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Originally published March 22 2011

Enjoy the health benefits of gluten-free quinoa with this black bean salad recipe

by Tony Isaacs

(NaturalNews) Whole grains have been lauded for their many health benefits; however, many people who are gluten-intolerant have found their whole grain choices limited. Quinoa (keen-wah) is an increasingly popular gluten-free grain-like vegetable that may offer the same benefits as whole grains and then some.

Quinoa is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium) and is grown primarily for its edible seeds, which have a mild, nutty flavor. Though the seeds are grain-like, quinoa is not a true grain or cereal and it is actually closely related to beets, spinach and chard.

The origins of quinoa trace back over 5,000 years ago to the Andes Mountains. The Incas used quinoa in ceremonial rituals and cultivated it as one of their staple crops, believing that it gave their warriors power and stamina. In the 16th century, Spanish Conquistadors burned and destroyed the quinoa fields. However, quinoa survived by growing wild in the mountains and by secret cultivation. In the 1980s, two North Americans stumbled upon this ancient food and began cultivating it near Boulder, Colorado. Since then, quinoa's popularity has exploded.

Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and calcium. It's a very good source of protein, vitamin B2, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.

Complete protein plants are rare, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and anyone else looking for a healthy protein source. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet.

Quinoa has also been used for weight loss and malnutrition.

Seeds of the quinoa plant make great substitutes for rice and pasta. Quinoa flakes can be substituted perfectly for oatmeal and quinoa flour is great for baking cookies, breads and muffins.

Here is one healthy recipe featuring quinoa:

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/4 tsp. dried cumin
1/3 cup olive oil

Note: For an even healthier version, substitute fresh, frozen or canned organic vegetables wherever possible.


Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Put the quinoa in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss the beans with the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the beans, corn, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, cayenne and cilantro with the cooled quinoa. Toss well.

In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, salt and cumin. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Note: The salad may be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Makes 6 main-dish servings.

Per serving: 360 calories, 13 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 47 g carbohydrate,
11 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 260 mg sodium.

Sources included:

About the author

Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".

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