Quinoa – Quintessentially Awesome

Pronounced ‘keen-wa’, quinoa has recently been thrust into the limelight of health-food fans everywhere and was even recognised by the UN for its high nutrient content. That’s right! 2013 was officially the International Year of Quinoa, drawing attention to the role it plays in nutrition, food security and battling food poverty.
That’s certainly is quite a bit of fanfare, so what is it about this grain that’s so great? Well, as fans of feeling great, we thought we would take a quick look into Quinoa, and how you can give your salad a super-natural boost.
Quinoa Salad Squash

What is it, and where’s it from?

Although it’s considered to be a whole grain, quinoa is actually a seed. Grown in South America (chiefly Peru) for centuries, it was the staple diet of ancient civilisations and has continued to be the go-to grain for many since then.

A nutritional power-house

There’s a whole lot of great nutrition packed into each and every seed. For starters, quinoa is a great source of calcium and packs twice the amount of protein as barley or rice. It also contains all nine essential amino acids (which are essential for our body’s growth and repair) as well as good levels of manganese, magnesium, dietary fibre, B Vitamins and Vitamin E.
With all that goodness, quinoa is very popular amongst vegans, vegetarians and anyone else on a special diet as it helps them get the nutrition they need in a simple and healthy way.

Versatile and tasty!

Quinoa is a great substitute for starches such as rice, pasta and potatoes and can be used in a variety of dishes as a healthy alternative to high-carb counterparts. It’s also great in salads and can really boost their nutritional credentials, transforming them into complete meals that are filling, satisfying and delicious as well!
How about some salad ideas to get you started? Have a go at these!