Hot Quinoa Porridge on a Rainy Sunday in Spring

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quinoaI went to visit Kath at work at the cafe today and they created this for my breakfast – quinoa porridge! My goodness, it was delicious and nutritious… More please!

Here’s my top 5 things to know about quinoa.

1. The quinoa seed contains a great bunch of nutrients, including protein, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and zinc.

2. Quinoa’s high fibre content keeps you feeling full, it contains all eight essential amino acids, and contains no gluten, making it a great choice for those with gluten intolerance.

3. You can buy it in seed, flake or flour form, and the seeds can be bought (in Australia) in white, red or black!

4. It can be used to make an incredible variety of dishes, from breakfast porridge to flatbread, in salads and in stews, for sweet or savoury dishes. Versatile!

5. Quinoa is quick and easy to cook. Just put 1 cup of rinsed quinoa into 1.5 cups of cold water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add a lid and let it simmer gently for 13 minutes without removing the lid. After 13 minutes, turn off the heat but still don’t remove the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. YUM! It’s interesting to experiment with other flavours – cook it in stock, add spices, garlic & rosemary…

A cool website that has all the in-depth nutritional information you could ever want about quinoa (with references!), can be found here: Quinoa nutritional information.

Here’s something I learned about quinoa today. It has been a staple food in South America since 3000BC by some estimates, and until recently was regarded as ‘food for the Indians’ who couldn’t afford to buy more expensive rice. But in the early 1990s it was identified by NASA researchers as a high protein food for potential space-colony dwellers, and after that its popularity grew exponentially. In Bolivia, where around 50% of global production occurs, farmers got rich. There is a downside though, as reported by Time magazine in 2012.¬†Quinoa has brought prosperity to Bolivian farmers, but their problems have also started to increase… Food for thought.

Now time for a recipe! Of course it’s a quinoa one. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Quinoa Porridge  РServes 3-4

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup milk of your choice

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cinnamon

1 roughly chopped very ripe banana

3 finely sliced dates

1 tsp sweetener or more to taste (coconut sugar/maple syrup/honey etc.)

1 pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans/walnuts

Put all ingredients except nuts into a saucepan and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until it almost reaches the desired thickness (it will thicken a bit more on standing). Top with nuts, banana slices and whatever else you desire!

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