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Super Duper ‘Ancient’ Grain

By Julie Fink
Posted On Mar 23, 2016
Super Duper ‘Ancient’ Grain

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.

Try this recipe: Kañiwa Pilaf Dinner Delight

Kaniwa pilaf


1/3 cup bacon, firmly packed chopped
Salad oil (optional)
1 cup mushroom, sliced
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup beef broth, regular strength
½ cup Kaniwa
1/3 cup carrot, shredded
1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped


  1. In a 12-inch saucepan over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp around edges, around 8 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
  1. Spoon off and discard all but 3 tablespoons of the fat or drain it all and use 3 tablespoons of vegetable Add mushrooms and onions to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid cooks away and mushrooms are golden. Add broth, Kaniwa, carrots, and green pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. Take off heat, remove the lid and let stand 2 minutes. Stir with a fork to separate grains.
  1. Spoon onto serving dish and sprinkle with cooked bacon.

Source: www.vegkitchen.com