Today marks the annual celebration and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Although Food Day is focused on North America, its values and mission can be transferred anywhere across the world. On this special day, I thought I wanted to share some great information on Quinoa and a delicious and healthy ‘real food’ recipe for you to cook and enjoy at home. I hope you love it – my husband has even moved beyond the fact that it is super good for us (and therefore must taste like crap) & I did hear him mutter the words, “it actually tastes really really good”! I think he may have been preempting the pinch your nose technique in order to get it down. I am pleased to say he is convinced and it turns out that enjoying quinoa each week has not made him any less ‘man-ly’. Was he picturing hippie pants and sandals after a plate of quinoa?……..I am not sure. I am just pleased to report that the whole family loves this dish. It’s definitely a keeper!
A little info on Quinoa ‘the super food’:
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is touted about as a ‘super food’ – big call and can make you feel a little weary but I assure you, it is!
Quinoa is a highly nutritious gluten-free grain. This ancient grain contains more protein than any other grain, with a good balance of all 8 essential amino acids, making it a good choice for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in fibre and has a low-GI, beneficial for keeping blood sugar levels stable. Quinoa is an ideal grain for diabetics and coeliac. Quinoa is one of the most nutrient rich grains around, being a good source of iron, needed to transport oxygen around the body, B vitamins for energy, calcium and magnesium for healthy nervous system function, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
There are three main varieties of quinoa available, white or sweet, red, and black – sometimes also sold together in a tri-colour pack. Quinoa has a lovely fluffy consistency, with a slight nutty flavour.
To prepare quinoa make sure you rinse the grain well first to wash off its bitter coating and dry the grains as much as possible. Bring 2 cups of water to boil and add 1 cup of quinoa. Reduce heat to low, and cook covered for 10-15 minutes, or until tender but still slightly crunchy.
Quinoa is delicious served cold, tossed through a salad, or hot, served with a stir-fry, stew or casserole. You can use quiona similar to how you use rice. Also try adding it to soups, frittatas or vegetarian patties. Quinoa flour can be used for baking gluten-free cakes, muffins, cookies, pancakes and breads. You should be able to find quinoa in the health food section of supermarkets or from health food stores.
The best quinoa salad recipe that didn’t take the ‘man’ out of my man
2 cups rocket, washed and dried (optional)
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tbs pine nuts
1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 extra tablespoon of evo for later
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Spring onions, finely chopped
1 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Pomegranate seeds
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
Coriander leaves, to garnish
Wash your Quinoa really well drain and air dry for at least 20 minutes – skipping this can lead to mushy quinoa. If time allows, dry the quinoa in a frying pan and heat through, stirring, for a few minutes. This also brings out more of quinoa’s wonderful nutty flavour.
Bring 2 cups of water to the boil and then add your dried quinoa.
Reduce the heat and cover (I leave a small gap with the lid) and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
Spread your cooked quinoa out on a platter to cool and rest before fluffing up with a fork.
Cook the onion gently in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until soft and smelling sweet.
Place all other ingredients in a bowl with the exception of the extra tablespoon of olive oil and coriander. Combine well and then present on a platter for all to share garnished with coriander and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!
n.b – You may note there is no rocket (or much goats cheese left for that matter) in the quinoa pictured. There certainly was the night before when we enjoyed it straight after assembling. What is pictured is the salad that was left the day after (sometimes I cannot the resist my overwhelming & pig-like appetite and therefore not always time to photograph a dish before tucking in). As you can see, the leftover salad stored beautifully and I just added more coriander to garnish when enjoying the following day. I certainly wouldn’t store with any leftover salad leaves – add them as you need and desire.