Superfood Profile: Quinoa Benefits & Recipes

Superfood Profile: Quinoa Benefits & Recipes

Learn about quinoa benefits for you health, our favourite quinoa recipes and what quinoa actually is and where it comes from.

Quinoa is a very "on-trend" superfood with sales of the ancient grain sky rocketing in recent years as celebrities, nutritionists and influential personalities around the world catch onto this powerful protein-rich superfood. As well as being adorned with the ever-popular "superfood" badge, quinoa is also gluten-free meaning it has gained extra popularity from the ever growing amount of consumers who are avoiding gluten and looking for alternatives.

What is Quinoa?

Pronounced "keen-wah"; the quinoa as we know and eat it, is actually the seed of the quinoa grain crop much to popular belief that it is a grain. Quinoa is a dark, leafy green plant with purple or green flowers arising from the top, which contain the seeds. There are 3 types of quinoa:

  • White Quinoa
  • Red Quinoa
  • Black Quinoa

Quinoa

Quinoa has formed part of the staple diet for many South American countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Columbia and Equador. And to this day, most of the commercial production of quinoa has remained largely in South America as the plant thrives in those climates. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 the "International Year of Quinoa" to recognize the efforts of the Andean people in preserving quinoa as a source of food for generations to come and to highlight the pivotal role quinoa can play in providing food security and nutrition for poverty globally.

Quinoa Benefits

  • Quinoa is a protein-rich superfoodand contains all 9 essential amino acids – including lysine and isoleucine
  • Quinoa is high in dietary fibre and is a low-GI, slowly digested carbohydrate
  • Quinoa contains a host of vitamins and minerals such as iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and vitamin E
  • Quinoa is s versatile - can you be used as a substitute as a gluten free cereal, rice and bread alternative, is perfect for salads, soups, cookies and more!

Vitality 4 Life's Signature Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa & Kale Breakfast Smoothie

Qionoa Kale Smoothie
Quinoa in a smoothie?! Yes yes yes! Packed full of protein, quionoa smoothies will give your body the nourishment it needs to kick start the day and give you the types of energy that will last!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 tsp. honey

Method:

Blend all ingredients together with a high powered blender for around 30 seconds or on the smoothie setting. A high powered blender will help to completely break down both the quinoa and leafy greens leafy no chunks or fibrous pieces behind.

Coconut & Cranberry Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa porridge is such a great gluten-free and dairy free alternative to oats on a cold Winter's day! The beauty of quinoa porridge is you can completely change the recipe depending on what is seasonal and your mood! Try adding fresh fruit instead of dried for a more summery option. If you would prefer a finer or smoother porridge, we recommend blending the raw quinoa before soaking or cooking. This will result in a super smooth and creamy porridge and is usually more appealing to the kids!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp. honey

Method:

  • 1. Soak quinoa in cold water (just enough to cover) over night in the fridge. If you don't have time to presoak the quinoa, simply add to 2 cups of simmering water for 12-15 minutes (or until liquid is absorbed)
  • 2. Add pre-soaked quinoa to a saucepan along with all other ingredients
  • 3. Heat gently until all the coconut milk has been absorbed

Quinoa & Pumpkin Salad

Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups quinoa
  • 1 pumpkin
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 generous handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 Spanish or red onion
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 220ºC
  • 2 Add quinoa to a saucepan and add 6 cups water. Allow to soak whist you handle the pumpkin…
  • 3. Remove skin and chop pumpkin and beetroot into cubes (removing all seeds). Dry bake in the oven for around 20 mins or until golden. Remove and allow to cool.
  • 4. Heat the quinoa the same as you would rice (heat until boiling then reduce to simmer), until all water has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Allow to cool
  • 5. Add to a large salad bowl the now cooled quinoa, pumpkin, beetroot, baby spinach and red onion – add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and lightly toss.
  • 6. Toast pine nuts in a frying pan until golden, then add to salad

Dehydrated Quinoa Crackers

Using a Food Dehydrator allows you to creates healthy bread and cracker alternatives from seeds, nuts and grains. Quinoa crackers are perfect for those who are gluten intolerant and still want to eat yummy crackers, pizzas and bread! The thicker the consistency when you spread the cracker onto the non-stick sheet, the chewier and more "break like" the consistency will be in the finished product.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup of water (for blending)
  • 1/2 cup of flax seed
  • 1 cup of chia seed
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of basil
  • 1/2 cup of basil
  • 1/2 cup of parsley
  • 1/2 clove of garlic

Method:

  • 1. Soak quinoa in cold water (just enough to cover) over night in the fridge. If you don't have time to presoak the quinoa, simply add to 2 cups of simmering water for 12-15 minutes (or until liquid is absorbed)
  • 2. Soak chia seeds in 2 cups of water for at least 20 minutes until gelatinous.
  • 3. Add all ingredients into the blender, including the soaked chia and quinoa and blend into a thick paste
  • 4. Spread mixture onto a dehydrator non-stick sheet (you can use baking paper as another alternative). You want about 8mm thickness for cracker consistency.
  • 5. Dehydrate at 40 C for 8 hours turning half way through. Break or cut up into cracker squares and store in an airtight container

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Mahli Jeffreson