An ancient seed native to the Andes Mountains, quinoa is an important food in the South American kitchen. In the last decade, it has gone from almost total obscurity in the rest of the world to a much publicized ‘superfood’.
When Rena Patten started writing books about quinoa – she has quite a string of books to her bow now – she was surprised to find people sprinkling quinoa seeds on dishes without cooking the quinoa first. Little wonder people found it so unpalatable.
The reality is that quinoa can be used in a whole variety of ways and in fact is available in other forms as well, such as flakes, flour and puffed form.
With her various books – Cooking with Quinoa, Quinoa for Families, and Everyday Quinoa – Patten has done much to educate people and show them how easy it is to include quinoa in their diet.
Her latest book, Quinoa Flakes, Flour & Seeds, published by New Holland, follows on from that, presenting a delicious assortment of recipes that are easy to prepare and which draw on ingredients that are readily available from the supermarket or greengrocer.
Perfect for those who are gluten intolerant
From Greek Lamb Cutlets with Minted Yoghurt, to an Italian Sausage and Sweet Potato Loaf, Quinoa Falafel and a Spicy Lamb Shank Soup, there is much to entice you to include quinoa in your repertoire.
Quinoa is the perfect food, by the way, if you are gluten/wheat intolerant, and Patten has even provided a Fresh Quinoa Pasta Dough recipe made with quinoa flour. Quinoa flour is ideal for baking, with recipes for Ginger Bread, Chocolate Orange Cake and Chocolate Chip Muffins also included in the book.
This colourful Mango and Pomegranate Salad can be made into a meal on its own by adding cooked chicken or prawns.
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FESTIVE MANGO AND POMEGRANATE SALAD
125 g (4 oz) quinoa, rinsed and drained
320 ml (11 fl oz) water
2 mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into chunks
½ red bell pepper (capsicum), cut into small chunks
½ yellow bell pepper (capsicum), cut into small chunks
½ orange bell pepper (capsicum), cut into small chunks
4 scallions (spring onions), sliced
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 large pomegranate
basil leaves, for garnish
juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
2–3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Add quinoa to a small saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
Combine quinoa in a bowl with the mangoes, cucumbers, capsicums, shallots and basil leaves.
Cut the pomegranate in half and, with back of a wooden spoon, bash most of the fruit and any juices straight out of both halves into the bowl with other ingredients. Reserve some of the fruit to use as garnish.
Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Toss well and garnish with extra basil leaves and reserved pomegranate seeds.
Recipe and images from Quinoa Flakes, Flour & Seeds, by Rena Patten, published by New Holland Publishers, and reproduced with their permission.
This story originally appeared in PS News online.