Quinoa at one point hovered on the fringes of our eating culture but at some point in the 1990’s that changed. The ancient super pseudograin satisfied our hunger for health foods, and food diversity – it also would have helped that it was gluten free.
It has an outstanding nutritional profile, sits in those top plant protein foods lists – with a protein content of around 15 percent, and so at a time when plant based eating was really becoming a thing, this also helped push quinoa to the forefront.
Beyond the superfood status, quinoa has been, and continues to be an extremely important food crop. To raise awareness of the nutritional and economical value of this crop, the U.N General Assembly branding 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. And while worldwide appetite for this super grain was once thought to be undermining food security in the Andes, this report suggested otherwise.
With low production costs, adaptability to various climates and vast genetic diversity the U.N. believes the crop to be a viable option to alleviate world hunger. Specifically the potential for food and nutrition security, reducing poverty, especially among small farmers, and for environmentally sustainable agriculture.
The super grain earned its spot on many top plant protein food lists - here’s why. Just 1 cup of cooked quinoa will provide you with 8 grams of protein. For those relatively unfamiliar with the grain, it’s much kind of like rice, a starchy protein because it contains carbohydrates as well as protein and fibre – but it’s a upgrade on rice, if you’re looking to add more diversity to your carb intake.
Quinoa is also considered a ‘weight loss’ food, mostly because of its high insoluble fibre and protein content. It’s this fibre and protein combo that increase satiety after a meal, or that ‘full’ feeling that you otherwise not see with refined carbs.
We love cooking with quinoa for a lot of reasons, versatility being pretty up there. It’s a bit like tofu though, there are loads of ways to build on its flavour but it can be meh if it’s as is. Below we go over a couple of ways to cook it and we’ve got 5 super delicious healthy recipes for some meal prep inspiration!
How to cook quinoa. Fast
Rinse your quinoa thoroughly under cold water using a fine mesh strainer, while gently rubbing the seeds together with your fingers to help remove the saponins*.
Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of water or stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on, until tails appear.
Remove the lid and leave to sit until all liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff up quinoa lightly with a fork.
Cook quinoa using the ACV soaking method
Soak your quinoa in a glass or ceramic bowl with two cups of filtered water to every cup of quinoa and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit in the fridge for 12–24 hours.
Strain your quinoa through a fine mesh sieve, rinsing thoroughly to remove the bitter saponins* until water runs clear.
Add quinoa to a pot with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes with the lid on. You will notice that the quinoa seeds will sprout ‘tails’ and become translucent, that’s how you’ll know it’s good to go.
Remove the lid and leave to sit until all liquid is completely absorbed, then fluff up quinoa lightly with a fork.
And some quinoa recipes
We know it’s easy to overspend on work lunches out… So before you end up eating something regrettable or resort to sad leftovers here’s 5 ways to use batch cooked quinoa throughout the week for super delicious meals - that will save you money too!
Toasted quinoa & greens w/ tahini tamari dressing
This bowl combines seasonal greens with quinoa and a super creamy tahini and tamari dressing. There are 2 nourish bowls further down with tahini dressings, so to save time, double or triple this dressing to save more time. Get the recipe here.
Quinoa chickpea curry
This curry is served with quinoa, a bit of a nutritional upgrade on the traditional white rice and curry combo. It’s more of an everyday dish, quick to whip up and loaded with healthy carbs like quinoa, chickpeas, and kumara. This recipe is pretty simple, half the ingredients are just spices, plus some produce, canned tomatoes and coconut milk – all of which you will find in a grocery store. Get the recipe here.
Protein packed quinoa bowls
Super easy and nutritious!!! These protein packed quinoa bowls are perfect for meal prepping, they keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Get your plant-based gains here.
Quinoa nourish bowls w/ creamy avocado dressing
Bowls like this are perfect for meal prep. Save time by bulk cooking grains, and prepping dressings so all you need to do is add seasonal vegetables, and add ins like nuts and seeds for extra protein - and you’ve got a balanced, portable meal for work or uni! Make it here.
Quinoa chickpea bowls w/ lemon tahini dressing
This gluten free, economical meal combines a base of quinoa, chickpeas and baked potato, served up with seasonal greens and a lemon tahini dressing! Grab the recipe here.