CHICAGO, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Staying true to the adage, "all things old are new again," Near East is giving ancient grains a modern twist with the launch of new Quinoa Blends. Available in two flavors, Rosemary & Olive Oil and Roasted Red Pepper & Basil, the half quinoa and half brown rice blends combine the goodness of whole grains with great global taste.
Near East Quinoa Blends have seven to eight grams of protein and 34 grams of whole grain per one cup serving (see nutrition information for sodium content). That's just over two servings of whole grains in one side dish and a tasty way to make half your grains whole as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. In addition, Quinoa Blends are a good source of fiber (contains 3 grams of fat per serving as prepared). With a slightly nutty flavor and al dente texture, they offer unique and flavorful options that fit well into a plant-based diet.
"Thanks to Americans' ever-evolving palate and search for wholesome and unique foods, quinoa is emerging from an unfamiliar grain to being sought after in stores," said Tania Haladner, Senior Marketing Manager of Near East. "Near East Quinoa Blends deliver great meal options that bring something new to the table without adding to your time in the kitchen."
The Quinoa Question: What is it?
While recently listed as a hot food trend in 2011 by the National Restaurant Association, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a staple in South America with origins dating thousands of years and is accredited by the Incas to increase the stamina of warriors. Now, the interest in ancient grains has elevated quinoa from specialty store item to more mainstream fare.
With Near East Quinoa Blend products, preparation is just as easy as making rice and is done in a matter of minutes. Simply combine quinoa/brown rice blend, olive oil and water, and bring to a boil. Add contents of spice pack and let it boil for 14 to 17 minutes until water is absorbed. Let it stand for five minutes and then fluff with fork.
"Because quinoa is still relatively new to the market, people are unaware how easy and convenient it is to make," said Haladner. "In about 15 minutes, people can create a great foundation for a balanced meal simply by adding lean protein and vegetables."
Near East® Quinoa Blend products are available this summer exclusively at Whole Foods and will be available at additional grocers nationwide this fall. Suggested retail price per box is $2.99.
Quinoa Blend with Broccoli and Cranberries
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook/Stand Time: 25 minutes
1 package NEAR EAST® Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa Blend
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup small broccoli florets
In medium saucepan combine quinoa/brown rice blend, water, cranberries and olive oil; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add contents of Spice Sack and stir well.
Boil gently for 12 minutes; stir in broccoli. Boil 2-5 additional minutes or until water is absorbed.
Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.
About 2 (1-cup) servings
Variation: Make this an easy main dish by stirring in 1 cup cooked, diced chicken or turkey in Step 4 before stand time.
For more Near East Quinoa Blend recipes, visit neareast.com/recipes.
About Near East
Founded in 1962, Near East is the leading brand of couscous and other specialty side dishes. With more than 30 different flavors and varieties of couscous, rice pilafs and other grain dishes, Near East products offer authentic tastes from around the world. Near East products are 100 percent natural, and most are certified Kosher. Near East products are available nationally in supermarkets and specialty food stores. For more information, visit www.neareast.com.
SOURCE Near East