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Cooking with Quinoa, today’s Sunday Times.  Photo taken during a live tv show by Illumina Media


Quinoa is a highland crop from the Andes and although it is known as a grain, it is technically the seed of a plant that the Incas referred to as the ‘Mother of all Grains’. It is gluten-free and is a high-protein food. There are 143 calories in 100g of cooked quinoa.

Quinoa is a tight little seed and, when cooked, it turns translucent and slightly creamy in texture. The most common type is white with red and black varieties, all available in most food stores.

To cook one cup of quinoa, use two to three cups of water and a natural stock cube if you wish to add flavour. My preference is to boil the water then add the quinoa and boil it for around 15-20 minutes. Red and black quinoa requires slightly longer to cook.

Quinoa is a good base for a stir-fry and makes a great breakfast instead of oats, mixed with some berries, agave and walnuts. It is also a good gluten-free substitute for bulgur wheat in tabbouleh.

Quinoa can be stored in the fridge once it is cooked and used for the next day’s meal as a salad or packed lunch.

Quail and Quinoa

You will need:
6 quails
6 slices of Parma ham
1/2 tsp butter
2 tbsps olive oil
salt and pepper

These quails are wrapped in Parma ham and simply roasted with no stuffing. Serve them on a bed of warm quinoa salad. Season the quails with salt and pepper and wrap them with one slice of Parma ham and melt the butter in a pan. Add the olive oil. Sauté the quails on both sides lightly for around 3-4 minutes on each side.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the quails on an ovenproof dish covered with baking paper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Baste halfway through with its own juices. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with a warm quinoa salad.

For the warm quinoa salad, you will need: a mix of chopped cherry tomatoes, grated raw sweet potatoes, cooked mushrooms, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and a mix of the following vegetables all sautéed together in the same pan used to cook the quail: onion, garlic, pumpkin, butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, green marrow, 2 cups quinoa.

Prepare the vegetables of your choice. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and immerse in cold water. Season with salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until some of the outer quinoa casings pop. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. Season with salt and pepper and gently mix in the vegetables.

This recipe is gluten-free, diabetic- friendly, nut-free, lactose-free and dairy-free.

Quinoa Falafel Balls

You will need:
250g cooked chickpeas
150g cooked quinoa
1 egg
150g gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 clove garlic
a pinch of cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
2 tbsps chopped parsley
salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, 50g of the quinoa, the egg, 100g of the gram flour, the garlic clove, cumin, coriander and parsley. Use a hand-held blender to make a smooth puree. Mix in the rest of the quinoa. Leave the mixture in the fridge for an hour or overnight.

On a clean flat surface, sift the rest of the gram flour.

Use a tablespoon to drop the mixture onto the sifted gram flour and roll quickly with your hands. Repeat until you have finished all the mixture.

Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Bake the balls in a preheated oven at 180°C for 35 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 20 minutes or fry in hot oil. Drain and leave on kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil. Serve with dips of your choice.

This recipe is gluten-free and lactose- free. For a vegan option use 3tbsps aqua faba, instead of the egg.

Chickpeas, Cabbage and Quinoa

1½ cups water
½ cup quinoa
4 tbsp olive oil
1 potato, chopped into cubes
1 vegetable stock cube added to 50ml hot water
1 carrot, shredded
½ cabbage, thinly sliced
400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
The zest of ½ lime
¼ tsp fresh rosemary
½ root turmeric, grated
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a pot over medium heat. Add the quinoa and season with salt if desired. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Carry on cooking on low heat until the water evaporates. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in saucepan over low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it is translucent. Add the garlic and chopped potatoes and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Stir. Add half the stock and the carrots. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the grated turmeric, cabbage and cooked chickpeas. Add the rest of the stock and carrots. Stir in the herbs and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Toss in half the quinoa and gently mix in the chopped parsley. Place on a serving plate and add the rest of the quinoa. Scatter the lime zest on top. Season with salt and pepper if desired. This can be served warm and it also makes a delicious salad the following day.

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and lactose-free.

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

35g ground almonds
280g cooked quinoa
1 tsp baking powder
50 g chocolate chips
100g coconut
2 egg whites
100g peanut butter
100g applesauce
85g honey
A pinch of cinnamon
Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Combine the peanut butter, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract.

Mix together separately the ground almonds, quinoa, baking powder, chocolate chips, coconut and salt.

Stir in the egg whites and mix well.

Combine the contents of the two bowls. Shape into balls and flatten into cookie shapes.

Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Bake at 170°C for about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool as they are quite soft when they come out of the oven

This recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and lactose-free.





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