Quinoa. A fabulous complete protein, and wonderfully malleable ingredient. I usually use it as a ‘stocking filler’ to fill my boys up in soups and salads, but it’s a fab rice replacement and a great porridge base too, where it’s more of a star of the show – with all 9 essential amino acids, thus receiving a gold star as a complete protein, this is one ingredient that does spectacularly well at helping us feel full, healthy and nourished – especially if you’re a vegetarian! Check out my delicious Quinoa coconut chokkie porridge here for a 2 minute breakfast heaven.
How to prepare it to be ready for cooking?
Before work, pop a cup or two of quinoa in a bowl of filtered water, with a squeeze of lemon juice, or tablespoon yoghurt (if you’re making a bigger batch, double the amount of your lemon / yoghurt). Soak it all day for about 12 hours- don’t worry, it does it all on it’s own and you don’t need to check on it or even glance in its direction! Then cook on medium for about 15 minutes until tender. I always make more than I need, so I can use it across a couple of meals in the week – a porridge, in soups, through a salad or as a risotto rice replacement. Voila!
Why is soaking important again?
“Easy cook” grains, where we pull them straight out of the packet and into the pan, are actually anti nutrient. Phytic acid, found in grains, legumes and nuts, needs to be broken down by phytase, an enzyme, to inhibit the acid and allow our bodies to soak up all the good stuff in that food. Quinoa also has another acid present that soaking, or at the very least rinsing, will minimise. I remember being a little girl in Mauritius, where my Mum’s from, and seeing the cooks soaking the legumes and rice and running their hands through them and rinsing them several times before cooking them – Amazing how quickly we’ve lost the basic wisdoms of food preparation when you think about it – either that or I’m getting on in years!
I am only really just now falling in love with quinoa. Experimenting with it, with success, in fish cakes, and enriching creamy vegetable soups with it for its protein. What’s your favourite quinoa use?
Real Food. Happy Bodies.