Quinoa the superfood of grains

Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wah’ is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. There are three types: black, red and white. The black variety is not always available, and may only be available from specialist suppliers.


Grown in South America (Peru, Chile and Bolivia) for thousands of years, quinoa formed the staple diet of the Incas and their descendants. In recent years, foodies in the UK and the US have heralded it as a superior alternative to bulgur wheat, couscous and rice. Though it often occupies a similar role to these grains in dishes, quinoa is actually in the same family as beets, chard and spinach.


With twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre.


Cooked quinoa seeds become fluffy and creamy, it softens and opens up to release little white tails which I like to refer to as halos, yet maintains a slight crunch. It has a delicate and subtly nutty flavour, versatile for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side).


Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the grains, making it a fantastic wheat-free choice. Like buckwheat, quinoa has an excellent amino acid profile, as it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete-protein source. Quinoa is therefore an excellent choice for vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets.


Detox Quinoa Salad Ingredients


300g Organic Red Quinoa

1 Head of Broccolli

1 Cucumber

1 Blood Orange

50ml Light Soy Sauce

1 thumb of Fresh Ginger

½ bunch of Fresh coriander


So, here is how I have used quinoa in a healthy detox salad, firstly I cooked the quinoa in boiling water with a touch of veg bouillon and a couple of bay leaves to add a bit more flavour to the quinoa whilst cooking.

Secondly, when the quinoa started to form lots of halos or white tails, this was the sign that it was ready to come off.

I drained the quinoa in a colander with small holes as I was making a large amount,(at home a fine sieve would be more suitable)then I ran cold water on it to cool it quickly.

Whilst the quinoa is cooling prepare the rest of your ingredients by washing the broccoli and cutting it from the stalks, then slicing the florets.

Next wash the cucumbers, top and tail them and slice in half lengthways, take a teaspoon and run it down the length to remove the seeds and create a half-moon shape.

Finely grate the blood orange zest and chop the remaining orange in half and squeeze the juice from it and strain to remove any pips.

Wash and finely slice the spring onions at an angle, next peel the ginger and finely grate it, then measure out the amount of soy sauce you are putting in.

Toast off some sesame seeds in the oven or under the grill until golden, and allow to cool.

Once all the above steps have been taken, you are ready to mix everything together and hey presto! A healthy detox quinoa salad is on your menu.

Have fun trying this out for yourselves or even trying it with different ingredients to suit your personal tastes.

Bon Appetite


Paul Onions

Sous Chef, Paddington Venue

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