SMART Choices with Sara; Quinoa, a Taste of Peru
My husband and I recently returned from Peru where we lived like the locals near the Amazon jungle for 3 weeks. We went to serve the people of Peru, embrace their culture and help the hurting. Peru is a beautiful country, and as much as we went there to help the Peruvians, we left extremely blessed ourselves.
Whenever I travel, I am reminded of the importance other cultures place on food and relationships. Meals are far more meaningful than an avenue to get full and Peruvians seem to value the time it takes to prepare a meal. Traveling always sparks a new passion in me to help people gather together to eat with the goal of nourishment and relationship.
Upon returning from Peru, I have a new appreciation and excitement about quinoa. Quinoa dates back thousands of years to when the Incas first discovered that quinoa, technically a seed, gave them strength and longevity. The Incas valued it so highly for its health benefits that it was considered as valuable as gold. Modern research of quinoa confirms the high value the Incas placed on quinoa and it has been called the super-grain of the future. Peru is still the leader in quinoa production.
I like quinoa because it is easy to cook, great for digestion, a complete protein, a great source of fiber and safe for people who need to eat a gluten-free diet.
Fortunately, you don’t need to travel to Peru to get your hands on some quinoa. I make two quinoa salads daily at Hy-Vee and they are available in the kitchen’s salad case. If you would like to try quinoa, or should I say fall in love with it, I invite you to sample some the next time you are in our store. I make both the Curry Quinoa and the Mediterranean Quinoa daily from scratch and also cater them to many events in the community.
Here is a great recipe using quinoa called Great Grains Salad. It has wheat berries, quinoa, fresh corn and smoked Gouda cheese. As a bonus, the Van Gogh smoked Gouda cheese is on sale this week featured in our ad for only $4.99!
Great Grains Salad
All you need:
½ cup wheat berries, uncooked
½ cup quinoa, uncooked
½ tsp. salt, divided
2 ears of corn, shucked or 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen corn, thawed
¼ cup chopped red onion
4 oz. smoked Gouda, cubed
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried Italian herb mix
All you do:
- Soak wheat berries in cold water overnight. In the morning, rinse, drain and place in a medium pot with 3 cups of water. Bring water and berries to a boil and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Drain and place in a medium bowl.
- Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under cold water. Bring 1 1/4 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small pot and add quinoa. Simmer for about 12 to 14 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Add cooked quinoa to wheat berries.
- Add corn, onion, Gouda cheese and grape tomatoes to grain mixture and toss to combine. Lastly drizzle in the olive oil, vinegar, Italian herbs and remaining ¼ tsp. salt. Mix well and serve at room temperature or chilled. Salad will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Thanks for joining me this week. I would love to hear from you. Any questions or feedback are always welcome.
Here is how you can contact me, by email email@example.com or come into the store and talk with me in person. Just ask for Sara Passante at Customer Service, the next time you’re in the store. I’d love to meet you!
Photo of quinoa and woman credit to: Marcus Strom