Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is my absolute favourite grain, which is technically not even a grain, but a SEED that gets eaten like a grain, so it is often lumped into that food category!
When dried, quinoa looks like a teeny-tiny seed. It can come in a few different colours- white, red or black, but as far as I can tell the flavours are the same and as far as I know, the nutritional value is the same no matter the colour.
When quinoa is cooked, the outer germ surrounding the seed breaks open to form a crunchy coil or tail, while the inner grain becomes soft and translucent. The texture makes it fun to eat, and I like to mix the different colours to make a real party on my plate.
Why do I love quinoa so much? Well, what is there NOT to love about this amazing pseudo grain?
1. Firstly, it has an amazing nutritional profile. I don’t know many other foods that:
- Contain all eight amino acids to make it a complete protein
- Are high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium & vitamin E
- Are high in fibre
- Are gluten-free and easy to digest
- Strengthen the kidneys, heart, and lungs
Quinoa is like the perfect superfood!
2. Quinoa is versatile. I love a food that can be prepared in many different ways. and is great sweet or savory. Quinoa can be reheated with a splash of soy or nut milk for breakfast porridge; you can add dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon for a sweet treat. Add finely chopped raw vegetables and dressing for a cooling salad or add chopped cooked root vegetables for a warming side dish. There are endless options!
3. Quinoa is easy to prepare. It takes less than 15 minutes to cook a cup of quinoa, making it is super-fast meal to make. Just make sure you always rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking it to wash off the naturally occurring saponins that can make the taste a little bitter if not washed off.
4. Quinoa is tasty. The flavour of quinoa is mild and almost nutty in its taste. This makes it an interesting grain to include in your meals.
5. It gives you energy. Quinoa is known for its ability to increase endurance when eating it. It has been a staple food for the South American Incas for thousands of years, and the Incas could run long distances on the high altitude plains of the Andes Mountains through eating quinoa.
6. It is gluten-free. I try to avoid gluten as much as I possibly can. It never makes me feel good when I eat something with gluten. Quinoa is an excellent grain for people who want to go gluten-free and who are sick of eating rice all the time.
So there you have it! Quinoa is tasty, versatile, easy, fun and healthy. Why not give it a try this week sometime? If you need a recipe to get you inspired, then why not try my Quinoa Fiesta.
I’d love to know whether you have tried quinoa before, and if so, what did you think of it? How do you like to enjoy your quinoa? Do you have a favourite recipe?