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the benefits of quinoa

5th July 2017 by Jess

An ancient grain that originates from the Andean Mountains of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Columbia, quinoa was first cultivated by the Incas thousands of years ago. Our nutritionist Jess tells us why quinoa recipes are her favourite lunchtime staple.

quinoa plant

what is quinoa?

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a gluten free grain, technically a seed, therefore it’s commonly referred to as a psuedo-grain.

It’s used as acarbohydrate and considered a starchy protein because it contains carbohydrates as well as protein and fibre.

The small round seed can be found in several varieties and colors such as red, black, and yellowish-white, white being the most popular variety found in stores.

Flavour-wise, it has a delicate and subtly nutty flavor, versatile for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side).

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Quinoa also can be found as a flour or in flake form. This is one of my personal favorites that I will make on my batch cooking mornings to go into roasted veg salads, curries or chillis - it tastes delicious hot or cold.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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what are the benefits?

Wondering about quinoa nutrition?

Quinoa is one of nature’s complete proteins, which means it's got all 9 of the essential amino acids needed for us humans to function. This makes it an excellent choice for vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets.

1 cup (185g) cooked quinoa gives 8g protein and contains fibre, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

how to cook quinoa

Cooked quinoa seeds become fluffy and creamy, with a slight crunch. To cook, mix 1 cup dry quinoa with 2 cups of water. Simply boil for at least 20 minutes, and fork to fluff. This ratio will yield about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

jess quinoa salad healthy recipe meal prep

Jess's favourite quinoa recipes

  • Use quinoa flakes as a hot or cold cereal by adding homemade nut milk and fresh fruit
  • Use a bed of quinoa instead of a bed of rice for stir-fry dishes or a side dish
  • A bed of cooked quinoa with roasted vegetables and pesto mixed through with poached salmon on top
  • Toasted quinoa flakes with coconut oil, maple roasted pecan nuts,
  • Lemon and blueberry quinoa pancakes
  • Quinoa salad with tabbouleh and houmous

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cacao quinoa flapjack

ancient grain quinoa flapjack with cacao

Ancient grains are so popular as an ingredient, we couldn’t wait to try them out in one of our flapjack experiments in the graze labs.

We create our quinoa flakes by flattening raw quinoa seeds, mixing them in with whole rolled oats. Because all our flapjacks are baked in small batches, the whole rolled oats and quinoa flakes keep all their natural goodness, making this healthy snack a source of dietary fibre and manganese, a nutrient which supports the immune system and protects cells from oxidative stress.

Add cacao powder and cacao nibs and you've got a delicious energy boosting snack. We recommend enjoying it with cup of tea or coffee when you take a break from a hectic day.

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By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.

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