More than ever, food truck owners find themselves responding to requests for healthy, meatless meals. Through years of work in the mobile food industry and partnering with the Meatless Monday program, we provide weekly articles about the program as well as information on products that can be added to food truck menus. This week we will look at quinoa.
If your food truck hasn’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon yet, after reading this article we hope to see more food truck owners add this versatile ingredient to their menus. With a nutritional profile that has most nutritionists calling it a “superfood”, plus a plethora of yummy ways to get it into recipes — we’re willing to bet quinoa’s going to be your new favorite food.
Pronounced “KEEN-wah,” this faux-grain has been eaten for 5,000 years by the people of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile, and dates all the way back to the Incas, who believed it to be sacred. It’s considered a “pseudocereal” since it’s technically not a grain; it actually comes from the same botanical family as sugarbeet, table beet, Swiss chard and spinach.
Here’s why you’re going to love it:
- It’s extremely high in protein (18%) and is a source of “complete protein,” which means that it includes all nine essential amino acids — a factor that makes it perfect for vegans whose diet often lacks the protein carnivores get from animal products.
- It contains about twice the protein of regular cereal grains and fewer carbohydrates.
- It’s low in cholesterol and sodium.
- It’s higher in lysine — which is essential for tissue growth and repair — than wheat.
- It’s a great source of manganese and a good source of magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
- It cooks more quickly than rice.
- It’s gluten-free, which makes it suitable for those with celiac disease.
- It’s non-dairy and a good source of calcium, so we’re talking to you too, lactose-intolerant folks.
You can find quinoa in the rice aisle or health-food section of your grocery store. It’s as easy to cook as pasta: Boil water in a large pot, add quinoa, reduce the heat to low and cook about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, let it cool and serve.
Perhaps the best part about quinoa is its versatility. Whether you want to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or dessert, there’s always a way to include this pseudocereal.
Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!