First things first – quinoa is pronounced ‘keen-wah’. Now we can talk quinoa! This little grain is bursting with nutrients, so it tastes great and does good too.
Called a ‘super crop’ by the United Nations, quinoa is gluten free and is a complete protein; it contains all nine of the essential amino acids needed for our health.
But how can you cook it? Try our simple quinoa recipes below to help super-boost your daily diet.
Sweet Rhubarb, Apricot and Quinoa Stew
Good for: upping your calcium levels
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 5 sticks of rhubarb, sliced
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 2–3cm cubes (no need to peel)
- 15-20 dried apricots
- 200g quinoa
- 900ml water
- 3 tbsp raw honey
- Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Salt and black pepper
- Grind the spices with a pestle and mortar to release the fragrance, then pick out the cardamom shells. Heat the oil in a large pan. Stir in the ground spices and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir into the spices for about 2 minutes. Add the rhubarb, butternut squash and apricots; mix well.
- Add the quinoa and water; cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and the squash is soft. Stir in the honey, top with parsley, season and serve. One serving of rhubarb contains as much calcium as one glass of milk – perfect for helping to build strong bones.
Taken from Superfoods by Julie Montagu (Quadrille, £18.99).
Quinoa and Chargrilled Tomato Salad
Good for: a meat-free protein hit
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced into rings
- 1/2 tsp ras el hanout spice mix
- 30g sultanas
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 250g quinoa
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 40g toasted flaked almonds
- Large handful of rocket
- Small handful chopped coriander
- Small handful chopped parsley
- Small handful chopped mint
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large wide pan and gently cook the onions and ras el hanout for 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and caramelised. Remove from the heat and stir in the sultanas.
- Heat a griddle pan until hot, mix the tomatoes with 1 tbsp oil and griddle for about 3 minutes until the skins are charred. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes until tender, drain thoroughly and tip into a large bowl to cool.
- Once cooled, stir through the onion mix, cumin, garlic, almonds, rocket, coriander, parsley, mint, vinegar and remaining oil. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes and serve.
Kale and quinoa cakes with mango salsa
Good for: A scrumptious and creative appetiser to impress your guests
For the cakes:
- 150g quinoa
- 500g hot vegetable stock
- 100g kale leaves, chopped
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 medium eggs
- 50g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Salad leaves (optional)
For the salsa:
- 1 mango, flesh only, diced
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander
- 2 limes, juice squeezed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Combine the Quinoa and hot stock in a deep saucepan. Allow to simmer for around 20 minutes on a low heat, until the liquid has been absorbed, before leaving to cool. Bring a further saucepan of water to the boil and simmer the Kale until cooked through, for around 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Allow a frying pan to reach medium heat, adding 1tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped onion and allow to brown, before adding the garlic and allow it to cook.
- Combine the quinoa, kale, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and tomato in a bowl; seasoning well. Heat a shallow frying pan to a low heat, adding 2tbsp olive oil. Then gently form your mixture into eight round patties, frying each on either side in the pan, until crisp and golden.
- To make the mango salsa; combine all the ingredients a bowl, stirring and mixing well. If you wish to create a thinner and less chunky paste, gently crush and mash the ingredients. Place the salsa in a small pot, on a plate beside your cooked patties and decorate with the salad leaves.
Looking for more meat-free ideas? Try our Free From section. Or discover more healthy ingredients with secret body benefits in our recipe collection.
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This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies