Quinoa - Don't Believe What You Read!
Our in house Dietitian Charlotte Miller gives you the lowdown on one of the most popular grains of recent years, quinoa.
How are you going keeping up with any news on whether grains are good for us or not? If you are tuned into any kind of social media groups that promote food fads you will hear the constant rumble that grains are ‘bad’ and making us sick followed by the news of the latest grain superfood will help you live forever. My advice? Tune out of all of this. Grains won’t make you sick (or even give you ‘brain fog’) nor will they let you live forever, but there are many other reasons why we should be including a variety of grains in our food every day.
If you are following a low FODMAP or gluten free diet, grains can be challenging as there are so many that need to be avoided but instead of feeling frustrated by this, focus on the grains you CAN eat as there are still a few left for you.
Quinoa was the buzzword only a few years ago, meaning it suddenly appeared on shelves across Australia. The benefit of its superfood status meant this previously hard to find grain was now something that was accessible to most Australians. While the concept of superfoods is purely marketing, quinoa is nonetheless a great food to be including in our diets on a regular basis.
A few nutrition facts
- A complete protein – this means it has all the essential amino acids we need – something that is otherwise reserved for animal proteins. This is a great food for vegetarian and vegans to help obtain your essential amino acids.
- Gluten Free
- A good carbohydrate source but with a low GI
- High in fibre – this is really important if you are following a low FODMAP diet as many miss out on getting enough fibre
- Heaps of B vitamins and vitamin E as well as iron, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium
How to prepare it:
- Quinoa contains the natural bitter substance called saponin – this helps to ward of insects and pests prior to harvesting. It also means we should give it a wash before using it. Todays product has often been washed before packaging but it doesn’t hurt to give it an extra rinse.
- Cooking suggestions often say it takes 15 minutes to cook – in my experience its more like 10-12 minutes before it gets soggy. Of course, this all depends on your preference.
- Bring water to the boil and add quinoa. As with rice, quinoa expands a lot so don’t underestimate this and use a pot that is too small - quinoa that boils over is really hard to clean from the pot and stove top.
- Use a very fine strainer – if your strainer is too large you will watch your hard work pour straight down the sink.
- Quinoa and lime crusted flathead with roasted baby potatoes and mint peas
- Coconut, banana and pistachio quinoa porridge
- Quinoa falafel wraps with pickled vegetables, chilli and garlic sauce
- Slow roasted pumpkin, sticky baked eggplant, quinoa and tahini salad
- Roast chicken stuffed with cranberry, walnut, garlic, and lemon quinoa
Or for the more adventurous check out Donna Hays recipe for turkey, kimchi and quinoa rice paper rolls here or her quinoa sushi with spicy salmon and avocado here. Heaps of other excellent and adventurous quinoa recipes can also be found here.
And don’t forget you can order We Feed You's very own ready-made Spicy Pulled Pork with Quinoa, Blackbeans and Sweetcorn here as pictured above.