Quinoa – The Super grain of the Future
Quinoa (Pronounced: keen-wa) is a seed that was domesticated for human consumption, three to four thousand years ago. It grows in the Andes region of South America and was once one of three staple foods of the Inca civilisation, who in turn referred to it as the mother grain. It is nowadays often called The Supergrain of the Future.
Nutritionally, quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine of the essential amino acids, whereas, all other plant based foods would need to be combined with another food to make a complete protein. This makes quinoa an ideal ingredient to include in a vegetarian/vegan diet. The only other food sources that provide a complete protein are animal-based; such as meat & dairy products, which of course do not fit in the above lifestyle. It also means that you could live on quinoa alone and be nutritionally satiated.
Quinoa is also packed with dietary fibre; and is easy to digest, rich in magnesium & iron and better still it is completely Gluten Free.
In the kitchen, quinoa can be prepared and cooked in the same way as rice. I usually use two parts water to one part quinoa, which I sometimes add stock or a variety of spices to (more on this below)
It is super simple to add to any recipe and I love to eat it in replace of rice or to bulk out salads in summer. Today I used it to make a light and tasty tuna salad…
Tuna Quinoa salad
2 x tin tuna
1 cup Quinoa
2 large handfuls spinach
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
1 x can chickpeas
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Freshly squeezed lemon
Soak the quinoa in boiling water for 5 minutes to help remove the bitter coating, then rinse thoroughly in cold water. Add the Quinoa to 2 cups of water & a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15minutes and then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the tuna, spinach, tomatoes, avocado and chickpeas and after the 5 minutes are up add the Quinoa and mix once again. Finally, drizzle the salad with the oil & lemon, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Please keep your eyes peeled for more recipes using quinoa… including my quinoa porridge fit for a paleo diet!