Quinotto, a Quinoa Recipe

     This is a wonderful low glycemic, quinoa recipe called "quinotto" which is made with quinoa, a gluten free grain, instead of the arborio rice of most risotto recipes. Quinoa is a South American grain that is highly nutritious.   It has 12 - 18% protein content and all 9 of the essential amino acids making it a complete protein.    Quinoa and amaranth are the only grains that have all the amino acids. Vegetarians take note!

      It is because of it's high protein content that it is low glycemic. It will not raise your blood sugar. A half cup of cooked quinoa gives you 5 grams of protein or 10% of what you need in one day.

     This recipe serves two as a main dish or four as a side dish.   It is one of many printable low glycemic index recipes you will find on this site. Quinotto is an Italian risotto, with a Peruvian twist.   It is made with quinoa instead of arborio rice which would have a high glycemic index.

     This can be served with an assorted greens salad.    Look for the organic, baby leafy greens in plastic containers in the super market or in bulk in your natural foods market.    Arugula or watercress could be added for a nice, peppery contrast to the quinoa.

Serves 2

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 3 cups of boiling diluted chicken broth (half water)
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

      In a heavy nonstick frying pan over medium low heat, lightly toast the quinoa for about 5 minutes or until it turns slightly golden.   Pour in 1 cup of boiling broth, stirring continuously.   When it has been absorbed add a little more boiling liquid, stirring all the while a little at a time. Keep adding liquid until it is all absorbed.    The quinoa should be just simmering.   This should take about 10 minutes or so. Add the chopped shallot.   Cover and remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Add the feta cheese, salt and pepper and parsley.    Let it sit for 5 minutes more, fluff with fork and serve.

320 calories per serving

     Quinoa is so good for you that it has been called the super grain because it is richer in essential nutrients than any of the other whole grains.

      Quinoa, food of the Incas, means "mother grain."

     It's the staple grain of indigenous people in South America, particularly in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.   It contains the amino acids that are low in other grains making it high in protein and great for vegans and those wanting to eat as low glycemic as possible.   It also contains iron, calcium and phospohorus, B vitamins and vitamin E.    It's high in plant fat as well.

     You can even buy quinoa pasta and make a spaghetti quinoa recipe using quinoa noodles.    I think the flavor is more interesting than most pasta.    A brand I like a lot is Ancient Quinoa Harvest.   One serving of their quinoa linguine contains 4 grams of protein.

     Eating whole grains, like this quinoa recipe, regularly, means you are not only not raising your blood sugar but you are reducing your risk of stroke.   Whole grains help your digestion, support your natural immunity and prevent cancers, diabetes, high cholesterol and of course weight gain.

     Quinoa is a good source of iron - one serving (half cup cooked) gives you 40% of your RDA for iron.    It also contains magnesium and riboflavin which support your cardiovascular system.    Enough magnesium in your diet will prevent cholesterol and also reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.

     Two other aspects of quinoa I really love. Particularly in this quinoa recipe, using quinoa instead of arborio rice really reduces the time risotto usually takes.   Quinoa cooks more quickly than other grains, by far, and best of all it has the most interesting flavor.   Any recipe that calls for rice can be made with quinoa.    Enjoy!

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