Whole Wheat Quinoa:, Cooking, Recipes and Benefits

Quinoa is a seed whose scientific name is Chenopodium quinoa W. , native to the Andean region, it has been called the golden grain, protected by South American inhabitants since pre-Hispanic times, whose use has gone back in recent years, to the point such that for 2013 the United Nations Organization names said year as the International Year of Quinoa.

This has been a food for generations of indigenous peoples that today has caused a sensation among fittness followers, vegetarians, and vegans due to the wide range of beneficial health properties that this grain provides.

The uses of this grain and its use at an industrial level have been studied to obtain products such as flours , additionally from the medical point of view its use by people with Diabetes as a substitute for grains such as wheat, rice and corn.

Below we will present all the relevant information about this wonderful grain and how you can include it in your daily diet to take advantage of the benefits it brings to the health of your body.

What is whole quinoa?

Quinoa, as we have already mentioned, is a seed that is related to cereals, the quinoa plant can grow up to 3 meters high with roots up to 30 centimeters deep. Its stem can reach a thickness of up to 8 centimeters and its leaves are goose foot shaped, its colors vary between green and red.

The flowers of the plant are very small until about 3 millimeters do not have petals and the grains are round. As a crop, quinoa is kind since any climatic or geographical condition is appropriate according to the variety of quinoa.

Technically it is a seed but it is usually considered a pseudocereal, because its consumption is similar to that of corn, rice and wheat . It is small in size, reaching 2.2 millimeters in diameter. According to the variety you can get it in colors such as Yellow, Orange, White, Red, Black, Brown or mixed color.

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Quinoa: Origin and a bit of history

Historically, it is thought that the Chibchas, like some tribes of the Cundí-Boyacense plateau in Colombia, were the ones who intensively cultivated “quinoa” . On the other hand, it has also been assumed that the ancient inhabitants of Cuyumbe helped its distribution towards the south of Colombia and that later they would emigrate to the south of America taking with them the seeds of quinoa, which would reveal their presence in Ecuador and Peru.

Hence, the largest number of varieties of this grain are found in the surroundings of Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia . Archaeological studies indicate that the cultivation of this seed by the pre-Hispanic peoples dates back to 3000 and 5000 years BC.

Quinoa comes from the indigenous Quechua language and means “mother grain” due to the sacred value that the Incas gave to this seed, so much so that it was used for medicinal purposes. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Inca people already had a wide distribution of its cultivation as well as the development of technologies for its harvest. However, the Spanish displaced its cultivation by the introduction of cereals such as wheat.

This is the reason why it was only a couple of decades ago that people began to talk about the consumption of this grain and the highly relevant nutritional and medicinal contributions that it has.

Integral Quinoa Production Centers

It originates from the countries of the Andean region, its cultivation is distributed from Colombia to the south of Chile. It is considered that approximately 80% of its production worldwide is found in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

And thanks to new trends in healthy eating, its production has been increasing in the last decade. Quinoa varieties include: Sajama, S. Amarantiforme, Chucapaca, Sayaña, Camiri, Huaranga, Chipi, Real Blanca, Pandela and Ajara.

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So much so that there is evidence that countries in Asia, Africa and Europe are conducting research on the experimental cultivation of these seeds under their environmental conditions. Quinoa is expected to increasingly replace traditional grains such as corn, wheat and rice in the daily diet of today’s population.

Apart from the fact that its grain is a food with high nutritional value, the plant itself can be used as raw material for green forage and the residues from its cultivation can serve as raw material for the production of animal feed.

Nutritional Contributions of Integral Quinoa

It stands out for its great nutritional value and differs from other foods due to its high protein content whose characteristics surpass those contained in mass-consumption foods such as wheat, rice, corn and barley and even compared to the proteins of animal origin found in meat, milk, egg, chicken, and fish.

According to the species of quinoa, the composition of nutrients can vary. However, the important thing is that the quality of its protein content, which varies between 11 and 18g per 100g, is the reason why it is currently reigning among grains and is that it provides a good proportion of essential amino acids, among which are: Lysine, Arginine, Threonine, Methionine, Isoleucine, Leucine, F. Alanine and Tryptophan.

The importance of the above is that while cereals and legumes lack essential amino acids to be considered a true protein source, quinoa has an adequate balance between the eight.

On the other hand, it can provide between 46 and 67g of carbohydrates per 100g, as well as between 4 and 10g of fat and 2 and 12g of fiber per 100g of quinoa. It is also rich in B vitamins, Riboflavin and folic acid.

It also has a wide range of macronutrients where they must be found (mg / 100g): Calcium 19-25mg, Magnesium 157-211mg, Iron 4-7mg, Manganese 1-5mg, Zinc 3-5mg, Sodium 8-50mg, Potassium 523 -1049mg, Phosphorus 56-429mg, Copper 0.5-1.5mg.

Despite being an excellent load of nutrients, it is necessary to consume it in a balanced diet since it has a high caloric intake because in just 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185g) you have 222Kcal .

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Whole Quinoa vs. Whole Rice

Thanks to the growing publicity on different web portals and the media where they talk about different dishes where it is the main ingredient and the admiration for its contributions to health, the consumption of quinoa has risen in recent years becoming increasingly in a common ingredient in the kitchen of many homes.

Brown rice is superior in many ways than typical white rice, but when it comes to quinoa, it becomes a better option in every sense of the word.

Both grains are in common use today and are among the most recommended for those who wish to change their diet for a healthier one, this is how when putting them to compete, Quinoa always, always surpasses Rice, it is undefeated and this is not seems to change, we will tell you why?

First you must observe the following comparative table: In both cases you have 1 cup of cooked food.

ElementCooked QuinoaCooked Brown Rice

When observing the table it is evident that quinoa has a higher proportion of nutrients than rice, highlighting figures of almost double, as we have mentioned previously, the relevance of quinoa is its protein content, since it has the eight essential amino acids that our body needs .

Rice has a very low protein content compared to quinoa that provides more than double its value, additionally it is very important to note that unlike rice, quinoa does not have gluten, which makes it an excellent option for the celiac diet.

On the other hand, the fiber and carbohydrate content is very different since quinoa has a higher proportion of fiber and a lower amount of carbohydrates, while rice contains a lower proportion of fiber and provides a greater amount of carbohydrates.

Read the article we have on  Whole Wheat Quinoa: Benefits, Cooking and Recipes

This is how in this Versus, Quinoa wins, is that in addition to not having natural gluten, it has an exquisite smell and nutty flavor and is very versatile when using it for different recipes. It can be an excellent substitute for rice and oatmeal in any dish without changing or modifying the taste or the final product.

If it is a gluten-free diet, quinoa is the answer, you can use quinoa flour and replace rice flour in gluten-free pastry recipes, it provides a much smoother texture to breads and increases their nutritional value.

How to include Whole Wheat Quinoa in your diet?

We have already talked about the nutritional wonders that this seed contributes to our diet, so it is time to talk about how we can include it in our dishes, remembering that its uses are usually the same as cereals such as rice, wheat and corn.

Seed conditioning

We can find it in pre-packaged packages and also in bulk in markets, supermarkets and natural food stores. If you buy it in bulk, make sure the container where it is deposited is covered and that the store performs a rotation of products, to guarantee that it is fresh.

You should keep it in airtight containers to prolong its useful life, in the fridge it can last between three and six months. On the other hand, quinoa at the time of its harvest has saponins that are not harmful to health but provide a bitter taste. This is why when the grain is processed, they are eliminated before being marketed.

Because of this, people usually wash them before cooking to avoid bitter flavors. An easy way to do this is to pour the seeds into a strainer and turn on the cold water tap and drop it directly onto the quinoa, while rubbing the seeds with your hands.

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Quinoa cooking

For cooking you must use a ratio of 3 to 1, that is, 3 cups of water for each cup of quinoa. As soon as the water boils, reduce the temperature to simmer, cover the pot. The time it takes to cook a cup of quinoa is approximately 15 minutes. The cooking will end when you see that the grains take a translucent color.

If you are looking for a delicious nutty flavor, before cooking, pass the seeds in a pan over medium-low heat, for about five minutes until toasted and then proceed to cook them in the water, as explained above.

Vegetable and Cereal Based Diet

You can prepare quinoa in sauces, soup, drinks, cereals, creams, salads, bread, desserts and more. Today we bring you an option to include it in your meals such as the diet based on Vegetables and cereals.

This type of diet includes all kinds of unprocessed plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains (quinoa should be the main one) and healthy fats. It does not include foods of animal origin such as meat, chicken, fish, dairy or eggs. Processed foods such as those packaged in jars, cans, boxes or bags, and candy of any kind are also not allowed.

  • To get started: Substitute meat dishes for traditional meat and dairy-free dishes such as rice with beans, stewed lentils, noodles, salads, soups and creams.

Modify traditional recipes to turn them into vegetarian food: Spinach empanadas, tacos stuffed with beans, potatoes, mushrooms and chard, Soups, Lentil and mushroom burgers, Kebabs with onion, paprika and mushrooms. Try new recipes that you can find on websites.

Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand to make them easier to incorporate into your daily diet. Find fresh and natural products in bulk and free of packaging, organic.

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When cooking beans, you can place them in a large pot, cover them with water and boil for 3 minutes, let them rest covered for 4 hours and then rinse, draining the water well. Put them to cook as usual in new water.

  • Reduce the amount of oil: You can cook the vegetables in a little water or vegetable broth and thus replace the oil. In the same way that you can cook them on the grill or in the oven without using oil.

For salads you can use vinegars or lemon juice and garlic or herbs to add flavor, instead of oil. You can even use mustard.

  • Good Eating Plate Method: The proportion in your plate should be ½ non-starchy vegetables, ¼ quinoa or any other grain or starchy vegetables, ¼ vegetable protein that can also be quinoa. A fruit or a salad (which can also include quinoa).

Benefits of quinoa for your body

We have already talked about the nutritional composition of quinoa as well as other benefits, but it is time to learn about its properties and how they benefit your body in different ways.

It is highly nutritious

It is an edible seed that contains a high caloric load in addition to having a wide range of nutrients, its proportion of proteins that contains the 8 essential amino acids in portions suitable for children and adults stands out.

It has essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that maintain their conditions after harvest, highlighting the presence of vitamin E, which is essential for the regeneration and health of the skin.

It is rich in vitamin B and rivoflavin, components that allow muscle growth, improve the health of body tissues, additionally it has folic acid, which is an ideal component for the health of body tissues, especially the central nervous system.

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Contains Quercetin and Kaempferol

These are broad spectrum antioxidant flavonoids that help prevent diseases by strengthening the immune system, they are anticancer since they have the ability to reduce the formation of cancer cells, they have anti-inflammatory effects since they reduce the operation of certain enzymes that act in inflammatory processes .

Rich in Fiber

Additionally, it is a source of fiber which in plant foods is indigestible which allows good digestion and prevents constipation by increasing bowel movement. There are even studies that indicate a relationship between fiber consumption and low cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Ideal for those allergic to gluten

Gluten-free diets have been a trend, the importance of whether it is healthy or not lies in the fact that the foods you eat are naturally gluten-free. This food provides antioxidant and nutritional values ​​to the diet of people intolerant to gluten.

It is an excellent substitute for rice, corn, and wheat flours, in this way you will not have to abandon pasta, breads, cookies, pizzas, among other foods, it is a matter of preparing these products properly.

High percentage of proteins

As we have mentioned repeatedly, quinoa provides large amounts of protein to our body, particularly it has all the essential amino acids that our body requires, so we can consider it a source of high quality protein. Proteins allow the formation of muscle mass, increase the production of cells, especially antibodies.

Low glucose percentage: it has a low glucose content which makes it a healthy option for people with diabetes, it can substitute some products in desserts and snacks, without sacrificing the taste and characteristics of the products. However, despite being low in glucose, it has a high carbohydrate content, so you must take care of the amounts that are consumed.

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High mineral content

It is a relevant source of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc as we saw previously, this is important since in the case of iron, anemia is prevented and it allows the circulation of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Potassium improves the functioning of the heart and digestive system. For its part, the presence of calcium helps to prevent osteoporosis and rheumatism as it improves ossification.

Help your metabolism

A study revealed that there is a relationship between the consumption of quinoa and the reduction of blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides. These three factors are essential to guarantee a metabolic balance. So the consumption of quinoa can help improve your metabolism.

Has Antioxidants

It has antioxidants that can raise the levels of nitric oxide in the blood, this substance is able to prevent or reduce the formation of blood clots, this significantly reducing the risk of thrombosis and bleeding. Antioxidants also improve cognitive processes and stimulate memory.

Slimming properties

As we said before, quinoa improves your metabolism, having a high protein load allows you to increase your metabolism which generates an increase in energy expenditure that translates into weight reduction as well as reduces appetite levels.

Additionally, the fiber content allows not only good digestion, but also prevents an irritated colon, which helps reduce the probability of inflammation of the abdomen, and on the other hand, the fiber generates a feeling of satiety, which helps you consume less food.

Easy to include in your meals

As we have said, it is said that it is a pseudocereal because you can prepare it like common cereals: wheat, rice, corn. This means that it is an ideal substitute for these foods and provides greater nutritional value, you can enjoy a healthy diet without stopping cooking your favorite dishes.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Quinoa

Finally, I could not miss showing you some dishes that you can prepare including quinoa among its ingredients, we leave you simple and practical recipes to start consuming this wonderful grain.

Tuna with quinoa (Starter)


¼ cup quinoa , 1 can of tuna , 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and light mayonnaise.


Wash the quinoa with cold water to remove the saponins. Proceed to cook clean water with a ratio of 3 to 1 until it is translucent. In a container place the cooked quinoa and add the tuna, mix and pour the parsley and add light mayonnaise to taste. Mix all the ingredients until you get the consistency you want, serve with sliced ​​bread, cookies or tartlets.

Whole wheat Quinoa salad


1 cup quinoa , 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion , 1 chopped tomato , ¼ cup diced or grated low-fat white cheese , lettuce leaves.


Cook the cup of quinoa in three cups of water over low heat. Let the quinoa cool and add the onion and cheese, mix well. In a plate place the lettuces like a bed and then add the mixture and add a few final touches garnishing with the tomato.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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