First things first people, it’s pronounced ‘keen-wah’. I’d recommend learning that… you don’t want to do what I did and embarrass yourself by asking ‘hi, where’s the keen-knowa’ (doh!).
This grain is a native of South America, where lots of magical super foods seem to originate from, in fact it was known as ‘the gold of the Inca’s’ as it gave them that certain ‘X Factor’ while in battle! Let me run through its qualities:
- It’s gluten-free (unlike couscous)- so great for celiacs or anyone with a gluten intolerance
- It is extremely high in protein- great for the vegetarians among us and those looking for a healthy energy boost.
- It contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains and is also high in magnesium, B2 and iron.
- For convenience sake, it cooks the fastest of all grains
- It’s getting really popular lately and can now be found in most supermarkets- along side the couscous or else in the health food aisle.
- It’s bleedin delish!
So how does one cook this little miracle grain?!
- Spend time washing the quinoa- this loosens up the outer coating of saponin, which can give a bitter taste if not removed
- Transfer the quinoa to boiling water. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 12/ 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and drain the water, fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve.
It’s great to eat with any salad, it can be used to make a gut friendly breakie and even a desert by mixing it with different oils and milks. Warning, it can be quite bland if not prepared correctly so when preparing pick recipes which have lots of herbs and spices added.
Here’s a yummy recipe for Halloumi and Quinoa Salad to get you started:
Small red onion finely sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
Sliced halloumi cheese
Handful parsley leaves
Pitta bread and natural yogurt, to serve
- Heat the (fan) oven to 200C. Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season. Roast for 25 minutes until the edges are all frizzled.
- Put the onion, vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil and cumin in a bowl with lots of seasoning and toss.
- Follow my above instructions to cook the quinoa
- Then toss the quinoa in with the onion and dressing.
- Grill the halloumi until golden (try and not eat the cheese at this stage!)
- Toss the parsley and tomatoes with the quinoa mix then top with slices of halloumi.
- Serve with pitta bread and yogurt and bask in the glory of creating a fast, delicious and healthy meal!
Some more fun quinoa recipes: