Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is a seed grown in countries such as Peru and Bolivia, and has become an increasingly popular superfood over the past few years.
Adding quinoa to your diet can significantly increase your intake of many important nutrients, like iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. It’s also a great source of protein, carbohydrate and fibre.
Thanks to its many benefits, lots of diets can be enhanced by Quinoa. It is gluten-free, making it a great choice for coeliacs; packed with essential amino acids to support vegetarian and vegan diets; and has a low glycaemic index which makes it ideal for those with diabetes. And if you don’t have any specific eating requirements, it’s still a great addition to help you feel fuller for longer.
Quinoa can be prepared much like rice. It should usually be rinsed before use as rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. To cook, bring two volumes of water to the boil to one volume of quinoa, cover, simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ should have a slight bite to it (al dente). The quinoa will have a fluffy texture with a slightly nutty flavour. During cooking the quinoa will quadruple in size and become almost translucent.
The versatility and delicious taste of quinoa makes it easy to incorporate into your diet. Quick and easy to prepare, it works well when added to rice dishes or served cold in a salad. You can use it as a substitute for a gluten-free porridge, served hot with milk, dried fruit and a drizzle of honey. It also makes a welcome addition to weekend brunch dishes like this simple yet satisfying Spicy Tomato and Egg recipe.