Quinoa… It’s good for your right??
Everyone seems to know this but doesn’t know why, nor what to do with it.. It’s fast become one of my favourite foods, partly because it makes me feel like I’m doing something right when I cook with it, and partly because it’s so versatile..
So what is it? Quinoa is a seed that is high in amino acids, fibre, magnesium and a host of other wonderful things.. It comes in black, red and white varieties and all have similar health benefits. It doesn’t have much of a flavour to be honest, but soaks up whatever you put it with, and has a nice texture and bite to it.
Amino acids are what make up protein and there are 9 amino acids that are classed as ‘Essential’ because our body can’t make them – and these are all in quinoa – so if you’ve heard it referred to as a ‘complete’ protein this is why.. Not many other grains/vegetarian options have this profile – most have at least one missing and thus food combining comes into play – but I digress.. (and will post about this soon).
So what do you do with it??
It is really easy to cook, only taking about 15 minutes. One cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water is the ratio needed (obviously extrapolate that out depending on how much you need). Let it simmer in the pot until absorbed, or be lazy like i am now and make it in the rice cooker… Just fluff it up at the end and it will be perfect!
When made like this it can be substituted for the rice in a stir fry, for couscous in a salad, or eaten my favourite way – recipe to follow! :)
Another option – and apparently my sisters favourite – (I asked her what she had to say about quinoa tonight) and she said: Its good in soups. And it certainly is.. we always throw some in (say quarter to half a cup) while its bubbling away and it will help thicken the soup slightly, add some protein, as well as a great texture.
It also makes a great breakfast option – stay with me, I know we have been talking savoury – but you can cook it with milk (or cook it with water as above), then add coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk – you get the drift, along with berries, nuts, compotes etc and it will keep you nourished and full through the morning..
When grown it naturally forms a bitter coating, so make sure you wash it prior to cooking – we forgot once and had to throw out the whole pot full :(
As you can see from the photo below it becomes somewhat translucent with a white little ‘tail’ ( or more technically: germ) kinda thing wrapped around..
Here is a recent salad where I added lentils as well, and chopped up fresh herbs and salad.. that recipe to come soon too :)
Whilst writing I came across an interesting site about the health benefits associated with quinoa – and how it is helpful to migraine sufferers, and its role in reducing cardiac disease.. if you’re interested have a read..
How do you use quinoa?