Quinoa – One of the World’s Greatest Superfoods
Quinoa would have to be one of my favourite ingredients, I cook it quite regularly, especially as I experiment with it more and more. It’s quick, easy, versatile and not to mention, an absolute superfood!
But what actually is quinoa?
Pronounced ‘keen-wah’, quinoa has long been a staple ingredient, dating back to pre-Columbian civilisations in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia.
The part of the quinoa plant that we eat is the seed, it’s not a grain. It grows from a plant in the ‘goosefoot family’, which also produces vegetables such as chard and spinach. So although we think of it as a grain, it is in fact a seed.
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, containing all nine essential amino acids, which makes it perfect for a vegetarian and vegan diet.
- Quinoa is naturally gluten-free.
- It contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains
- It has a low glycemic index rating, therefore stabilising your blood sugar levels
Which quinoa should I buy?
I’ve read that there are hundreds of different varieties of quinoa, but there are three main types: white, red, and black. White quinoa has the most neutral, easy-to-love flavour. I’d recommend starting here if you’ve never tried quinoa before. Red and black quinoa both are a little stronger and earthier in flavour than white quinoa. They’re fun in salads or other dishes where their colour really pops!
What is more nutritious, white or red or black?
After doing a bit of research, it appears there is no significant difference between red, white and black quinoa, although white quinoa tends to cook up fluffier. Red and black quinoa have a crunchier texture and the grains don’t stick together as much, which makes them ideal for salads.
How to cook fluffy, tasty quinoa?
First of all, rinse your quinoa under cold water. The general rule of thumb when cooking quinoa is 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water, or you can use stock to add more flavour. It does pay to keep an eye on it though as I do find this can vary so check the water and the texture of the grain a few minutes before the end. If the quinoa is done to your liking, drain it. If not, cook it a bit longer, adding a drizzle more water or stock if required. And if you have a few extra minutes, allow it to steam off the heat with the lid on for 5 minutes – this plumps up the kernels beautifully.
Cooked quinoa looks like it has a little curly “string” coming out of it. This does not mean you’ve overcooked it, it’s just the seed’s germ.
What are some ways you can use it?
I mainly use it as an alternative to rice, or in salads, as a breakfast porridge or even in a chocolate brownie.
Do you want to get your kids to try something new while adding a superfood to their diet? Try these Quinoa and Beef Balls w Satay Sauce & Stir-fried Vegetables. It’s a meal that can be whipped up in less than 35 minutes and absolutely loved by everyone. (This recipe comes out of the Wicked Wellbeing Kitchen Club – The Four Week Meal Plan for Busy Mothers).