Delicious and so nutritious, quinoa is the simple staple that everyone should have in their pantry cupboard.
What is it?
Quinoa, pronounced ‘keenwa’, was originally grown by the Incas in South America, thousands of years ago. Quinoa is actually the seed of a leafy plant, distantly related to spinach. While it might look like couscous, it is classified as a ‘pseudo-cereal’, not a grain. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and a good source of fibre, which is great news for vegetarian and gluten-free diets. It’s also a source of iron and zinc.
What does it taste like?
Quinoa has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour with an ‘al dente’ texture, which combines well with meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
How do you use it?
Quinoa is ideal as a base for warm or cold salads. It can also be used in place of rice or couscous to accompany curries, or as a side dish on its own. Once cooked, it can be added to casseroles, soups and stews to add extra bulk.
Where can I buy it?
You’ll find it located in the health food, international or rice aisle of your local supermarket. It is also available at most health food and organic grocers.
How do you cook it?
Step 1 Rinse 1 cup quinoa, then place in a pan. Pour over 2 cups water (you can also use stock, or water flavoured with herbs or lemon zest) and stir. Cover, bring to the boil.
Step 2 Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until all water is absorbed. This will take about 12–15 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Serve hot or cold.