You know, when I tell people I know that I eat quinoa (pronounced keen-wah; it's okay, I didn't know at first either), I usually get one of two responses: 1) They have no idea what it is, or 2) They say, "Oh, I've heard of it, but what is it?" Since I'm from Hawaii and pretty much everyone here eats [white] rice everyday with one or more of their meals, my answer to the question is normally starts with, "You eat rice? It's like rice. You can cook it the same way and eat it the same way, but it's healthier and better for you." If you look at the pic on the left, they don't look alike, but they have the same texture, about the same taste, and can be used in pretty much all the same recipes. And then, of course, people ask how is quinoa better for you? And then I have to launch into explanation mode...
- Reasons Why Quinoa Is A Winner (over rice)
- Although the preparation method is essentially the same, quinoa only takes about 15-20 minutes to reach a tender cooked stage. On the other hand, brown rice takes almost twice as long and sometimes longer.
- Brown rice can be a lot chewier, especially depending on how well/long you've cooked it, whereas quinoa tends to be naturally softer and more tender.
- Nutritionally, while quinoa has a slightly higher fat content, it also has more dietary fiber (see my older post for a little more about fiber) and protein than brown rice. I'd say that's a worthwhile tradeoff.
- Quinoa is known for being a good source of protein because it's a complete protein that has all the "essential amino acids" (amino acids are the molecular building blocks that make up proteins, in case you didn't know). In other words, quinoa has the amino acids that your body needs but doesn't produce on it's own. Brown rice, however, is not a complete protein.
So take all of that into consideration. White rice is completely out, but it's up to you to pick brown rice or quinoa. In the meantime, buy a small bag of quinoa to try it out if you haven't, and make my recipe!! :D The original pin on Pinterest claimed that the bake was full of protein, but it wasn't enough for my needs, so I added some protein powder to it.
Cinnamon Quinoa Protein Bake
- 2 1/2 C quinoa, cooked & cooled
- 3/4 C liquid egg (or 4 large eggs, beaten)
- 1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1-2 scoops cinnamon swirl protein powder (or vanilla protein powder)
- Optional: 1/3 C agave/honey/maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375F, and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper (should hang over sides of pan like in picture below) and lightly grease.
- In a large bowl, whisk everything except the quinoa together until well combined. Protein powder and cinnamon should not be clumpy.
- Add quinoa to mixture and stir with a large spoon or spatula to combine.
- Pour into prepared pan and spread mixture out evenly with a spatula. Bake 20-25 minutes until it's set and golden.
- Using parchment overhang to remove quinoa bake from the pan as soon as possible onto a wire rack/cooling surface.
- Cool completely and cut into squares.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a dollop of peanut/preferred nut butter.
(Original recipe can be found here)