Quinoa: an emerging classic or food fad?

If food were fashion, then quinoa would be the new black.

Yes, this ‘superfood’ is running off the shelves of health-food stores and being hunted down by organic food lovers as if it were gold. But our fad-hungry society begs the question: is quinoa nothing but another health-food fad, or is it everything it’s cracked up to be?
 
So what is it?
 
Although often referred to as a ‘supergrain’, quinoa is not actually related to the grain family at all, making it both kosher and a big tick for the gluten intolerant. It’s actually a seed taken from a crop grown in South America, and it comes in red, black and cream varieties. By-products such as quinoa flakes and quinoa flour are also available.
 
Quinoa has been reported to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. Vegetarians and vegans have always revered quinoa as it’s a superior source of non-animal protein, however its health benefits don’t stop there.That quinoa is a complex carbohydrate, or ‘good’ carbohydrate will excite athletes looking to build muscle, as well as those looking to trim up for the summer. Ok, so it’s healthy. Maybe that’s enough for the most dedicated health nut, but for the rest of us, how do we turn this nutrient rich, easily digestible seed into something that is, well, digestible?
 
Luckily, we’re dealing with a very versatile seed which lends itself to a number of delicious recipes. So, to help you discover the world of quinoa, here’s a great one to try, or you can even experiment by incorporating it into your existing collection.There are also more recipes available on our website www.asteronlife.com.au/balance But however you like it, we think quinoa will be more than just a flash in the pan.
 
Pear, almond and feta salad with quinoa
 
½ cup water
¼ cup red quinoa
½ cup sliced almonds
4 cups baby spinach leaves
¾ cup crumbed light feta
¼ cup sliced red onion
1 pear, sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and leave covered saucepan on burner for an additional 4 minutes. remove lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
 
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.
 
Divide spinach into 4 large or 6 small servings. Sprinkle feta, onion, quinoa, pear and toasted almonds evenly over the salads.
 
Whisk vinegar, oil, honey and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salads and serve.

Balance Blog Team

Here at Balance, we are all about celebrating life. The Balance Blog Team are dedicated to bringing you the latest expert advice in fitness, wellbeing, finance and nutrition, all with aim of helping you live your life to fullest.