Let’s discuss quinoa for a hot second.
I don’t cook rice. I never have. Ever since I saw an episode of I Love Lucy where Ricky gets rice all over the kitchen trying to cook it, I’ve stayed far away. Plus, it’s nutritionally poor and massively boring.
Quinoa, on the other hand, is super easy to make. You stick it in a pot of boiling water, set it to simmer, walk away, and then come back 20 minutes later. It’s done, and it hasn’t expanded like a monster to take over your stove top.
The United Nations named 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa,” because of the role this supergrain’s biodiversity and nutritional value plays in providing food security, nutrition, and the eradication of poverty. Best of all, it’s outrageously healthy, an excellent source of protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber, and can be used in lieu of traditional pastas, rice, or couscous.
You might consider Alter Eco quinoa, which is all organic, fair trade, gluten-free, non-GMO and Carbon Neutral certified, which means they have been measured and compensated for the carbon emissions of every step in the supply chain. With four varieties of quinoa–Royal Pearl, Royal Black, Royal Rainbow, and Royal Red–you can experiment with adding it to a variety of dishes, sweet and savory.
Since 2002, Alter Eco has been working with and for indigenous quinoa growers from the southern Bolivian Altiplano. Their biannual visits to these communities are multi-faceted, from measuring impact and triple bottom line performances of the co-op, to farming and processing cost analysis, to computer donations to schools. Alter Eco is the exclusive partner of ANAPQUI (the largest and oldest quinoa cooperative of small-scale farmers in Bolivia) in the US market.
Between 2002 and the present day, the lives of Alter Eco’s quinoa partners have changed in some very perceptible ways: household income and diversification of revenue sources have significantly increased. Better economic resources have allowed families to settle seasonally in more populated areas, improving their housing and living conditions, placing the farmers and their families in proximity of better school systems and higher education. Additional revenue from quinoa has allowed farmers to add fresh vegetables, fruit and meat to diversify and improve their daily diet.
“It is clear that, without quinoa transnational trade, these positive achievements would not exist and Southern Altiplano inhabitants would be forced to continue to migrating season to season and selling their labor at cheap rates,” says Edouard Rollet, Co-Founder and President of Alter Eco. “There is a promising opportunity where this exponential market growth could be the solution to eradicate poverty in one of the poorest locations on the globe, but only if this demand is met with a sustainably provided supply.”
Alter Eco Royal Quinoa products are available at Whole Foods Markets and natural food stores, as well as online.
They sent me over this quick and easy recipe. Cook it up for dinner, then enjoy it all week for lunch leftovers.
Quinoa Summer Salad
1 1/2 cups Alter Eco Rainbow Quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons)
Rinse Quinoa thoroughly in cool water and drain.
In a medium saucepan combine quinoa, salt and 3 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add corn, cover and cook until water is
Let cool, then transfer mixture to large serving bowl. Toss well with fork, fluffing
quinoa. Add basil, peppers and onion. Stir in oil and enough lemon juice to give salad a
distinct lemony edge. Adjust seasons to taste.