Cooking with Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah), can be a challenge at the best of times. I recently introduced my housemate Rosie to this super grain and she openly voiced her frustration with the mess it made in our kitchen. ‘Nadine, this Quinoa stuff better be good because it is literally all throughout our kitchen!’ she said! All kitchen mess set aside, this grain is unbelievable and a star ingredient in my kitchen at the moment, in more ways than one; thanks to Rosie’s mess! hehe.
Quinoa is a wonder grain that thrives in high altitudes, making it well suited for the famous terraced fields in ancient South American cities such as Machu Pichu. Native South American populations have cultivated Quinoa for thousands of years, eating it to supplement their diets of corn and potatoes! Today Quinoa has moved its way into the western world and is taking it by storm appearing more frequently on restaurant menu’s. It is no wonder why as nutritionally, Quinoa might be considered a supergrain-although it is not really a grain, but the seed of a leafy plant that’s distantly related to spinach. Quinoa has excellent reserves of protein and unlike other grains, is not missing the amino acid lysine, so the protein is more complete. Quinoa also offers more iron than other grains and contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well as other B vitamins: B6, niacin, and thiamin. It is also a good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, and has some folate (folic acid). See below for a simple and delicious meal I have come up with starring Quinoa.
QUINOA SUMMER SALAD
What do I need?
To serve 1
1/4 cup Quinoa (red or white)
1/4 cup sweet potato
3 button mushrooms
1 handful of spinach
2 tablespoons sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon tamari sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
What do I do?
To cook the Quinoa – place the Quinoa in 1/2 cup of water and bring to the boil. Wait until the little ‘tails’ appear out of the Quinoa seeds, this will indicate when the Quinoa is cooked.
Steam the vegetables.
Prepare the dressing – squeeze 1 orange and mix it with the Tamari sauce and Sesame Oil.
Once the Quinoa is cooked & the vegetables are lightly steamed (still a bit of crunch to them), place in a bowl and mix through the dressing. Top the dish with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.