The gluten-free super food has taken the world by storm and our Instagram feeds as well. Quinoa may have come in to the spotlight for us recently but this little dose of nutrition has its origins more than five thousand years ago. In the Inca Empire, it was considered “The mother of all grains”. They realized early on what we know now, that quinoa is a complete protein having all the essential amino acids our body can’t make on its own. But what truly amazes us is how versatile it is to cook!
There are lots of different varieties of quinoa that make perfect accomplices to various dishes. If you are a salad junkie, a sweet tooth or a bread lover, there are countless ways to incorporate this super grain in your favorite recipes and we will show you how. Let’s Quinoa it!
1. White Quinoa
White quinoa has a delicate taste akin to white rice and a subtle, mild flavor. It is generally sweeter than its darker variants and has a fluffy texture which makes it a great substitute for rice. White quinoa is just as nutritious as its other variants containing lots of fiber, iron and manganese. But as it has an easy going taste, it is the best variant to start with if you have never had quinoa before. Try this creamy mushroom and thyme Quinoa Risotto:
• 1 cup Healthy Alternatives Peruvian Quinoa White, rinsed
• 1 tablespoon Healthy Alternatives Pure Olive Oil
• 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove, pressed
• 400 g Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
• 3 teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme, divided
• 1 cup dry white wine •Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring 2 cups salted water. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and the water is absorbed, just about 13 minutes.
2. In the meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until the onions begins to brown, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and thyme.
3. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender for about 6 minutes. Add wine; stir until wine is reduced and the liquid has a syrup consistency. Mix all the quinoa into the mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some cheese shavings separately.
2. Red Quinoa
Red quinoa has a luscious crimson color and adds a delicious ruby hue to green vegetables and salads. It is slightly chewier than white quinoa, has a richer taste and is somewhat nutty. It is best for cold salads as it holds it shape better after cooking. Go for this crunchy Red Quinoa and Avocado Salad:
• 1/3rd cup Healthy Alternatives Peruvian Quinoa Red
• 2/3rd cup of water
• 1 cup Exotic Cherry Red Tomatoes, halved
• ½ cup diced cucumber
• ¼ cup diced onion
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• ½ teaspoons ground Healthy Alternatives Organic Cumin Whole seeds
• 2 cups Exotic Baby Spinach leaves
• 1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1. Immerse the quinoa in water, to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed for about 15 to 20 minutes. .
2. Once the quinoa has chilled, gently stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion and garnish with lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Divide the spinach leaves on the salad plates, and top with the quinoa salad. Garnish with the avocado slices.
3. Black Quinoa
Black Quinoa is a hybrid variety of quinoa and is slightly sweeter than other variants. It has an earthy flavor and is crunchier in texture. It has just as many proteins, fibers, antioxidants and iron that are available in red and white quinoa. With its gorgeous onyx color it is great for soups, salads, stews and makes a scrumptious side dish for meat and fish. With this delicious yet healthy Mexican Quinoa Stew, you can achieve your health goals in a tasty way.
• 1 tablespoon Healthy Alternatives Pure Olive Oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 Exotic Celery stalks, chopped
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
• 2 Jalapenos Slices, seeded and chopped
• 3 ½ cups water
• 795 grams diced tomatoes
• 1 ½ cups cooked Whole black beans
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground Healthy Alternatives Organic Cumin Whole seeds
• 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
• ½ cup Healthy Alternatives Peruvian Quinoa Black(dry/uncooked)
• 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1. In a medium soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and jalapeños. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the water, tomatoes, beans, cumin, salt, quinoa, cilantro and cayenne pepper. Season with extra salt and pepper and bring the soup to boil.
3. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer until the quinoa is tender, just about 15 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
4. Divide into bowls and serve with any of your favorite garnishes.
4. Quinoa Flour
With this gluten free quinoa flour, you don’t need to guilt trip yourself for gobbling all those crumbly chocolate chip cookies. It is very versatile in baking and can easily improve the nutrient value of your baked goods. Substitute half of the all-purpose flour in your recipe with quinoa flour and substitute equal amounts for wheat flour in cakes and cookies. With the Healthy Alternatives Quinoa Bread Squares, you can enjoy a healthy and hearty toast for breakfast every morning. Or better yet try this gluten free two minute chocolate mug¬¬ brownie for a quick sweet treat to fulfill your chocolate cravings.
• 1/4th cup Healthy Alternatives Quinoa Flour
• 1/4th Cup Brown Soft Sugar
• 2 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
• A pinch of Organic Rock Salt
• 2 tablespoons Healthy Alternatives Canola Oil
• 2 tablespoons milk, coffee or water
1. In a microwave safe mug, stir together all the dry ingredients till there are no lumps then add in the milk and the oil.
2. Microwave for a minute or two and keep checking every 30 seconds. When it’s spongy on top yet slightly gooey, your brownie is ready to devour. You can also add Quinoa to your meals using our salad recipe.
Get the best value ingredients at your nearest Nature’s Basket store or get your ingredients here.