A flowering plant that is part of the amaranth family, quinoa is a pseudo-cereal of round, disc-shaped seeds in either white, red or black in color. Quinoa is an ancient grain that predominantly grows in South America, however, in the United States, farmers grow quinoa around the Rocky Mountains at elevations between 7,000 and 10,000 feet.
Describing the taste of quinoa can be challenging as this one small seed covers a lot of flavor ground, including:
- Nutty: Quinoa has a distinct nutty flavor, which is one of its most prominent taste attributes. This nuttiness sets it apart from other grains and adds a pleasant and earthy dimension to its taste.
- Earthy: Quinoa has an earthy undertone, similar to the flavor of many whole grains. This characteristic imparts a wholesome and hearty quality to products made with quinoa.
- Slightly Sweet: Though not overwhelmingly sweet, quinoa carries a delicate sweetness that complements its nutty and earthy notes. This subtle sweetness enhances the overall flavor profile and makes it a versatile ingredient.
Quinoa's relatively mild flavor allows it to absorb the tastes of other ingredients it is used with. It provides depth in formulas, but isn’t necessarily the star.
DakotaMB mills quinoa perfect for a number of applications
- Cereal: Quinoa can be milled into flakes, making it the perfect addition to grain-free granolas or quinoa-based cereals.
- Gluten-Free Pizza: Quinoa flour is an exceptional ingredient to use in gluten-free pizza crusts, where it can be used in combination with other gluten-free flours to provide a desirable crumb.
- Sauces: Quinoa flour also is a clean-label thickening agent, perfect for use in sauces and soups.
- Pasta: Pasta never lacks in consumer demand, and food companies and manufacturers are using quinoa pastas as a staple in gluten-free product lines.
Quinoa as a value-added grain
Quinoa is considered a valued-added grain due to its nutritional benefits and versatility in various applications:
- It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of plant-based protein.
- It’s high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- It can be used as a substitute for rice and other grains. Its mild and slightly nutty flavor pairs well with a number of other ingredients, making it a popular choice for added nutritional value.
By using quinoa, food producers can offer consumers healthier and more diverse options, catering to a growing demand for nutrition, clean label ingredients, plant-based meals and a wider variety of gluten-free options.
Interested in using quinoa in your next value-added ancient grain product development? Contact DakotaMB today.