With the lightly bitter taste, nuttiness and the little white curls that form around the grains make quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) a grain that’s feast for all senses. Vegans embrace quinoa as a credibly nutritious substitute for meat for its high protein content (protein problem solved for vegans J). Wait, there’s more, unusual among grains it also contains all those pesky, yet essential, amino acids that can prove so elusive to vegans and are needed for good health.
Also read: Quinoa and Lentil Loaf
Not long quinoa was hard to find and was only available at health food stores. Gone are those days, these tiny pearls are packaged for still a pricy shelf item in most supermarkets. There’s several varieties available of this “miracle grain of the Andes”, my family can stomach the white variety with much more pleasure and ease. The red and brown varieties feel a bit heavy and have an intense grainy flavour for some reason.
Quinoa is cooked much like white rice in about 20 minutes however refrigerates well for 2-3 days. Great in salads, soups, porridge and casseroles, the world has now diversified its use to pancakes, breakfast cereals and desserts. Here’s a quinoa salad recipe that you will love.
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- 1 cup (150gm) quinoa, rinsed, drained
- Olive oil spray
- 1 medium eggplant (aubergine) cut into 1inch thick slices, sprinkle with salt to prevent oxidation
- 2 cucumbers chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled, finely chopped
- 40g (1/4 cup) black currants
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
- In a large saucepan combine water and quinoa and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed appx for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat a large chargrill or non-stick frying pan on high. Spray lightly with oil. Cook the eggplant slices for 4-5 minutes or until flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh with a soup spoon and form into a bonbon using another spoon.
- Add the onion, cucumber, onion, black currants and coriander to the quinoa.
- Whisk the lemon juice, maple syrup, oil and paprika in a small bowl until well combined. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture. Season with pepper and toss to combine.
- Served with eggplant bonbon placed on the top and tomatoes around the side. Sprinkle extra lemon juice.
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