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International Year of Quinoa 2013

November 17, 2013

Yummy Quinoa Salad

Yummy Quinoa Salad

Did you know that 2013 is the International Year of Quinoa?

This was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have preserved quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) as food for present and future generations, through knowledge and practices of living in harmony with nature.

Indeed, the crop value of this ancient grain (technically a seed, not a grain) has tripled with its popularity spreading worldwide as a high protein, gluten-free, source of dietary fibre and minerals. This has done wonders for the South American farmers who grow it, but has disadvantaged the local communities who can no longer afford it.

Luckily, here in Australia, we have some organic growers who have started producing quinoa from north-west Tasmania.

Quinoa is a fantastic source of calcium, magnesium and iron which makes it very useful for vegetarians and vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. In its natural form, it has a coating of natural saponins which make it unpalatable. These are generally washed off in commercial production but I always wash & rinse my quinoa before I use it just in case. Saponins can give you a gut ache if you are sensitive but mainly, they just taste yucky!

As with most seeds, when quinoa is germinated (activated) its nutritional value is boosted. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. This only takes a few hours soaking, after which it will begin to sprout. You can eat it in its raw form after this process. Learn how to do it here. Otherwise, boil it like you would rice, making sure to rinse it well first.

There are lots of quinoa salad recipes out there. They are so versatile and handy for using up whatever you have left over in the fridge. This is my version:

Tamari Dressing

Tamari Dressing

1 clove garlic
1 large knob ginger
50g tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
1 heaped teas Dijon mustard
120g olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teas salt or more to taste
1/4 teas cracked black pepper
280g quinoa
1/2 red onion, sliced
handful of parsley
3 ribs of celery
150g cauliflower
1/2 red capsicum
50g pumpkin seeds (pepitas) toasted or raw
1 avocado, chopped
4 eggs
1 large handful of spinach, rocket or baby kale (I like to use baby kale if you can find it)
Rinse the quinoa well and add to the TM with 1000g water + 2 teas salt.  Put the eggs in the steamer basket on top, and cook on SP 3 for 13 minutes VAROMA temp.
When done, remove the eggs to cool and strain the quinoa well and set aside. Peel the eggs when cool enough and chop roughly.
For the dressing, mince the garlic & ginger for 15 seconds on SP 9. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix on SP 6 for 20 seconds until creamy. Set aside.
Without rinsing the TM bowl, chop the parsley, celery, cauliflower & capsicum on SP 4 in short bursts. Be careful not to over process the mix, keeping it chunky. Mix together with the cooled quinoa, the avocado, spinach and sprinkle with pepitas. Stir through the dressing and check for seasoning. This keeps really well and also makes great stuffing for chicken or turkey if you add an egg to bind it.
One Comment leave one →
  1. November 21, 2013 9:31 am

    Reblogged this on Eat Live Travel and commented:
    For all of you have been asking me how to use Quinoa x

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