Ever since I discovered Quinoa I feel in love. This little South American grain is so delicious, versatile and healthy! Quinoa (keen-wah) is extremely high in protein, in fact it has just as much as 4 eggs. It has less carbohydrates and higher mineral content then the rest of the grains. It also contains all the essential amino acids that we need. Only one cup has over your daily requirements for manganese, magnesium and iron. However the best thing about this grain is that its packed full of fiber, three times then the other grains .
Its also gluten free, which is how I discovered quinoa a few years ago. I had leaky gut syndrome and needed to find alternatives to wheat and other sources of gluten. I also had a mild intolerance to rice, so for me quinoa filled the spot perfectly. It’s really quick to cook and can substitute pretty much anything you can make with rice, including stir-fry, casseroles, stews and sweets.
So why isn’t this ancient grain more popular then rice? Well when the Spanish came to South America they didn’t respect the Inca’s super grain. They thought it was peasant food and decided that rice, corn and potato’s was better.
In Australia its becoming more mainstream, as it begins to creep into the major supermarkets in the health food section. Even some Australian nutritionists, celebrity fitness trainers and chefs are starting to promote it, but not enough that the average person knows what it is. If your in Australia, you can buy organic white/red/black quinoa in Woolworths, Coles and Healthfood shops. The colour doesn’t change the taste or the nutritional property’s, so its up to you what you choose. A few years back I decided to stuff our Christmas turkey with black quinoa and walnuts. Probably not the best colour, as it turned my family off the stuffing. According to my chef brother, I ‘ruined Christmas’.
When ever I cook quinoa I always make some extra to keep in the fridge, to add to salads and porridge. Last night I made the Stuffed Eggplant Rolls with Quinoa, but this morning I’m making my favourite breakfast treat.
Quinoa Porridge with Mixed Nuts, Seeds and Sultanas (vegan, gluten free, soy free)
4-5 tablespoons of cooked quinoa
2-3 tablespoons mixed nuts & seeds
1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
maple syrup or other natural sweetner
1/2 tbsp sultanas
1. Take a small pan and dry roast the nuts and seeds on the stove. Once they are a little brown and have an aroma take off the heat.
2. Take a small pot and add quinoa and enough milk to cover it and turn on medium heat.
3. Add cinnamon and sweetner and take off the heat once it comes to a lite boil.
4. Serve in a bowl and top with nuts & seeds and sultanas.
 Lieberman, D. & O’Connor, A. 2010, The 10 Things you Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them.