With all the 8 essential amino acids your body needs, quinoa is an impressive complete protein. Although it has only recently made its way onto the menus of trendy fare here in the US, its history dates all the way back to 3,000 B.C.E., where it was grown in the Andes. Now the grain that the ancient Incas called the “mother grain” is quickly making its way into healthy diets around the world.
Just why is quinoa good for you? Here are five excellent reasons:
– Quinoa is gluten-free.
– This particular grain contains more protein than any other grain, around 12-18%.
– It is an alkaline grain, which helps to balance the acidic foods that often make up a large part of our diets.
– Quinoa contains high amounts of magnesium, which helps with cardiovascular health.
– And talk about versatile; you can eat quinoa for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert.
Sound to good to be true as a dessert? Test out this gluten-free recipe and you’ll be just as amazed by the delicious qualities of quinoa as the healthy ones.
Quinoa Spice Cake
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 large organic apple, peeled and diced
3 organic eggs
1 stick organic butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup organic raisins (optional)
dash of nutmeg or allspice
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (or switch out for orange extract)
Cook quinoa and set aside. To cook quinoa, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add quinoa and a dash of salt and let simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until water has cooked off.
Mix dry ingredients.
Whisk butter and eggs together and add to dry mixture.
Combine all ingredients, including quinoa, and stir in apple pieces.
Pour into a greased 9-inch round pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350F.
The best part about this recipe? It tastes great with a multitude of extras thrown in. Play around with a handful of chocolate chips and some candied ginger for a real treat.
Note: This recipe works great for vegans too – just switch out the butter for margarine and the eggs for an egg replacer.
Images: Anna Brones, Anna Brones