Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a fantastic addition to your food cupboard, and is a brilliant alternative to pasta or rice for those who need to observe a gluten-free, healthy diet. Not only is quinoa incredibly tasty, but it's a great all-rounder which contains a variety of essential nutrients that can complement a healthy diet and lifestyle.
With its gorgeous nutty, slightly smoky flavour, quinoa has a great texture that is creamy and fluffy, yet also slightly crunchy to the bite. While actually a seed from a spinach-like vegetable, quinoa is often mistaken for a grain - and because it’s cooked and served like many other well-known grains, it’s an easy and natural mistake to make!
Why is quinoa so good for you?
Quinoa is a fantastic source of energy, and was historically used to improve the stamina of South American warriors. Quinoa contains many essential nutrients and is packed full of the nine essential amino acids that our bodies require in order to process and use the protein that we consume.
Completely free of gluten, Quinoa is also the perfect choice for vegetarians, vegans and people who are lactose intolerant - it's a better source of protein than cow’s milk and is also entirely safe for diabetics to eat. Quinoa also has incredible antioxidant properties and contains lysine too, helping our bodies to repair cell damage caused by free radicals, and counter the effects of our modern, hectic lifestyles.
Quinoa is a fabulous source of many minerals, including magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, and also B vitamins, vitamin E and folic acid. This powerful combination of vital vitamins and minerals means that eating quinoa can also help to prevent migraines, a debilitating condition that more and more people seem to suffer from in modern times.
Quinoa - how should I try it?
Because it's such a great healthy option with so many nutrients, it's a good idea to use quinoa as part of a balanced diet. Try serving quinoa instead of the usual rice or pasta as an accompaniment to your favourite dishes, or try it as the perfect base to a delicious warm salad.
If you're not sure about cooking it yourself, but fancy giving it a go, you can always try our gorgeous Moroccan Vegetable Tagine - a delicious blend of quinoa, lentils and brown rice in healthy ready-meal form that offers a quick and easy tasty treat to tuck into after a busy day...with the added bonus of knowing that you’re feeding your body with a healthier and nutritionally balanced option.
Or for a guide on using the grain take a look at our article How to cook Quinoa