Quinoa is one of the world’s most nutritious foods. This grain-like crop contains all 10 essential amino acids for a human diet, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. As a source of protein it is on a par with meat, and has a greater calorific value than eggs and milk. It is gluten-free, and commonly available in wholefood shops.

It also contains two phytoestrogen thought to help prevent osteoporosis and other menopausal symptoms.

The native quinoa plant originated in the Andean region of South America and is now cultivated in Bolivia, Peru and the United States. It manages to survive in the harshest of conditions where virtually nothing else grows.

Its small-scale Andean producers have carefully developed many varieties of Quinoa over hundreds of years. In recognition of this contribution to food security, the United Nations has launched 2013 as‘International Year of Quinoa’.

Quinoa can be used to produce a wide range of foods including bread, cakes and soup and juice. If you’ve not tried it before, how about celebrating Year of Quinoa with this delicious recipe from Real Foods‘ booklet ‘Recipes: Gluten-free, Wheatfree, Dairy-free’.

Quinoa with broccoli and cashews

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Half a medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 125g sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • 125ml vegetable stock
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 110g uncooked quinoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 125g broccoli florets
  • 110g roasted cashew pieces
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium pan
  2. Add red onion and garlic, and cook for 3 mins
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, wine and lemon juice, and bring to boil
  4. Stir in quinoa and salt
  5. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 mins
  6. Arrange the broccoli on top of the quinoa, cover and simmer for an additional 5-6 mins
  7. Remove from heat and toss gently to combine
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Transfer to plates and serve garnished with cashews and spring onions