Magical Quinoa


Anyone who knows me well knows I have a love for Quinoa.  Quinoa... what is Quinoa? Pronounced 'Keen-Wa', it is a super food that originates from South America.  It has been around for 5000 years and was a staple food of the Inca people.  Quinoa is a gluten-free grain like seed from a vegetable and is related to spinach, tumbleweed and swiss chard.

Raw Quinoa:

Cooked Red Quinoa:

Quinoa is very easy to cook. It’s important to rinse the seeds well, because they are naturally coated with a bitter substance that protects them against birds and other predators. Most packaged quinoa has already been cleaned, but I always give it another rinse before cooking. Quinoa cooks in 15 minutes, and it’s easy to tell when it’s done because the seeds display a little white thread that curls around them (refer to the pic above).  It is the healthy alternative to white rice or pasta which I like to steer clear of when I can.

There are so many health benefits from eating this amazing 'Superfood'

  • Complete protein: Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.  It has more than double the protein of rice!
  • Magnesium: helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
  • Fiber: Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
  • Manganese and copper: Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
  • Smart carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar (great for Diabetics)

Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Now can you see why I love it? If you haven't tried Quinoa you are missing out! Most supermarkets should stock Quinoa.  If you are in Auckland you can also buy from Nosh, Farro Fresh, Harvest Wholefoods and Huckleberry Farms.


Below is a recipe for Mushroom Quinoa Salad:

Serves 2. 

1 cup Quinoa

200ml water or vegetable stock

1tbsp vegetable or olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

2-3 garlic clove, chopped

6 mushrooms, sliced

3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped


1 lemon

Sweet chili sauce

salt and freshly ground pepper

fresh parsley and coriander

1. Rinse the quinoa in plenty of cold water and place in a medium saucepan. Add boiling vegetable stock or water and bring back to the boil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

2. While the quinoa is cooking heat oil in a frying pan and saute onion for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic a fry for another minute. Add sliced mushrooms and stir fry these for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

3. In a small bowl, mix the cooked quinoa with mushrooms, tomatoes, feta and parsley.

4. In another bowl mix lemon juice, sweet chili sauce, salt, pepper and chopped coriander.  Pour on top of the quinoa mixture and mix through.