Super Duper 'Ancient' Grain

By Julie Fink                                                                                                      March 23rd, 2016

The latest superfood making its way to the market is kañiwa, also known as the “New Ancient Superfood.” It’s a South American quinoa-like grain that is chalk full of nutrition and health benefits.

In addition to being a healthy gluten-free alternative to any meal, kañiwa is:

  • An excellent source of protein and amino acids
  • Exceptionally high in iron
  • A good source of complete protein
  • Known for containing exceptionally high levels of flavonoids (more so than quinoa)

FYI: Flavonoids have anti-aging benefits for the skin, may help prevent cardiovascular diseases, inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and viruses, and can reduce the risk of certain inflammatory diseases.

Quinoa vs. Kañiwa

One major difference between the two is that kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating that gives quinoa a soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly. Kañiwa is actually easier to process due to the absence of saponins but still has a mild, nutty flavor similar to quinoa.

How to Cook Kañiwa

It’s recommended to toast the grain on a dry skillet or saucepan first, then cover with water in twice its volume. Like quinoa, the water absorbs in 15 to 20 minutes. Like many of its nutritious grain cousins, kañiwa works well in warm pilafs, salads, stuffing, and grain bowls.