Kañiwa is, like quinoa (to which it is related), a super-nutritious ancient grain from South America. It’s an excellent source of protein and amino acids, is exceptionally high in iron, and is gluten-free. Dark reddish-brown in color and about half the size of a tiny quinoa seed, kañiwa cooks up quickly to resemble a smaller version of red quinoa.
Like quinoa, it cooks quickly and is great in pilafs and salads. It’s even tinier than quinoa and one essential difference is that kañiwa doesn’t have the bitter saponin residue that must be laboriously rinsed off of quinoa when it’s being readied for market. I predict we’ll be seeing a lot more of kañiwa in the near future. Ask your natural foods retailer about it, or look for Roland kañiwa,* the brand I sampled, on Amazon.com. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Kañiwa Confetti Salad
- 3/4 cup kañiwa
- 1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 2 medium carrots finely diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper finely diced
- 2 celery stalks finely diced
- 1/4 cup pitted cured black or green olives sliced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 2 scallions sliced
- 1/2 medium firm ripe avocado, finely diced
- 1/2 cup green sprouts such as pea shoots, cut into short segment, optional
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Raw greens optional
- Combine the kañiwa with 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a serving bowl and allow the grain to cool to room temperature.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Serve at once, arranging individual servings over lettuce, baby greens, or other raw greens, if desired.
- Here are more recipes for grain salads.
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