Quinoa and Chia Seeds. Right on trend. Right? These two ingredients are everywhere. But, what’s so great about them?
First of all, let’s get the pronunciation out of the way for Quinoa. It’s ‘keen-wah,’ but you probably already knew that.
Quinoa has lots of great things going for it.
- Most people think it’s a grain, but quinoa is really a pseudocereal (seed) that’s naturally gluten free. It’s considered a ‘complete protein’ because it contains all the essential amino acids (the stuff that protein is made up of and can’t be made by the body) with 8 grams of protein per cup.
- High in Antioxidants
- Although high in carbs, it’s low on the glycemic index (how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels).
- Quinoa is also high in minerals – calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc, etc. and vitamins – Fat Soluble A&E and B-Complex Vitamins (water soluble – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pyridoxine).
If you’re working with the quinoa seed (not the flour), you would need to soak the quinoa in order for your body to have better access to those minerals though.
You’ll want to soak the quinoa anyway (not the flour). Quinoa has this bitterness to it which comes from a chemical called saponin and it coats every seed – it’s a self defense mechanism – keeps all those insects/birds from eating the seed. By soaking it before cooking, that bitterness goes away.
What about Ch-ch-ch-chia? Besides the chia pet,
- Chia Seeds are naturally gluten free with a mild, nutty flavor.
- This tiny black or white seed is native to South America and has been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries
- A 1 ounce serving (about 3 Tablespoons) provides 11 grams of fiber and 4.4 grams of protein
- Chia seeds are a good source for calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous.
- When Chia is combined with water, the seeds take on a gelatinous texture so can be used as an egg substitute or thickening agent. Chia seeds can absorb water up to 11 times their weight.
- Good source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) although the body needs to convert those to DHA and EPA and some are inefficient at doing this.
Here’s a comprehensive article on Chia from Health Ambition. And there is some controversy out there about whether there are adverse effects that outweigh the benefits of consuming chia seeds. If you are at all interested, you can see that point of view here.
But, back to the delicious cracker. This is a perfect way to get both of these ‘superfoods’ into your diet. And, the crackers are a perfect complement to the Cheeses – Hot and Cold that you see in the photo above. I’ll post the cheese recipe in a few days.
This recipe was inspired by an Artisan Cracker that my daughter-in-law found in Paso Robles, CA and this is my attempt to duplicate it.
This cracker truly is easy to mix, roll out and bake. You can be from mixing to eating in 45 minutes. The only hard part here is having all the correct ingredients in your pantry. Even with my extensive library of gluten-free flours and other ingredients, I didn’t have the quinoa ‘flour’ or chia seeds. So, sorry to have you buy and store one more ingredient… But, those chia seeds can be used in your yogurt or in your pancakes or on top of a salad and if you’re still looking for more ways, you can check out this article from Dr. Axe that has 21 suggestions.
The most important thing is that you roll this cracker out thin enough. I made a few batches where I thought I had rolled it out to a thin 1/8″, but the middle was just a bit thicker and I had to bake the crackers too long to get them crisp so they were a tad too dark. You can, of course, cut the crackers any shape you want and I especially love the ragged edges, cause I get to eat those when they come out of the oven.
Buon Appetito! xoxo…