TEN QUICK QUINOA SWAPS
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.
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.
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