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Quinoa pasta is an entire family of pasta made from quinoa instead of the traditional ingredient of wheat. This type of pasta has seen a rise in popularity in the last few years, as people begin using it for health reasons, and as incidences of celiac disease become higher and more commonly diagnosed.
This type of pasta is made from the seeds of the quinoa plant, which has its origins in the Andes of South America. It is not a grass, and therefore not a true cereal in the way wheat or rice is. The seeds are collected and eaten like a grain, and it is probably most similar to amaranth in terms of large-production food crops.
Quinoa has been cultivated as a crop in the Andes as far back as the 4th millennium BCE. The Incas referred to it as the mother of all grains, and it played a pivotal role in the agricultural cycles of the Incas. When the Europeans conquered South America, they shunned quinoa as a food, disparaging it as Indian food, and its cultivation gradually decreased outside of rural indigenous communities.
Beginning in the 1970s, it began to see a resurgence, and with its introduction to the United States as a food staple sales and production began to increase. More recently, quinoa has become a staple food, especially for many vegetarians and vegans, and myriad products have been made that rely on it in the place of other grains.
Quinoa pasta offers a number of advantages over traditional pasta. For one thing, it has a very high amount of protein in it, at around 15% of its total volume. This pasta also has a robust amount of amino acids, and for people who subscribe to the model of complete proteins, quinoa is one of the few grains that has a complete protein in and of itself. The pasta also has a great deal of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Additionally, quinoa pasta has no gluten in it, and so is a good alternative for people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. For many people, pasta is a cornerstone of their diet, and when they discover that they can’t eat wheat for whatever reason, it seems as though pasta will have to be eliminated entirely. Pasta made with quinoa offers an alternative to eliminating it altogether, and as well as being suitable for celiac sufferers, it is healthier in many ways than traditional wheat pasta.
There are a number of different manufacturers of quinoa pasta, and it can be found in all sorts of different shapes. While the range of shapes is still less than that of traditional pasta, it can be found in macaroni elbows, spaghetti, corkscrews, and other major shapes. Cooking this pasta is slightly more precise than cooking wheat pasta, simply because the texture can go wrong if undercooked or overcooked more easily than white pasta. Many people compare it’s texture to that of whole wheat pasta, and the same cooking precision applies.