Quinoa Month: Benefits & Why We Use It

White, red and multi-colored quinoa

The Mother Grain

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America and has been a staple there for at least 5000 years. Although it looks like a grain, it is called a pseudo cereal (like amaranth and buckwheat) due to its horticultural make up. Quinoa means “mother grain” in the Incan language and was a staple crop to the Incan people. It was considered the most sacred food.

The Benefits

Quinoa is a highly nutritious crop. Both the seeds and leaves are eaten. The seeds are harvested and cleaned of Saponinins. It has lower sodium content and is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn. Most grains are deficient in the amino acid, lysine. Because it has an adequate quantity of lysine, it is considered to contain all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. The protein quantity and quality is often superior to other cereal grains..

Called a supergrain, quinoa is highly nutritious and can supply us with all of the body’s requirements: carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is gluten free and and ideal food for those prone to allergies. Quinoa has always been a staple in Ocean Ranch’s kitchen. It is versatile and can be used in many different recipes

Why & How We Use It

We add quinoa to all of our gluten free granola flavors as well as our premium organic granola flavors. I added it to our granola due to its nutritional benefits and flavor. We also like to mix quinoa flakes into our hot cereal blends in the morning. For savory meals, I like to cook a pot of quinoa and serve with sautéed veggies topped with pepitas and avocado.