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Quinoa is more than just a food trend! It’s a delicious, nutty, nutritious whole grain that’s here to stay. Quinoa will fill you up and keep you strong. It makes a great addition to loads of healthy vegan recipes. If you haven’t tried quinoa before, it’s time to buy quinoa online and see how it can enhance your life. In fact, many consider quinoa to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. But how exactly did it win its super-food status? Read on to find out!
What is quinoa?
Quinoa is an ancient grain from South America, originating from the Andes over 7,000 years ago! And today, it remains a staple of the South American diet. It’s now traveled far and wide and is a popular health food across the world. Quinoa plants are beautiful flowering plants with sliver-green leaves. You wouldn’t be the first to mispronounce quinoa, but to save you the embarrassment, its correct pronunciation is keen-wah!
Did you know that technically quinoa is not even a grain? It’s actually what they call a ‘pseudo-grain’ because it’s a seed but can be used in the same way as a grain. It also has a similar nutritional profile to that of grains. Quinoa is gluten-free and can therefore be used as a low-carb substitute for other grains such as rice. It comes in different varieties, such as white, red, and black. White quinoa is the mildest of the three whilst red and black are more robust.
What does quinoa taste like?
Quinoa has a mild, nutty flavor that’s very slightly sweet. In texture, it’s similar to brown rice, couscous, or bulgur wheat, and many other grains! It’s fluffy and chewy at the same time. When you prepare it properly, cooked quinoa tastes a bit like roasted sesame seeds or nuts. Having a mild flavor means that it’s a great absorber for whatever flavors you add to it, whether that's spices, fresh herbs, or lemon juice. You can even use it for sweet dishes! More on that in a bit.
It’s possible to prepare it badly, which will result in the quinoa tasting slightly bitter. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this by rinsing your quinoa before cooking it. Rinse the uncooked quinoa in cold running water for around a minute or until the water runs clear. As a word of warning, quinoa grains are very small so a sieve is probably better than a colander! You don’t want your quinoa washing down the drain. Whilst most manufacturers do actually rinse their quinoa before packaging it, sometimes it needs a little extra help.
What are the benefits of eating quinoa?
Many amazing health benefits come with eating quinoa. Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain. Even NASA feed their astronauts quinoa on long space missions, to keep their health and energy at optimum levels! Quinoa is a complete protein. This means quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs. Amino acids help us maintain healthy muscles, skin, blood, and bones.
Quinoa is an excellent source of fiber, which may aid healthy digestion. This fiber content may play a role in lowering cholesterol levels. A study showed that people felt fuller for longer after eating quinoa, compared to rice or other grains. This may also mean that quinoa can be great in supporting weight management.
What can I do with quinoa?
Before you buy quinoa online, let me share with you some awesome ideas for vegan quinoa recipes!
- Salads! You can’t beat a quinoa salad for an easy take-to-work lunch. Mix cooked and cooled quinoa (ideally red or black!) with an assortment of freshly chopped veggies. I like to add some vegan feta, black olives, and a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. If you don’t have time to make a dressing, try a pre-made one such as Annie’s Homegrown Lemon & Chive Dressing.
Eat quinoa as a replacement for rice or other grains. Enjoy it as a side with some roasted veggies. Eat it with some Like Meat Gluten-Free Grilled Chicken Alternative or Feed Your Head’s Vegan Louisiana Hotlink Sausages.
Add to hearty stews. You can throw some quinoa into all kinds of vegan stews. Add some to a vegan black bean and sweet potato chili con carne. Make a tomato-based stew with the vegetables and spices of your choice and add a healthy handful of quinoa to bulk it out. Buy quinoa online to help yourself through the winter!
- Quinoa is not just for savory dishes. You can actually use it to make some decadent and delicious desserts! Try making a quinoa rice pudding with oat creamer. Fold cooked quinoa into all kinds of treats such as brownies, cakes, cookies, and fruit crumbles. My favorite sweet vegan quinoa recipe is a coconut quinoa pudding!
Top quinoa brands to try
Lundberg Quinoa Rice Blend Spanish
This handy quinoa pack is flavored with tomato, garlic, and bell pepper for a little Spanish flair! Have this super easy vegan quinoa meal after work.
Edison Grainery Organic Red Quinoa
Red quinoa is so beautiful! It has a richer flavor than the light stuff and a chewier texture. As it holds up better than the lighter quinoa when cooked, it’s perfect for salads and other cold dishes.
Edison Grainery Organic Golden Quinoa
Another beautiful quinoa from Edison Grainery. This has a light, nutty flavor and is a great all-purpose quinoa.
Eden Foods Organic Whole Grain Quinoa
You can’t get much healthier than whole-grain quinoa! It’s gluten-free and super versatile. Find your favorite vegan quinoa recipe and give it a whirl.
Alter Eco Pearl Heirloom Quinoa
This heirloom quinoa is the very best in quality, and a great addition to salads, soups and so much more.
Related quinoa products
As well as helping you to buy quinoa online, we also sell a range of other products that use quinoa! Let's take a look at a few of these before you buy your quinoa and experience the magic for yourself…
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa Flour
This brilliant organic quinoa flour is ideal for all your gluten-free baking needs. Try making gluten-free vegan bread, pancakes, or waffles!
- Andean Dream Quinoa Spaghetti
Another great gluten-free substitute! Quinoa spaghetti is made with a blend of organic quinoa and rice.
Lundberg Thin Stackers Red Rice & Quinoa
Quinoa has found its way into loads of awesome, nutritious snacks. These delightfully crispy quinoa and rice crackers are perfect for topping with hummus, vegan cheese, avocado, or whatever you feel like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quinoa better for you than rice?
Many consider quinoa to be a healthier alternative to rice. It has a different nutritional profile including a larger amount of fiber and protein. Unlike rice, quinoa is also a complete protein. Whilst there may be more nutritional benefits to eating quinoa over rice, we don’t like to pick favorites! Buy quinoa online and decide for yourself.
What can you add to quinoa to make it taste better?
Plain quinoa is best with some seasoning. Add salt, pepper, and whatever spices you fancy. Olive oil, lemon juice, and even hot sauce are all great additions. Quinoa is a great vehicle for flavor so you can make it suit your taste.
How do you cook quinoa?
Cooking quinoa varies slightly depending on what type of quinoa you are making. Quinoa should be cooked in a pan of water over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for around 15 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, keep it covered, and let it sit for a further 10 minutes. Take the lid off, fluff up with a fork and enjoy!
Timings may vary slightly depending on what color quinoa you choose. If in doubt, follow the instructions on the pack.
Is quinoa gluten-free?
Quinoa is a totally gluten-free grain so those who choose to avoid gluten, have celiac disease, or have wheat allergies can enjoy it. Quinoa is a wonderfully nutritious addition to any gluten-free diet.