I have been intrigued for the longest time. Some people in my instagram feed ( such as @cattylicious and @torihaschka) seem to be living on Quinoa and the pictures always look so appetising. So I finally decided that it is about time to find out what all the fuss about Quinoa (pronounced kinwa) is about. ’The mother grain’, as it was named by the Incas who cultivated quinoa already hundreds of years ago, originates in Southern America.
It’s another of these superfoods (yawwwwn, or maybe not?). Uncooked, it looks pretty similar to couscous, just a bit rounder. But don’t be fooled, it is not a real cereal and has no relation to the likes of wheat or rice. Rather, it is a ‘pseudocereal’, with the unlikely relatives beetroot and spinach. Also, different from ‘real’ cereals, quinoa is a complete protein source, meaning that it contains all essential aminoacids, particularly lysine and isoleucine, that are missing from ‘real’ cereal.
Its health benefit doesn’t stop there. In fact, quinoa is apparently so amazing, that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Well that seems a bit over the top, even if there is evidence that Quinoa has (1) anti-oxidative properties (2) is anti-inflammatory and is (3) rich in dietary fibres. In addition it is gluten-free, so a good substitute for the growing numbers of people suffering from celiac disease.
Wash it before cooking and then use it basically the same way you would use rice or couscous. I think it’s delicious, quite neutral in taste but of very pleasant consistency and if you think how healthy it is, it tastes even better!
I created this stunning salad, basically an amalgamation of the most healthy ingredients which tastes so fresh and delicious and gives you your 5 a day at the same time. It’s a great starter, works as main, and when you make enough you can take it for work the next day. Here we go:
QUINOA with AVOCADO, POMEGRANATE and PISTACHIOS
Serves: 2 mains or 4 starters
Preparation/Cooking Time: 30 min but allow another 30-45 minutes for the quinoa to cool.
- 1 cup of Quinoa (I use our coffee cups, measures about 150 g I guess)
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1/3 cucumber
- 2 spring onions
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 ripe pomegranate
- a handful pistachios
- 1 sprig of coriander
- 1 sprig of mint
- optional: firm tofu
for the dressing:
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp of the pomegranate juice that comes out when you peel it
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- optional: 1 tsp of za’tar
- chilli, salt, pepper to taste