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Food for thought: Grains – Quinoa

Food for thought: Grains – Quinoa

by FoodMaestro | 16 March 2016

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”, has its roots high up in the Andes. Quinoa is edible seeds of a unique graincrop, classified as a ‘pseudocereal’ and is not a member of the true grass family like most other grains. After harvest, the seeds must be processed to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins.

Quinoa exists in many various sizes and colours, the most common are black, white, red however you can even find them in blue. The grain is tiny, bead-shaped and has a slightly bitter flavour with a firm texture. The seeds are in general cooked the same way as rice, when cooked they grow up to four times its size and open up to release little white curls as they soften.  Foodies around world love it for its high protein and nutrient content and its versatility for use in savoury and sweet dishes.

Why choose Quinoa?

Given that it´s easily prepared and nutrient-rich, make a change in your supper and add quinoa instead of pasta. Quinoa is a fantastic wheat-free, gluten-free grain option. On top of that quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids including the elusive lysine and isoleucine acids which most other grains lack. It´s naturally high in dietary fibre and therefore a slowly digested carbohydrate making it a good low-GI option that is easy on your stomach.

Allergic or special diet, can I eat it?

Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the grains and is gluten free making it a fantastic choice for those with grain allergies or coeliac disease. Just like buckwheat, quinoa has a superb amino acid profile with all the nine essential acids making it a complete protein source – and of course it is a perfect grain for vegans too.

In addition, after a period of controversy, in December 2013, the Orthodox Union, the world's largest kosher certification agency, announced it would begin certifying quinoa as kosher for Passover. [Wikipedia: Nemes, Hody (December 23, 2013). "Quinoa Ruled Kosher for Passover". Forward. Retrieved 2014-02-07.]

Where to source?

You can actually find quinoa in almost any supermarket. There are lots of products on FoodMaestro containing quinoa - from baby foods, cereals, breads, salads, savoury snack pots and veggie burgers to sweet treats. Use the FoodMaestro app to discover new products. 


Try something new!

There is such a variety of what you can do with quinoa, from eating it plain to making quinoa chocolate cookies or quinoa bars or maybe even some healthy quinoa pancakes for breakfast.

We had a go at making these quick and easy No-bake quinoa bars  

Other recipes we like: