Quinoa is an ancient food and is called a superfood for its tremendous health benefits. Quinoa was sacred to the Incas and even today, is often referred to as, "the mother of all grains." It's perfect for anyone with gluten intolerances and food sensitivities as it is wheat free and easy on the digestive system. Plus, it's easy to cook, versatile and affordable, making it one of my kitchen staples and all-time favorite superfoods.
So what is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a seed; it's higher in amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients than most other grains and makes a fabulous alternative to wheat-based grains. It's full of high quality protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B and fiber.
Here are three ways that you can start to get the goodness of quinoa into your body and life ...
1. Sprout it.
Sprouted quinoa is a great way to enjoy this superfood. Quick and easy to sprout, it makes a perfect salad!
You can make a healthy quinoa salad by soaking the seeds overnight and then leaving them to sprout in a warm room.
Simply soak the quinoa for 8 hours and then leave in a warm room to sprout for 12 hours, rinsing 2-3 times, or as you remember! Once sprouted, add in fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumber, seasonings, lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil, garlic and any other fresh vegetables or sea vegetables.
2. Drink it.
Quinoa milk is dairy free, easy to digest and tastes delicious, either poured over cereal or used in smoothies, shakes, or even cakes and sweets. Quinoa milk adds a touch of creaminess, and is free of flavorings, colorings, preservatives, additives and is a good dairy-free alternative to milk.
You can buy it online, at Whole Foods or at a health food shop, or even have a go at making your own! If you are looking for an alternative to soy milk, try it in your next latte or cappuccino.
3. Cook it for breakfast.
Quinoa is very simple to cook, easy to digest and it has a delicious 'nutty' taste.
Cook quinoa (just like couscous, pasta or rice), by covering it with approximately twice as much water as quinoa, on high until it boils. Then simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the grain is transparent and you can see a little white tail. Place in a sieve and rinse well with water. Add a dash of sea salt and a generous amount of olive oil or butter.
I like to eat quinoa as a side dish, with curry or dhal, or as a salad served with generous amounts of avocado, pomegranate, goat cheese, drizzled with a zesty green pesto or a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.
In addition to savory dishes, quinoa also makes a satisfying (gluten-free) breakfast dish. Start with some quinoa flakes and mix in cinnamon, seeds, such as linseeds, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds and other goodies you have on hand such as goji berries, fresh berries, bananas, coconut and carob. This is great with almond milk, coconut milk or fresh fruit juice. You can cook it and enjoy it hot (like porridge), eat it immediately or soak overnight (like bircher muesli).
Any of these breakfast ideas would give you a nutritious, delicious and gluten-free boost to your day.
Try some quinoa today!