Why you should get to know Quinoa
Not a common item in most kitchens, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is usually considered to be a whole grain like rice or barley, but it’s actually a seed. It can be prepared like whole grains and has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture (it’s a bit like couscous).
Gluten and cholesterol-free, it is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and iron.
Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.
You can get it in most health food shops and I’ve also seen it in Supervalu too. It also comes puffed or in flakes if you are into making your own muesli for breakfast.
Step outside your comfort zone and try something totally different. You never know – you might even love it.
Try out this recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:
Quinoa stir-fry with kale chilli and nuts
This makes a tasty, quick meal when hot, but it’s also good packed into a container and eaten cold at lunchtime.
100g almonds or cashews
5 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled, halved and finely sliced
1 small red chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely sliced
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
140g kale (or chard), shredded
150ml vegetable stock
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soy sauce, optional
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place the almonds or cashews on a baking sheet and bake until slightly golden and fragrant, stirring once, about six to eight minutes. Leave to cool and chop very roughly.
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet.
While it’s cooking, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onions and fry until softened and beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Throw in the kale and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the kale is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the quinoa, remaining oil, lemon zest and juice, and stir to combine.
Finally, add the nuts, season to taste and serve hot or cold, with a splash of soy sauce, if you like.