Originally found in Andean countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, quinoa is the the most similar food to wheat the Inca's knew. The Inca civilisation grew and lived on quinoa. This pseudo-cereal offers many properties: it is high in protein, iron, magnesium and non-saturated fat. Moreover, it is gluten and cholesterol-free, and it can be used in sweet and savoury recipes. Quinoa can be cooked in boiling water over 15 to 20 minutes without any salt, until it is al dente. You should wash it first in cold water to remove its saponin content.
In order to prepare six medallions, mix 150 grs. of boiled quinoa, 150 grs. of quinoa flour, four yolks, chopped green onions, salt and pepper as desired. Then, beat four egg whites stiff and add the prior mixture with encircling movements. Use the mixture to prepare balls with the palm of your hands, flatten them into hamburgers and coat in breadcrumbs. These medallions can be cooked in frying pan or an oven.
Pumpkin and quinoa risotto
Quinoa is ideal for replacing traditional white rice when cooking risotto. Mix a cup of boiled quinoa with two finely chopped lightly browned onions. Add a mashed pumpkin, grated cheese and nutmeg; mix it all well. You can decorate the servings with nuts or almonds. This recipe is better served immediately; if saved it for reheating it will probably become sticky. Servings: 4.
Chicken with quinoa and vegetables
Boil quinoa in vegetable stock instead of water for better taste. Separately, stir-fry in a pan half an onion, a chopped garlic clove and add two chicken breasts cut into strips. Once golden brown, reserve this preparation for later. Use again the pan to stir-fry one peeled tomato cut into small cubes and one zucchini. Once cooked, add the stir-fried chicken, with the hot quinoa and some leaves of fresh basil and grated cheese. Servings: 4.
Pork shoulder and quinoa
If you love meat, you should try this simple recipe. Stir-fry four fine pork shoulders cut into small cubes in a wok or frying pan, together with thinly sliced carrots, chopped celery, chopped garlic, and green and red bell peppers. When the meat is lightly cooked, add some cherry tomatoes and tarragon leaves to flavour. Then, mix the quinoa with onions (if you prefer a bitter-sweet taste, use sautéed sweet onion) and salt as desired. Dinner is served!!
Quinoa and vegetable soup
This recipe is a classic in countries such as Peru and Bolivia, where the temperature falls drastically during the night. Boil some carrots, a pumpkin, onions, celery and corn kernels in water with a vegetable stock. Boil the quinoa in a separate pot and add it to the prior mixture once ready (their cooking times are different). We recommend leaving this soup to cool before serving for richer taste.
Quinoa can also be used in sweet recipes. Boil 200 grs. of quinoa and grind with a food processor. Then, add four beaten eggs, 200 grs. of sugar, 500 cc. of milk, grated lemon peel and vanilla extract, and pour the mixture in a caramelised tin of 20 cm in diameter. Cook in a water bath in the oven for an hour until the custard is set. Take it off the oven, let cool and remove the tin over a serving bowl. You can add some heavy cream or caramel if you want.
Half an hour will be enough to bake delicious and healthy cookies for tea time. To bake two dozen cookies, mix a cup of boiled quinoa and a cup of oatmeal, half a cup of butter, two tablespoons of honey, an egg, half a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of vanilla extract. Once the mixture is homogeneous, add a cup of chocolate chips. Pre-heat the oven. Then, use a tablespoon to pour the mixture into an oven tray, leaving some space among the rounded-shape paste. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown.
Apple and quinoa pudding
Bake three green apples until tender; peel them, remove the center and mash them. Separately, use a pot to heat the mash, add a tablespoon of corn-starch dissolved in some water and cook for two minutes. While still warm, add three cups of cooked quinoa, a few tablespoons of honey and a few drops of vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a pudding pan covered with plastic wrap. Cool it in the refrigerator for approximately six hours before unmoulding.
Quinoa flour and chocolate pie
We will use quinoa flour rather than boiled quinoa in this case. Dissolve 100 grs. of dark chocolate in a hot water bath. Then, mix in a bowl some vanilla yogurt with half a cup of wholemeal sugar. Add two cups of flour, one cup of quinoa flour, a dissolved brewer's yeast square, half a cup of olive oil and four egg yolks. Divide the mixture into two separate bowls. Add dissolved chocolate to one of them, and 100 grs. of grated coconut to the other. Separately, beat the four egg whites and add it by halves to each mixture. Pour these preparations into a buttered and floured mould and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Compote with quinoa flakes
This recipe is an excellent choice for breakfast or tea time. Boil two apples cut into wedges, with some prunes without pits, sugar, clove and cinnamon. Then, add quinoa flakes (sold in natural food shops) and let it soak for a minute. Serve cold or at room temperature.