Kaniwa is really gaining in popularity after being mentioned on the Dr. Oz show recently. Whether you’re looking for an alternative gluten free grain, or you’re just looking for a new nutritious side dish to serve with dinner for the family, kaniwa is definitely a food item worth trying since it is quick to make and is known as a superfood that offers significant health benefits.
Although many enjoy kaniwa as a grain like dish, technically it’s a seed, just like quinoa is. In fact kaniwa is actually a relative of quinoa and is also known as baby quinoa. It is the seed of the leafy goosefoot plant that grows in the Andes mountains of South America.
It’s an excellent source of protein and amino acids, is high in antioxidants, plus it’s rich in calcium, iron, zinc and fiber. It offers a crunchy texture with a rich, nutty flavor. The seeds are smaller than quinoa seeds, and are reddish in color.
You’ll want to cook kaniwa with the same water to seed ratio as quinoa, 2:1. It is often recommended to toast the grain on a dry skillet or saucepan before cooking for extra taste, although many people often skip this first step and still enjoy it’s flavor.
To cook this seed properly, you’ll want to bring it to a boil, reduce the heat on the stove top and then simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. After it’s done simmering, you can let it sit for an additional five to ten minutes to allow it to finish cooking, then fluff the cooked seeds with a fork just like you would when making rice.
When you’re ready to serve the kaniwa, you may want to add butter, or a healthy oil like coconut or olive oil, then a touch of sea salt and a dash of pepper, and even a couple of your favorite herbs to add more flavor. Chopped onions or red peppers add a nice touch for adding extra flavor as well.
You can even let it cool off after cooking and then add it to your favorite salad. There are a few recipes available online for some other ideas on cooking with this ancient seed.
If you’d like to know where to purchase kaniwa, either in bulk or in smaller quantities, check out the health food stores in your local area or do a search online for food retailers to find websites that carry it.
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