scrump­tious flavour and tex­ture that, when subbed in your fa­vorite recipes, will leave you feel­ing not only like noth­ing’s been sac­ri­ficed, but also like you ac­tu­ally came out ahead.

GO­ING AGAINST THE (RICE) GRAIN

One of the eas­i­est and most classic of all quinoa swaps is switch­ing out rice for quinoa. With min­i­mal or no ad­just­ment, you can eas­ily use quinoa in al­most any recipe that calls for rice. Just sub equal amounts of quinoa for rice.

Quinoa has twice the pro­tein and five times the fiber of white rice for the same num­ber of calo­ries, but you are also adding flavour and tex­ture.

Quinoa can stand in for rice in many tra­di­tional rice dishes. Think about cook­ing up a del­ish quinoa pi­laf, or switch up your run-of-the-mill bur­rito. You can even make power-packed sushi with quinoa in­stead of rice.

SOUPING UP STEWS AND SOUPS WITH­OUT MEAT

Whether you’re a veg­e­tar­ian or just try­ing to di­ver­sif y your diet and eat less meat, quinoa can be the an­swer for bulk­ing up stews and soups with primo veg­etable pro­tein. Stir­ring two cups of cooked quinoa into your veg­gie soup will de­liver 16 grams of pro­tein — the amount you’d find in four ounces of cooked chicken.

Why is it ideal? Quinoa is one of the rare non-meat and nondairy pro­teins that con­tains all nine es­sen­tial amino acids — it’s what’s known as a com­plete pro­tein (just another of the rea­sons why we call this lit tle seed a su­per food). In ad­di­tion to adding es­sen­tial pro­tein, quinoa en­hances tex­ture, adding body, chew and heft to soups. It even has a lit­tle fat (the good, polyun­sat­u­rated, kind), which is a key part of achiev­ing the most ap­peal­ing con­sis­tency in soups and stews.

THE MEAT­LESS PRO­TEIN IN SALAD

How about the next time you toss to­gether a healthy and high-pro­tein chicken Cae­sar salad you leave out the chicken? Quinoa ably fills in the com­plete pro­tein de­part­ment and adds a de­li­cious tex­ture that clings to the leaves. You can ball the quinoa with a bond­ing agent, say corn­meal and cre­ate meat­less pro­tein for sal­ads.

STIR IT UP WHEN YOU STIR-FRY

Bulk up your stan­dard stir-fr y or one-dish meal with fluff y cooked quinoa and cut back on the sliced pork or other meat you’d usu­ally use for pro­tein. For ex­am­ple, stir­ring two cups of cooked quinoa into your stir-fr y will de­liver 16 grams of pro­tein — the amount you’d find in four ounces of pork ten­der­loin.

Tip: Keep a cou­ple of cups of cooked quinoa on hand in the fridge to make sim­ple and healthy swaps even eas­ier. Just reach into the fridge and add your pro­tein when you add your snow peas to your wok.

THICKER SIPPER

Trade in your pro­tein pow­der for ground quinoa in smooth­ies and shakes. Quinoa is nat­u­rally more nu­tri­tious than many pro­tein pow­ders that are full of things you can’t pro­nounce. Quinoa pow­der is also a great way to achieve a dreamy creami­ness in hot choco­late while cut­ting down on the fat in milk.

DITCH THE CHIPS

Snack foods are usu­ally very carb-heavy — crack­ers, chips and pret­zels, for ex­am­ple — and most of them are laden with gluten, salt and un­healthy fats. Yes, quinoa can come to the res­cue here, too. Flakes, flour and just plain old cooked quinoa can be fash­ioned into crack­ers, chips and cups that can re­place junk food with the sat­is­fy­ing crunchy high-pro kick of quinoa.

The above is an COOK­ING WITH QUINOA FOR DUM­MIES By Ch­eryl For­berg

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