An ingredient with a high nutritional value, quinoa flour is perfect for sweet and savory recipes., used alone or as a complement to other flours. It is also a gluten-free food, very versatile and rich in benefits.
Quinoa flour is also excellent for cakes, bread, pizza, and many other recipes thanks to its strong flavor. Its versatility makes it ideal for many home preparations.
It is also easily found in supermarkets and grocery stores.
It is obtained from the seeds of quinoa, a plant native to South America that the US National Academy of Sciences has described it as a “near perfect source of vegetable protein.” The Incas called it chisiya mama, that is, “mother of all seeds”, because it reproduces by itself.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa is a typical plant from South America. It was considered a sacred plant by the Incas, who cultivated it for food. Even today, more than 50% of world production comes from Peru, and the rest from Bolivia and Ecuador.
In South American countries, it is a staple of the diet because is rich in essential amino acids, which makes it a nutritionally complete food. Also, it’s quite high in protein and gluten freeso celiacs can also consume it.
Actually, quinoa is not a cereal, but a plant from the same family as beets and spinach. Its seeds, however, are quite large and rich in starch, which is why it is usually considered a pseudocereal, like buckwheat.
It is also an ingredient for easy and tasty recipes.
Quinoa flour: properties and benefits
Belonging to the same family as spinach, Quinoa flour is nutritionally very rich.
It contains all the essential amino acids, unlike cereals, which makes it a complete food. Therefore, It is rich in protein and quite caloric, but does not contain gluten and it is suitable for the celiac diet.
It is rich in good fatty acids (omega 3) and vitamin E, while it contains a low level of sodium and, above all, a moderate glycemic index (IG 40). This makes it a excellent ally in cases of cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, hypertension, overweight and high cholesterol.
When included in the diet, quinoa flour is a true panacea, especially for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
But Let’s see in detail its nutritional properties.
The amount of water it contains is perfect to prevent the proliferation of bacteria and fungi in the flour. It is rich in carbohydrates (around 60%) and has a caloric intake similar to that of potatoes and chestnuts.
The protein contribution is 15%, higher than that of other cereals. It does not contain gluten, as we have seen, but it does contain all the essential amino acids and vitamins that make it a complete food.
Instead, the amount of lipids (about 8%) is higher than that of other cerealsso the caloric intake is higher.
The mineral salts vary depending on the place where the quinoa plant is grown, but phosphorus, potassium and manganese are present in good amounts.
The uses of quinoa flour in the kitchen
Very light consistency Quinoa flour has a very characteristic flavor, reminiscent of cabbage. Therefore, in sweet preparations, it is better to mix it with other flours to obtain a more neutral result. Use this flour in savory recipes such as bread, muffins, and rustic vegetable pies. If you use it to make cakes, combine it with strong-tasting ingredients, such as coffee, chocolate, or spices.
Being high in protein, quinoa flour is suitable for baking. If you make cookies or cakes, use it neat. While, for more “elastic” doughs such as bread, muffins and pancakes, add it to other flours in a 20% proportion.
As with all gluten-free flours, even if they come from permitted foods, When buying them you should always check that the packaging contains the mention “gluten-free” or the symbol of the crossed out ear of wheat.
Homemade quinoa flour
It is quite a flour expensive, so it’s best to grind it at home whenever possible. Before, however, you have to soak the quinoa seeds. These seeds are coated with saponin, a substance naturally present on their surface and responsible for the bitter taste of quinoa and the flour made from it.
Therefore, after rinsing them well, you have to let them dry for a few hours. To reduce the bitter taste of quinoa flour, roasting can also be used. The flour is placed on a baking tray, forming a thin layer, and baked at 90 °C for 2 hours.
At this point, a food processor can be used to grind the seeds into a fine powder. Once ground, the flour will be immediately ready for your favorite recipes.
Quinoa flour is a favorite on gluten-free and vegetarian diets. Try making bread and pizza at home and you will be delighted with the result.
If prepared at home, quinoa flour should be consumed in a short time. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge or in a cool place. The shelf life is about 6 months if it is toasted quinoa flour.
Recipes with quinoa flour
Ingredients for 16 crackers:
- 65g rice flour
- 50 g of quinoa flour
- 50 ml of water
- 15ml rice oil
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 lime
- 20 g sesame and flaxseed
- 3/4 drops of Tabasco
- 4/5 fresh coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
Discover how to prepare rice and quinoa crackers.