Kañiwa (pronounced kan-yee-wa) is the seed of the leafy goosefoot plant, growing in the Andes mountains of South America. Harvested primarily from Bolivia and southern Peru, kañiwa seeds are a dark, reddish-brown color, and are significantly smaller than their close relative quinoa.
Kañiwa has been a staple food for Native American cultures for centuries due to its ability to grow in harsh climates.
Like quinoa, kañiwa is a nutritional powerhouse! A 1/2 cup serving of cooked kañiwa has 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 160 calories. It is also high in antioxidants, and a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, and calcium. Kañiwa is gluten free, making it an excellent grain alternative for anyone with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Cook kañiwa as you would quinoa – minus the rinsing! Unlike quinoa, kañiwa does not have a bitter saponin coating, meaning there’s no need to rinse it before cooking.
Simply combine 1 cup of kañiwa with 2 cups liquid, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat (covered) for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Allow to sit, covered for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.
You can use kañiwa in place of quinoa in any recipe! Here are just a few of the many ways to use either of these superseeds:
- Cheesy, Citrusy Quinoa
- Pistachio Pesto Quinoa
- Pineapple Fried Quinoa
- Refreshing Quinoa Salad with Mango, Cucumber & Avocado
- Quinoa with Secret Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Red Quinoa Loaf
- Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
- Quinoa with Roasted Root Veggies and Currants
- Toasted Quinoa Vegetable Stacks with Green Goddess Dressing
With its incredible nutritional profile, slightly crunchy texture, and rich, nutty flavor, kañiwa might just become your favorite new alternative to rice or pasta! Check the bulk foods section of your local health food store for kañiwa; it is also available from several online retailers.
Image Credit: little blue hen/Flickr