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Quinoa flakes are similar to oatmeal and are often used a breakfast and baking substitute; people looking for a gluten-free alternative to wheat often incorporate the flakes into their diet as well. It is generally recommended for the flakes are fully cooked before they are eaten. The word quinoa refers to an ancient grain native to South America that is highly nutritious and also easily digestible by most people; even though quinoa is an ancient grain, its use in North American cooking is fairly recent. The flake form of the grain is made in processing plants by squeezing the grains into flakes, which can then be purchased from most natural foods and specialty foods stores.
Appearance and Taste
Resembling rolled oats when uncooked, cooked quinoa flakes tend to look like wheat cereal or grits. The taste is described by many as “neutral” or not that flavorful, but others are quick to point out that this doesn't exactly mean the flakes or grain are bland — they just tend not to interfere with other flavors, much like oatmeal or wheat flour. A hot bowl of quinoa flakes can add nutritional value to a person's diet, as it does not contain any cholesterol, sodium, or gluten, but adds about 10% of the daily requirement for dietary fiber.
Recipes for quinoa flakes aren’t typically common, but often the flake packaging will include a list of recommended uses in baked goods. In particular, muffins, breads, pancakes, and waffles can all be made healthier when the flakes are used as a substitute for white or wheat flour; many users of the flakes say the baked results are delicious and hearty. Quinoa flakes do require cooking; using the flakes as a breakfast cereal typically requires one to add the flakes to boiling water and cook them for about 90 seconds, after which the flakes should be allowed to stand for several minutes until they reach the desired thickness and consistency. When the flakes are used in recipes, however, the instructions should indicate how to properly cook them.
Many people have found quinoa flakes to be a healthy alternative to dried oats, and use them in place of oatmeal in baking recipes. Oatmeal cookies can easily become quinoa cookies, and some people testify to the more filling nature of this South American grain. The flakes can also be used in place of oatmeal when called for in fruit crisp recipes, or added to granola for additional nutrition. For more ideas with quinoa, look for recipes in cookbooks designed for people with gluten-free needs, in vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, or on the Internet.