Ancient Harvest Quinoa

The upside of dietary restrictions is that you’re primed to discover all sorts of interesting edibles that others might unwittingly ignore.

Here’s one treat that will have the gluten intolerant feeling smug indeed. Ancient Harvest quinoa is a chewy, toasty-flavored grain related to chard and spinach that humans have enjoyed for 5,000 years. It was so central to the Incan diet that they called it chisaya mama, or “the mother of all grains.” Technically it’s a seed — and a complete protein — but it plays the role of grain beautifully. Delicious prepared sweet or savory (for suggestions, see “Quinoa” in the March 2008 archives), it’s a convenient, easy-to-digest high-protein meal that takes less than 15 minutes to get from box to fork. $2 to $2.50 for a 12-ounce box. Find Ancient Harvest products in the natural-foods section of most conventional grocery stores, or order by the case from www.quinoa.bigstep.com.

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