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Uncooked quinoa resembles bulgar. Each grain has a fine ring around it. This is the stem that attaches the seed to the plant. When it’s cooked, the stem straightens out so that each grain appears to have a little tail. This fine filament gives quinoa a bit of a crunchy texture, and it contains the majority of the grain’s protein.
Quinoa’s protein is said to be “complete” – it’s similar in protein to meat, fish, and eggs, so it’s a standby in vegan diets. Quinoa is also high in calcium, iron, and phosphorus. When cooked, quinoa is surprisingly light. For each cup of dry quinoa, add 2 cups of water, and cook for 12-15 minutes. The grains continue to cook, so it’s a good idea to stir in a few tablespoons of water before returning for a second helping.