Did you know quinoa is not actually a grain, but a seed that's closely related to the beet family? Of course, in cooking it's used as a grain because its nutritional and culinary properties more closely resemble true grains like millet, brown rice, and oats. Quinoa has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in the Peruvian Andes, where they call it the mother of all grains, and there are over 120 varieties!
Quinoa can grow in diverse climates and terrains, including areas with minimal irrigation and fertilisation, or as little as three to four inches of annual rainfall.
The quinoa crop protects itself from predators with a waxy, bitter-tasting coat of saponins, an organic chemical compound that gets rinsed away during cultivation. Resourceful Andean families would traditionally save this saponin-heavy wash water to use as shampoo. Waste not want not.
We love our quinoa dishes. Red is our favourite, but mixing the white, red and black gives lots of different textures. This week we had a special vegan guest and it was our turn to shine making a special breakfast for her every morning. We made a Farmers Market Breakfast Bowl and added tofu scramble. As a spin off on this dish we enjoyed a Farmers Markets Dinner Bowl and added some char-grilled baby eggplant and zucchini. This was a bowl full of goodness.
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (or coconut oil)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 green onion, chopped
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- 2 cups spinach or kale
- 1 cup red quinoa cooked in 2 cups of stock
- char-grilled vegies
Cook Quinoa according to directions.
Heat oil (or if you prefer to cook with out oil, add a little stock) to fry-pan. Add spices, onion, red pepper and saute a few minutes. Add the kale or spinach and heat until just wilted. Add the cooked quinoa and stir through gently. Place on plate and add the char-grilled vegetables.