Quinoa – A Gem of a Grain from South America

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Quinoa is1024px-Red_quinoa wonderful and versatile grain that is increasing in its popularity outside of its native South America.

Nutritionally, Quinoa is considered a low GI food, and one serving of quinoa (around 185 grams) provides around a fifth of the daily recommended intake for fibre. In addition to this, quinoa offers a myriad of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of the minerals mangenese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc. One serving of quinoa (185 g) also offers around 20% of the daily recommended intake for the vitamin, folate, a vitamin important for supporting reproductive health and foetal development in women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant.

Quinoa is also a considered a complete protein source, an unusual feat for a non animal product, as it contains all eight essential amino acids, and, unusually, offers adequate levels of isoleucine and lysine, two amino acids of which levels are commonly insufficiently found in grains. Quinoa is also considered a source of fats that may help to support cardiovascular health and decrease inflammation: monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid) and omega 3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid).

Notably, quinoa is also technically a gluten free grain. However, it may be susceptible to cross contamination if it has been processed somewhere that also processes grains with gluten (such as the grains wheat and barley, etc), so this is important to note.

Here is a delicious and simple quinoa recipe

Smoked Salmon Quinoa Tabouleh

Ingredients

2 medium slices of smoked salmon

1 cup of ready to eat quinoa (Merchant’s Gournet do a wonderful product for this. It is £1.99 in Morrison’s. Just open the packet and use straight away).

1/2 avocado, slicedIMG_0423

 

1/2 cup of water cress

1/2 cup of baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Dice the salad into small pieces, and then toss and mix with the quinoa into a bowl. Add the olive oil to the mixture as a dressing. Chop the smoked salmon into strips and add these to the mix, also. Serve immediately or place in a sealed container and refrigerate.

*Variations: if you are vegan, vegetarian, or have a fish allergy, you could use 1/2 cup of cooked lentils, or a selection of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame etc.), or tofu cubes.

 

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