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12 things you should know about quinoa

quinoa roast cauliflower & quinoa salad

I’m always a little suspicious of anything that gets touted as a ‘superfood’. Which is why it took me a while to get around to trying quinoa.

My first encounter was with puffed quinoa as part of an exploration of new breakfast cereals. Not very inspiring unless you come from the school of thought that cereal should resemble styrofoam and be useful as a packing material.

But with my Dad’s gluten intolerance I decided to give the whole grains another chance. And I’m glad I did.

12 things you should know about quinoa

1. it’s delicious
No matter how ‘good for you’ a food is, I don’t include it in my diet unless it passes the taste test. Puffed quinoa won’t be starring on stonesoup anytime soon but the whole grains definitely make it. Slightly nutty and grainy, they’re something I could keep eating and eating.

2. it has a funny pronunciation
I always feel a tiny bit pretentious when I correct people but apparently it likes to be referred to as ‘keen-wah’.

3. it’s high in protein
A big positive for vegetarians as I’ve learned recently. It’s also pretty good on iron and fibre, which gets the nutritionists excited.

4. it’s gluten free
With my Dad being gluten intolerant, I’m always appreciative of new options to cook for him. He’s pretty keen on the rolled quinoa flakes for breakfast as well.

5. it needs washing before use
I read somewhere that the surface of quinoa contains a chemical called saponin that has a bitter soapy taste. Most commercial quinoa will already be washed and have the saponin removed but it’s a good idea to rinse it just before you use it in case there are residues.

6. it comes in different colours
Just like grapes, quinoa comes in different varieties. The most common is white, but there are also red and black. I’ve only ever come across the white variety.

7. it comes in different forms
Just like corn, it can be puffed or rolled into flakes or you can buy it whole.

8. it looks like a grain but is actually a seed

9. it has an interesting texture
The thing I love about quinoa is it’s texture. Something a little like barley with its chewiness, it also has a light fluffiness akin to well prepared couscous.

10. it’s better if you cook it
One of my first experiment with quinoa I just rinsed it in boiling water, tossed it in dressing and used it in a salad. It was edible but a little weird.

11. you can also eat the leaves
I’m yet to find a souce of fresh quinoa or it’s leaves but if you do apparently the leaves are edible. Something like chard or silverbeet.

12. it’s becoming more readily available
In Australia it’s even available in the ‘health food’ section of our supermarkets. Am sure any health food store worth its lentils would either already stock quinoa or be able to source it for you.

roast cauliflower & quinoa salad

[5 ingredients]
warm salad of roast cauliflower & quinoa

serves 2

Inspired by Cath Claringbold in the Good Weekend.

You could use all sorts of soft cheese in this recipe. Ricotta or goats curd would be lovely but I had some bocconcini that needed eating up and I really enjoyed it’s slightly chewy texture to contrast the cauliflower & quinoa. If you were wanting to go cheese free some roasted almonds would be a great substitution.

Wonderfully satisfying as a main course salad on it’s own, it would also work well without the cheese as a side dish to fish or roast chook.

I used tomato paste to flavour and slightly colour the quinoa but you could ditch it and replace the water with vegetable or chicken stock if you liked.

If you can’t find quinoa, you could substitute in your favourite cooked grain such as couscous, barley or brown rice. You’ll need to adjust the amount of water and cooking times though.

1/2 large cauliflower (approx 350g / 12oz)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped
large handful bocconcini, torn into bight size pieces

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut cauliflower into bight size little trees. Place in a roasting dish, drizzle with some olive oil, season and roast, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is golden on the edges and cooked through.

Rinse quinoa well and place in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water and the tomato paste. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Season.

Divide cauliflower between two warm plates, scatter over quinoa, cheese and chives.

roast cauliflower

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{ 228 comments… add one }

  • Claire 7 June, 2010, 7:24 pm

    I haven’t gone down the quinoa aisle yet… but you’ve (re) convinced me on lentils, so I shall hunt some down. My other half is away at the moment, so it’s the perfect time to experiment! Plus, anything that roasts cauliflower is on its way to a winner anyway.

  • FOODESSA 7 June, 2010, 8:19 pm

    I enjoy cooking often with this very tasty and yet incredibly nutrional grain. The red variety is my favourite. I have yet to post a recipe with it though. As soon as I do…I will certainly mention your blog so that they can come read your 12 great things people should find out about this grain.
    Thanks for sharing this interesting info and recipe.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  • Wei-Wei 7 June, 2010, 8:22 pm

    You make me want to try to hunt down quinoa in China! Gosh, it was hard enough hunting down CHICKPEAS! (Yes, chickpeas.) I’m trying to hunt down lentils, too. :(

    Wei-Wei

  • Johanna 7 June, 2010, 10:57 pm

    Oh, I love quinoa. I’m an gluten intolerant myself and is glad that there is at least one ‘grain’ I can eat, since it’s always cous-cous this and bulgur that. Love your blog by the way!

  • tracyinbarcelona 7 June, 2010, 11:07 pm

    This sounds great! I love quinoa cold or room temperature in a summer salad tossed with roughly chopped arugula, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also recently heard it’s pronounced keen-wah, but I have a hard time switching from keen-o-a…

  • Heather (eatwelleatgreen) 7 June, 2010, 11:42 pm

    Quinoa is special because it’s a complete source of protein, not like a lot of vegetarian proteins that require combinations of foods for completion.

    That’s news to me about the green leaves. I’d love to try it but from what I’ve seen, all the quinoa in Australia comes from South America, so I don’t like my chances.

    I’ve been using quinoa more and more in my cooking. This dish looks like another to add to my list, thank you.

  • Amy 8 June, 2010, 12:19 am

    Sounds and looks great! The market near me carries quinoa in their bulk bins and I’ve tried it, but didn’t have any really good recipes for it before. Question: What kind of cheese is bocconcini? I’ve never heard of it. Wondering what might be a good substitute?

  • caroline 8 June, 2010, 12:26 am

    hi, thanks for this post. Cooking with quinoa certainly is a curious thing, and after some experimentation I’ve settled upon rinsing, followed by slightly dry-toasting in the saucepan before adding more water to cook. Also, white quinoa seems to particularly like spices such as tumeric, fresh ginger and garlic, whole brown mustard seeds and panch phora thrown in while cooking… and carrots roasted with sumac and lemon juice :>

    In contrast, I have yet to find a more-than-palatable idea for red quinoa (it’s a bit weird plain, and with berries etc, and used as the white variety), so I’d be fascinated to hear your thoughts on it!

  • Jean Sarauer 8 June, 2010, 1:24 am

    I bought a bag from a natural food store and got hooked. I mainly use it as a base for veggie stir fries, and it’s been a big hit with the rest of the family. The protein benefits are also a big plus for me.

  • G 8 June, 2010, 3:23 am

    What a coincidence – just made up some quinoa last night. Nothing fancy just cooked with chicken broth and added some toasted almonds and served it up as a side dish.

    I usually just cook it with water as a base for lunch salads. Just use any combination of veggies and dressing that you’d use for your fav couscous salad. I find that salads with quinoa (higher protien more interesting flavour/texture) are better for lunches than couscous salads so I don’t even bother buying couscous anymore.

    Be sure to check the label though – even though quinoa is gluten-free some are made in facilities where they also process wheat products.

  • barbara 8 June, 2010, 6:47 am

    My husband is not a big fan of quinoa and I love it. He’s away for 4 days and I’m planning on eating lots of quinoa this week. I buy the red and black variety at Woolworths. I found the black goes well with some grated cheese added.

  • Bria @ West of Persia 8 June, 2010, 7:34 am

    Lovely recipe. I have a lot of quinoa on hand that I really need to cook more often. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • amber 8 June, 2010, 8:05 am

    I used to start work at 8.00 am every day, and I found, having eaten breakfast before 7.00 am, that I would get so hungry at work pretty early. I went through all sorts of toasts and cereals, but quinoa seemed to work well for me. I used to cook some before bed and then eat it drizzled with maple syrup and some milk or cream in the morning. It would help keep me feeling fuller for longer (probably because it’s high in protein). So I can vouch for the whole grain making a very satisfying breakfast. The flakes I find quite chalky and bitter? I really like the grains prepared with lemon, but I haven’t bought any for ages. Must give this salad a try!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) 8 June, 2010, 8:19 am

    I REALLY like quinoa – and have been using it for a while now! I am glad to see that it is becoming more readily available!

  • Emily 8 June, 2010, 9:50 am

    I am a fan of quinoa, largely because I don’t eat wheat, so it’s a great alternative grain for me (though as you say, it is actually a seed not a grain).

    I have tried all the types of quinoa but I like the white the best. I had assumed that red or black quinoa is better for you, but I did some research and I think they are all the same.

    I eat quinoa as an alternative to couscous, in salads and as a porridge for a warming winter brekky, with plenty of natural yoghurt, fruit and honey. Yum! A couple of recipes for quinoa are on my blog…

  • Dee 8 June, 2010, 10:29 am

    My whole family loves quinoa. I usually make a pilaf as a side dish – onions, garlic in a little olive oil, add quinoa to toast, pour in chicken stock. I’ve used it for salads, too.

    We usually get white. Tried the red and wasn’t crazy about it.

    My niece has celiac and loves guinoa pasta. We can get it in the grocery store health food section.

  • Bronwyn 8 June, 2010, 11:31 am

    Love quinoa – having it for lunch today actually! So easy to cook up the night before and mix with roast veg/salad ingredients for a work lunch. As my husband is gluten intolerant, I use quinoa in recipes such as tabbouleh or where bulgur/cous cous is required (and sometimes barley too). Great to use in a quick vege pilaf at night when you can’t be bothered cooking much. Hulled millet works in the same vein too and is just as easy to cook (doesn’t need pre rinsing). Both white and red quinoa is readily available now at Woolworths under the Macro label although it is expensive – I find white quinoa cheaper at my local organics store in the bulk bin sections.
    Seed is easy to source in Australia if you’ve got the space and want to grow it yourself in order to try the leaves.

  • Alex 8 June, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Cauliflower. I love this stuff. The photo is making my stomach rumble and it is still 1 hour until lunchtime here at work.

    Quinoa greens are actually VERY VERY easy to grow – I tossed some of the seeds into the vege patch ‘just to see’ when I was still living in Sydney and again when I moved over here. I live in Norway , near the ocean,where it is not too cold and was able to pick off the leaves to eat very soon. The plants sprouted within a week!!! Birds were a problem though – they liked the seeds ALOT!!! The plants produced alot of beautiful flowers and then alot of seeds – and look a bit tall and straggly though so next time I will put them in pots and start them off indoors and then train them as I would tomato plants. I would recommend using alot of leaves in one go to stop the plant from getting so tall annd out of hand and not be so gentle with the plant – it really takes off, even if you go on holiday and forget to get someone to water it. The leaves are great in salad or for brekkie with black pepper and a nicely poached egg. YUm. Still hungry – must get off this page with the photo of a plate of food.

  • Mark @ Cafe Campana 8 June, 2010, 6:53 pm

    Mmmm interesting. I’m still a little sceptical, it seems confused its not a grain but a seed but is cooked like a grain. I may have to give it a go.

  • Jennifer in NYC 8 June, 2010, 11:26 pm

    What a timely post!

    I got into the swing of summer by preparing a cold quinoa salad for dinner last night. I mixed in plenty of fresh veggies, diced leftover chicken and made a great mustard vinaigrette. Yum!

  • jules 9 June, 2010, 5:49 pm

    thanks for the comments everyone

    will keep the cold salad idea on hold for december down here – thanks jennifer

    mark – think of it like rhubarb that’s really a vegetable but we use it like a fruit – the important thing is that it’s delicious and good for you

    alex – love that you’ve grown your own – who would have thought – definitely on the list for when I get my own veggie garden happening – can’t wait to try the leaves

    will keep an eye out for quinoa pasta dee – thanks

    barbara
    I’ve been shopping at woolies in cooma and they haven’t expanded to the red and black but will keep an eye out. love that you’re making the most of your husband being away!

    G
    good point about checking the label re potential for gluten contamination

    caroline – like the dry roasting idea thanks. haven’t had any experience with red quinoa myself. although if it doesn’t taste great on it’s own maybe it needs strong flavours to contrast / mask

    thanks claudia – look forward to reading your quinoa post

  • Maija Haavisto 10 June, 2010, 3:10 am

    Quinoa also makes for a nice porridge or pudding (similar to rice pudding, but much healthier).

    Heather: The complete protein thing is actually a myth that was proven wrong decades ago.

  • RisaG 10 June, 2010, 7:48 am

    I adore quinoa. I was a vegetarian many years ago and that is when I started using it. I didn’t know to rinse it in those days. It tasted awful. Since I found out you should soak it, it is so much more wonderful. I try and cook it every other week instead of rice. I have found a company that makes a mixture of quinoa and that I can find at my MIL’s supermarket. It is like Rice a Roni but healthy.

    I also used to bake a bread that had some cooked quinoa in it. I have tom search out that recipe.

    Thanks for the great article and interesting recipe.

  • Emily 10 June, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Thanks for this post… I recently bought quinoa and have been trying to learn more about it before I experiment!

  • Alex 10 June, 2010, 4:39 pm

    I know this has nothing to do with quinoa – but it is confirmed! I am going to Barcelona tomorrow. I lov emy job :-) I can’t wait to start eating jamon – I have just reread your other Barcelona posts for further insipration. I can’t wait. Last time I was in Spain I took my rolley-bag suitcase with me to the Jamoneria and the butcher and I tried out as many legs of jamon iberico as we could unti we found one that fit into my bag (on a diagonal).

    I am staying right near the Boqueria market and intend to eat as much as posible. Chorizo, tomato and sardines are some of my favorite foods. Packing the runners and togs so I can fit in as many delectable treats as possible. I am so excited. Jules, while you were in Barcelona, did you find any places that vacuum pack jamon so I can it back with me (obviously not back to Australia)??? My husnabd refuses ti let me take a whole leg back this time. He got a fright when he opened my bag and found a leg last time.

  • Jessica 10 June, 2010, 5:06 pm

    Thanks for all the info on quinoa! I’ve only cooked with it a few times, but am always on the lookout for new recipes!

  • tigerfish 10 June, 2010, 5:25 pm

    I am into my recent exploration to quinoa too :) ….I usually combine them with millet (another seed?) and cook them in a congee. Seen red quinoa recently too….trying soon. Thanks for sharing all you know abt quinoa. Love it!

  • jules 10 June, 2010, 6:21 pm

    alex,
    very jealous that you’re heading to barcelona. there’s a place called jamonismo that do vacuum packed jamon and it’s excellent. I wrote an ebook that’s a food lovers guide to barcelona – you might find it useful http://breadshoes.com/2010/05/barcelona-for-food-lovers/ lucky lucky you.

    maija
    great idea to use quinoa as a pudding. will have to try that. thanks!

  • Alex 10 June, 2010, 8:22 pm

    Thanks! Just bought the ebook – it is definitely very useful. I tend to plan trips around meals as well and given I know I only have 7 days in Barcelona was starting to stress I could not fit everything in. This gives me a chance to stay focussed when things get a little out of hand….and I can show the husband that icecream for dinner is a reality for other people as well :-)

    Thanks for the advice on the jamonismo shop – I just looked them up online and see that it is possible to arrange tastings. I think I will have a very very full week ahead of me.

  • Shari 11 June, 2010, 6:35 am

    Trader Joe’s carries it in the states.

  • Kate 11 June, 2010, 7:42 pm

    this is a great idea i love quinoa!!!!!

  • Denise K Zimmerman 12 June, 2010, 6:40 am

    I am one that likes to try new things. Especially when it comes to new light easy prepared foods.

  • Forager 14 June, 2010, 5:12 pm

    I was introduced to quinoa in South America where it’s a staple. I had it in both soups and on its own like a cous cous but the Andean ability to cook was a bit lacking and your recipe looks much more delicious than the things we ate!

  • Wendy (The Local Cook) 16 June, 2010, 11:31 pm

    LOVE quinoa. Especially after I learned you’re supposed to rinse it off LOL.

  • Emily 17 June, 2010, 12:52 pm

    I bought Red Quinoa from Woolworths last week – in the new ‘macro organics’ section :)

    I’ve yet to try it, and was actually searching for white quinoa! I’m also yet to try cooking with it, bought it on a bit of a whim after reading about all the benefits! Best looking recipe I have found for red quinoa so far is red quinoa and black beans over at epicurious… I’ll let you know how my experiments with it go!!

  • José Raeiro 22 June, 2010, 8:50 am

    It was also researched as a possibility for astronaut food on long term missions due to its unique high protein content. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19940015664_1994015664.pdf

  • jikaus 27 June, 2010, 3:18 pm

    Does anyone know what happens to quinoa when it is cooked or toasted on high temperature? Does it lose some of its nutrition or not?

  • Terry Elisabeth 4 July, 2010, 9:44 am

    This looks so good. I should make it for lunch at the beach tomorrow !

  • Carlin 20 July, 2010, 1:57 am

    You should seek out the red and black varieties as they are far more flavorful and, I hear, more nutritious. Cooking quinoa does make it more palatable but also reduces it nutritive value. So cook as little as possible!

  • Caz 19 August, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Argh! I’ve been pronouncing it kwanoah. I keep trying to think of it as keenwah but it’s not working. I’ve been using it instead of rice in my creamed rice recipe. Took a little while to get used to but before long I was downing bowls of the stuff.

  • Gillie 31 August, 2010, 10:05 am

    I have been throwing a small handfull of the whole white variety into my porridge before I microwave it in the morning. Love the nutty flavour it adds. It retains most of its crunch, just softening slightly. I have found that I have felt more full for longer. I think this recipe might have inspired me to use it in a savoury context. Can’t wait!

  • Karen 15 September, 2010, 2:03 am

    I was curious does anyone have a good way to wash quinoa? The biggest reason I haven’t used it since the first time I cooked with it, was it just is impossible to rinse. I put it in the strainer (like you use for straining pulp out of OJ….so quite small), but even still quinoa are so tiny they would fall through.

    I’d love to try this recipe!

  • jules 15 September, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Hi Karen

    I use a fine sieve and it works fine. Hope that helps!

  • zim'ster 16 September, 2010, 10:48 pm

    hey thanks for the posts and the lovely pictures that you kindly added along with your recipes. The facts about the Quinoa are very interesting and its good to see something as nice as what you have written about…..i really liked it. And being gluten intolerant myself i am trying to incorporate it into my diet, as i did try it once and Loved it. So thank you for the post that you have created.

  • Operation Jam Jar 27 September, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I love quinoa!

    I pronounced it wrong in a health food shop just last week, how embarrassing.

    It is great to use instead of rice to go with a stir-fry or curry.

  • Karen 30 November, 2010, 11:09 pm

    I make a morning porridge with white or red quionoa. I cook a batch of quinoa on Sunday and then every morning take about 1 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of thawed mixed berries, warm that up together in the micro for a minute and then add a few dashes of rice milk. Makes a great porridge that really carries me through until lunch time. And if anyone has problems with regularity – eat quiona! It really helps regulate your digestion. At least that is what I’ve found.

  • jules 1 December, 2010, 7:12 am

    karen
    thanks for the breakfast suggestion – sounds delicious

  • suzanne 28 December, 2010, 10:17 am

    Heard a lot about Quinoa puffs, so thought I would try them, just bought Naturefirst Quinoa puffs from Woolies and to be honest have no idea on how to cook them or even if I have too..
    Could anyone help me ?

  • jules 28 December, 2010, 8:30 pm

    Hi Suzanne
    I haven’t eaten quinoa puffs but they are cooked – kinda liked rice bubbles or puffed wheat. So you can eat them as is. Not sure what else you’d do with them – you could try in a savoury salad – might be nice if they soak up the dressing.

  • Beryl 14 January, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I have not bought quinoa as yet, just thinking about it and decided to learn more about it. After reading the posts I can’t wait to buy some and try it. If the seeds are so small they slip through a strainer – perhaps using those coffee thingo’s that fit in the pots when making coffee…or use a Muslin cloth! now I’m just going to have to try it out myself to find out huh?

  • jules 18 January, 2011, 3:59 pm

    oh yay beryl!
    so glad I’ve convinced you.
    and love that you’re already brainstroming solutions to the tiny seeds
    enjoy! enjoy!

  • Donna 29 January, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Love your site and the 12 things to know about Quinoa. Just a note and I am new to the grain and have been just reading up on it, it is better cooked I agree. But it is best germinated and eaten in cold foods like salads. The nutrition goes through the roof and it only takes about 2 to 4 hours to do so in a pure glass of water. I just thought I would share. Love your Stonesoup! Keep up the great work!!!

  • jules 30 January, 2011, 6:45 am

    Hi Donna
    Thanks for the idea to germinate the quinoa – hadn’t thought of that – will have to try it out!

  • Margaret Nixon 16 February, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Hi, I am gluten intolerant also, so am keen to try quinoa. Salicylates also cause me lots of problems, so does anyone know the salicylate content of quinoa. Regards Margaret

  • Todd 10 March, 2011, 4:00 am

    Funny, I bought some here in Netherlands, but got stuck with Dutch cooking instructions….so it still sits there. Thanks for reminding me it is behind the various lentils, black beans, oats, et al in my cupboard. Will have to give this one a try. If you can recommend and others….much appreciated. Cheers!

  • kim Warner 25 March, 2011, 5:38 am

    We love Quinoa. We boil it in organic chicken or beef broth. Gives it even more flavor for our curry dishes that we make instead of using rice. We literally eat it many times a week.

  • sue sanders 6 April, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Hi there, I have just had my first experience trying to cook Quinoa. I bought the puffed variety and put it in my rice cooker. 1 cup Quinoa, 2 cups rice.
    Oh dear, it looks like wallpaper paste and tastes about the same. Please help, i am a novice and in need of advice about the puffed variety.
    thanks Sue Sanders.

  • jules 7 April, 2011, 5:50 am

    hi sue!
    My first tip is to give up on puffed quinoa – you can use the rest for packing like you would use styrofoam.

    look for unpuffed quinoa and try cooking it as per the recipe above – it’s a whole different beast and nothing wallpapery at all.

  • MARIE 28 April, 2011, 6:31 am

    IS QUINOA CONSIDERED A STARCH???

  • jules 28 April, 2011, 10:52 pm

    Marie
    The nutritional profile is mostly carbohydrate and lots of protein so similar to lentils. So I think of it as starchy. Yes

  • Rosemary 15 May, 2011, 6:34 am

    Red & Black quinoa can be bought in bulk at the Adelaide Central Market from the Goods and Grains Stall.

  • Don 9 June, 2011, 4:58 am

    I recently brought a packet of puffed quinoa and put 2 desert spoons in a micowave dish together with equal amount of desicated rolled oats and add milk to soak overnight. Microwaved for 4/5 minutes, served with honey and skim milk. I enjoyed it very much and have this every other morning!

  • rita 12 June, 2011, 8:48 pm

    I just want to know if quinoa flakes need to be rinsed,and how long to cook for.

  • jules 13 June, 2011, 2:28 pm

    rita
    No I don’t think you need to rinse quinoa flakes because they would have been processed to turn them into flakes. In terms of cooking time I’m afraid I can’t help.. but imagine they would be quicker than whole quinoa.

  • Kathleen 14 June, 2011, 2:09 pm

    I had quinoa for breakfast. One part grain to 3 parts water, simmer for 15 minutes, I throw in a bunch of frozen blueberries. It a nice change from oats.

  • Donna 24 June, 2011, 3:40 am

    Hi Jules,

    I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian and never had Quinoa before and after reading the comments, I would love to try this. Can I purchase it in Publix stores?

  • Sarah 24 June, 2011, 10:13 pm

    If anyone is curious to try quinoa leaf as a salad vegetable, keep an eye out for quinoa’s close relative White Goosefoot which grows as a weed in high nitrogen soils. I spotted some in someone’s vege garden near my home in Melbourne the other day. Or maybe they were growing quinoa itself?

    Info about white goosefoot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenopodium_album

    Also for those who live near a Thomas Dux (Sydney and Melbourne), the stores stock the Macro brand Red, White, and Black quinoas in 500g packets. (I work at Thomas Dux). There is usually a good read-made quinoa salad in the deli too.

  • jules 29 June, 2011, 12:49 pm

    donna
    I’m afraid I don’t knoe publix stores… I’m in Australia… but any decent health food store should be able to help you out

  • Grant 29 June, 2011, 6:28 pm

    Be careful eating the leaves! I have read the wikipedia page on QUINOA which suggests the leaves and stem have a high oxalic acid content rendering them poisonous!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

  • jules 29 June, 2011, 6:30 pm

    thanks for the heads up on the leaves grant!

  • Carla 14 July, 2011, 4:33 am

    Help! Goitrogenic foods like soy (no matter how it is fixed), cruciferous vegetables (the cabbage family — kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, etc.), peanuts, cherries, peaches, strawberries, etc., are not good, in fact bad, for people like me with hypothyroidism. We take medicine every day to get our thyroids working normally, and goitrogenic foods interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid. Quinoa is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, but is quinoa goitrogenic?

  • jules 14 July, 2011, 9:34 am

    Carla

    Sorry but I’m not aware of the goitrogenic status of quinoa.. although I thought it was classed as a grass not a vegetable.. but I could be wrong..

    All the best with your search!
    J

  • pia 18 July, 2011, 11:21 am

    I discovered quinoa after a recent trip to South America, and I can’t get enough of it! Sharing with you a fantastic site for quinoa recipes http://www.comocomecami.com/ . You’ll find other healthy dishes too (and great photos)!

  • Charles Bushby 25 July, 2011, 1:16 am

    Having just heard of Quinoa and read your web page am pretty excited to receive help and would love to receive books , recipes etc..have pretty big health issues and am sure quinoa ++++will probably help me. Jules Clancy can you help me? Thank you>>Charlie

  • clothespin 8 August, 2011, 11:04 pm

    Hi. I’m a botanist so I thought I’d clarify a few mistakes in the post and comments…

    Carla – While not sure about specifics of if quinoa will hurt your thyroid, your classification of some plants is not correct. Kale, brussell sprouts, cabbage, broccoli… are all in the Brasicaceae family and as such, are what you call cruciferous. Spinach, beets and quinoa are in the Chenopodiaceae family however and so are not closely related to spinach. As such, I doubt that they have the same issues for you that the broccoli’s might have. Also, I come from a very long line of thyroid sufferers, all on thyroid meds – and I’d never heard about avoiding certain foods for this reason. I’m sure that you’re right, but it is new to me…

    Jules, your #8 fact that “it looks like a grain but is actually a seed” is almost right… Grains ARE seeds! But, grains are a specific seed type that are only found in the grass family (Poaceae) and have a specific structure that is unique to the grasses. As previously stated, quinoa is in the beet family, which is very far away genetically from grasses.

    Quinoa originates in the Andes of South America but is now being grown in the US in the northern states like Montana. Other plants that you might know from the same family are amaranth, which has a long historical use as a pseudo-grain.

    We LOVE quinoa and here in the US it is readily found at Costco for $2/pound organic! Even our local little grocery has it, but for a higher price. Whole Foods also has the 3 different colors of quinoa and they are tasty…

    Even my 3 year old daughter loves the stuff and we rarely use rice anymore as we much prefer the quinoa. It’s got lots of fiber and cooks much faster than brown rice. Though, I should caution to NOT use this in a rice cooker. Quinoa has a spiral shaped part to the seed that separates upon cooking and will clog up your fancy rice cooker. Just saying…

  • jules 9 August, 2011, 10:04 am

    Clothespin
    Thanks for correcting things from a botanical perspective – appreciate you taking the time!

  • Matthew 9 August, 2011, 5:33 pm

    When I went slow-carb I experimented with quinoa a little as a substitute for rice and found it delicious and especially filling too! I often combine it with my beef, broccoli and spinach stir-fry that has become a staple of the diet for me.

    http://matthew-livingston.blogspot.com/2011/05/stir-fry-beef-with-broccoli-and-spinach.html

  • Suni Ferrer 10 August, 2011, 4:18 am

    I made this yesterday. I used red quinoa, rinsed well, and prepared it with chicken broth instead of water. To tell you the truth, I’m about to give up on quinoa, it tasted awful, texture was good though. I may try one more time using plain water.

  • Michelle 15 August, 2011, 1:26 pm

    just starting to use quinoa a bit more… interesting facts – thank you everyone for your input!
    Am interested to try red and black as well – I’m in Adelaide and shop online via bananablue.com.au and have noticed they have a few different types including the black and also cereals…. might try. Also, my lovely online greengrocer has 1kg quinoa for $10.95/kg, organic from Tassie! Not bad, esp buying Australian.
    Also, I love that spiral part of the seed that seems to separate when cooked – looks cute!!
    Finally, does anyone have instructions on how to cook in the microwave?

  • Pete 24 August, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Hi Jules
    Love your site!
    Just thought I’d share something I learned recently regarding quinoa, which is that you can cook it in your rice cooker, exactly like rice!

    Much easier than doing it on the stove or microwave I think – just use the same proportions of quinoa/water (or stock) as you would making rice, press the button and forget it! Perfect results every time.

    Thanks for the great site and inspiring recipes!

    Cheers
    Pete

  • Kathy 4 September, 2011, 6:49 pm

    I just tried Quinoa for the first time and I love it! I put a 1/4 cup of puffed quinoa in 1 fat free plain yogurt – YUM! Delicious and VERY filling. Maybe next time I’ll add just a tablespoon or so to my yog. I’m pretty sure you would NOT want to cook the puffed, nor the rolled variety. I would use those like breakfast cereal. Can’t wait to try the plain quinoa cooked like rice. I need to thank my niece, who just got her degree in nutrition, for introducing me to this great food!

  • Charlynn Caudill 9 September, 2011, 6:22 pm

    Hello,
    I recently moved to Kuwait and am looking to find Quinoa. Do you know if they would call it by any other name in this part of the world? Quinoa, when I ask for it, seems to be confusing to them. Any input would be fantastic.

    Thank you

  • Lois 18 September, 2011, 8:49 pm

    Hi Jules: I love your whole blog and all the wonderful recipes. I also loved finding out all about qinoa ( I hope I spelled it right!) I had read its ‘not a grain’ but could not figure out what it might possible be! Thanks for clarifying.

  • jules 19 September, 2011, 6:15 pm

    Charlynn
    Sorry, the only name I know it by is Quinoa.

    Lois
    Thanks for taking the time to say hello! Really glad you’re enjoying Stonesoup

  • Barb 20 September, 2011, 11:58 pm

    Hi everyone :)

    One of my daughters is gluten intolerant and I am always looking for different things for her to try. I found Quinoa at Costco. Thank you for all your tips and recipes :)

  • Shelley 23 September, 2011, 5:51 pm

    I love Quinoa. First heard about it on the tv show and website Good Chef Bad Chef. You can get it in Coles, Woolworths and IGA. Macro whole foods has it in their range, I prefer the black variety as its nuttier, but I made up a mixed blend that also has millet which looks great for salads and dinner parties. I always cook it in the rice cooker. And love making a pink salad with cubed beetrooot, coleslaw dressing and finely diced chives. its nice on sandwiches as well. Love the site.

  • Seb@SlimmingSkinny 1 October, 2011, 10:33 pm

    I love your post about quinoa (This has go to be one of the most informative and interesting post I have read.) The quinoa in your picture looks like chilli seeds! I am so tempted to try the recipe although I might skip out on the chives (can never get myself past the taste!) Besides being great for those with gluten intolerance, quinoa is also a great source of manganese and magnesium that can helps to relieve migraine! What’s there not to love about it!

  • Giulibel 2 October, 2011, 9:18 pm

    Was briefly watching yet another cooking show which discussed the health benefits of Quinoa so decided to give it a go. Picked up a packet from woolworths but had no idea how to cook it so I just winged it. Hubby loved it (hubby usually turns up his nose at anything new!).
    I basically cooked it like risotto. I sauted an onion, mushroom, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, bacon in some olive oil then tossed in some quinoa. Stirred it til coated fully in oil then added chicken stock a little at a time until cooked through.
    I’m going to try it in soups.
    Glad to hear it can be cooked in the rice cooker.

  • Robi 21 October, 2011, 8:06 am

    Hi there,
    I have been mixing the Quinoa with berries, basil, honey, spinach and yoghurt as a breakfast food and it is delicious!
    :) Robi

  • David 23 October, 2011, 2:16 pm

    Gr8 intro to quinoa. I need to have a low GI diet. Can you use quinoa flour for making breadf.

    Thanks

    D

  • jules 24 October, 2011, 5:20 pm

    Thanks David
    Quinoa, while high in protein doesn’t have the gluten needed for good bread making… so it’s not going to have the same texture as wheat based breads.

  • Trish 27 October, 2011, 8:18 pm

    Love Quinoa,cook itand then use it for so many recipes. i love it mixed with Kefir Quark….mmm and a little fruit or maybe maple syrup & some not spinkle,such a guilt free desert!! I grind it in my coffee grinder and add 1/4 cup to my G.F Bread along with the other combination of flours.Adds to the flavour and the nutrition.
    Thanks for your recipes etc

  • Greg 4 November, 2011, 7:24 am

    Have been into Quinoa since a South American Trip a few years ago. One of my favourite ways of using it is in a Tabouli or a Fatoosh instead of some or all of the Bhulgar (cracked Wheat). Adds extra nuttiness and great texture to it.

  • Kelly 11 November, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Deeks bakery in Canberra used Quinoa in their grain free breads (from memory) and I think they have some limited shipping.

  • Timmy 15 November, 2011, 8:50 am

    I don’t think that anyone has mentioned it, but the best way to cook Quinoa that I’ve tried is to rinse it, boil it for ten minutes, then rinse it again, and finally to steam it for about 5 minutes, or until it has dried out a bit and is nice and fluffy, but still ‘al dente’.

    Works a charm and it’s bloody easy. Every time I’ve tried the absorption method my quinoa has ended up as a gluggy mess, even in my rice cooker, but this worked perfectly.

    Love the blog Jules, have been reading it for a while, first time commenting though.

  • Seraphina 22 November, 2011, 1:21 am

    Another thing about quinoa that I love: It cooks really quickly! One of my favourite meals after a long day at school is just a bowl of warm cooked quinoa mixed with edamame beans and dressed with miso/mirin/dash of chilli sauce. Comfort food

  • Debbie 6 December, 2011, 6:19 am

    I’ve been grain free for several months. Quinoa is a staple for me. I use it like oats for breakfast, rice for other meals, and as a flour in baked goods, and even for pasta. A google search will net you recipes for all of these things. Quinoa flour is often used in combination with other “flours” in baked good recipes.

  • Matt 19 December, 2011, 11:20 am

    Grant:

    There is nothing in that article indicating that the leaves are poisonous as of 12/18/11. It is true that eating the leaves in excess can be toxic, but you would have to eat an awful lot to get to that point. Remember that anyone on earth can edit a Wikipedia article, and it is a good starting point, but if you are serious about researching a subject, you need to look further :)

  • Rach 30 December, 2011, 6:33 am

    My partner bought me the book ‘You are what you eat ‘ by Dr Gillian Mc Keith and she talks about quinoa. She talks about it being a vegetable protein that is very easy to digest and is one of the best kidney/bladder foods. It contains all the essential amino acids and has a far lower content than most meat. I am excited about trying it.

  • Isabella Koldras 1 January, 2012, 2:03 pm

    I love your Stone Soup. Here’s another healthy meal: Quinoa with Porcini.
    Ingredients: A handful (20g) of sliced dried porcini, 1 stick of celery, small onion
    and carrot, 2 cloves garlic, 2tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup well washed quinoa,
    1 chopped ripe tomatoe, a handful of chopped parsley and grated parmesan.
    Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Soak(5min) porcini in 1 cup of cold water ; before
    using, drain and squeeze. Finely chop the celery, garlic, onion and carrot.
    Heat olive oil in a saucepan and fry the vegetables for 2 min (or until soft).
    Add washed quinoa and tomatoe and cover with water ( or mix water and chicken stock). Simmer for 15-20min, season, add parsley. Serve with grated parmesan.
    A Happy New Year!

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