One of nature’s superfoods, quinoa is a complete protein (perfect for vegetarians and vegans) and is gluten-free. It’s also more versatile than you might think!
1. Basic method (serves 4)
Rinse 1 cup quinoa. Combine with 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Rest for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Quinoa tabouli
Combine 3 diced tomatoes, 1 diced cucumber, 3 chopped green onions, 2 grated carrots, 1/4 cup each olive oil and lemon juice and 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Combine tomato mixture with cooled quinoa.
3. Fried 'rice'
Swap the rice for the same amount of cooked, cooled quinoa when making fried rice.
4. Sweet side salad
This side is delicious with grilled chicken or salmon. Follow the basic method above, swapping 2 cups water for 2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock. Meanwhile, dice a nashi pear, a red onion, a cucumber and 1 cup chopped dried apricots. Add to cooked quinoa, then stir through 2 tablespoons each: lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil and chopped parsley.
5. Lemon and zucchini side
Sauté a sliced zucchini with minced garlic. Stir through cooked quinoa, along with zest and juice of one lemon, chopped dill and crumbled reduced-fat feta. Serve with grilled prawns.
6. This is no boring brekky
Quinoa isn’t just for dinner – use it to make porridge. Bring 2 cups skim milk to the boil. Add 1 cup quinoa, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until most of the milk is absorbed. Stir through your favourite 'toppings' (see 1 classic recipe + 9 variations: Porridge).
7. Quinoa muffins
Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine 2 cups plain flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup sultanas. Stir through 2 cups cooked quinoa. In a small bowl, whisk 3/4 cup skim milk, an egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add to quinoa mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into a lightly oiled 12-hole muffin tin and bake for 25–30 minutes.
8. Quinoa stroganoff
Serve beef stroganoff (search our website for a few healthy versions) over quinoa, instead of pasta.
9. Lentil & quinoa soup
Sauté 1/2 diced red onion with 1 chopped garlic clove, a little grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and turmeric. Cook until fragrant. Add 1 cup red lentils, 2 cups reduced-salt stock and 1 cup water. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend with a stick blender. Stir through 1 can rinsed chickpeas and 1 cup cooked quinoa. Garnish with a dollop of low-fat Greek yoghurt and chopped coriander.
10. Cran-mint quinoa side
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, a handful of finely chopped mint leaves, 500g blanched, chopped green beans, 1/4 cup crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) and a pinch of chilli flakes. Add a splash of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar before serving.