This super simple recipe is made from store-cupboard ingredients making it ideal for a quick supper dish.
These quantities are enough to serve one person for a quick supper dish but can easily be increased to feed more when required.
If you do have some left over, it is great served cold as a packed lunch for the next day.
This filling dish has a lovely cheesy, nutty flavor. I will be adding more quinoa recipes in the future so watch this space.
Often mistakenly called a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of a herb-like plant, from the Goosefoot family.
Although recently introduced to the western diet it is not a new crop. It was grown by the Incas in the South American Andes many thousands of years ago!
Due to its high nutritional value they called it the Mother Grain and it was a staple part of their diet. Quinoa was ideally suited to the Andean region as it didn't mind the high altitude or poor soil.
One of the problems with growing many crops is keeping the birds away! Quinoa has a coating called Saponin that birds don't like, which protects it. However this coating is also distasteful to us, being bitter, and is mildly toxic.
It is important to rinse and soak the seeds to remove this before using it, something that is normally done before the seed is boxed up ready for sale.
However, it doesn't hurt to make sure all the saponin is removed, by tipping your quinoa into a sieve and holding it under running water for a few minutes.
To serve four people you will need...
Put the ingredients into a large saucepan (quinoa will swell to four times its volume when cooked) and season to taste with salt.
Bring the pan to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
It is simple to tell when the seeds are cooked as they will turn translucent with a white edge and centre to each seed, as seen in the photo above.
From a celiac's point of view, perhaps the greatest value of quinoa is the fact that it is totally gluten free and easy to digest. When you add to that its wonderful nutritional qualities you can see why the Inca's prized it so highly.
Compared to other cereals such as rice and wheat, quinoa has less fat and much more protein.
In fact is is considered a complete protein as it contains all 8 essential amino acids necessary for our bodies growth and repair, including lysine.
Most grains do not contain any lysine, a protein normally only found in meat, fish and eggs, making quinoa an ideal food for gluten free vegans and vegetarians.
This nutritious food can be used as a substitute for rice, potatoes or pasta to accompany a meal. It can also be used in salads, stews, pilafs, stuffings and desserts. It works well as a thickener in soups and can be used to make a quinoa porridge for breakfast, served with brown sugar and dried fruit.
As I mentioned at the top of this page, ground into a flour it can be used in gluten free baking. Normally it would be mixed with other flours such as sorghum, potato starch and tapioca starch to achieve a smooth, moist combination. I use quinoa flour in my favourite gluten free bread recipe.