Quinoa, The Perfect Gluten Free Food

When I learned that Quinoa (Keen Wa) was related to beets and spinach, (and tumbleweed, just for a mad trivia fact) I have to say that I was genuinely surprised! This lovely seed that has a texture very similar to couscous is easy to prepare and can be used in place of couscous or rice. Quinoa is a pseudocereal, meaning that it’s not in the grass family, but rather a seed like buckwheat which makes it safe for wheat and gluten free diets. It’s also packed full of protein, calcium, and iron. It’s possibly the most complete protein in the plant world.

Quinoa was a very important part of Aztec culture and was followed in importance by corn…this makes me wonder how much healthier we’d be if quinoa replaced corn in our society!  I think we’d all be much healthier for it! Quinoa was the food the helped me get through the worst of my allergies when I wasn’t sure what I could safely eat and most proteins were OUT for me.  It is, in my book a food WIN.

It’s very easy to prepare, you just need to make sure that you rinse it well before you use it as it is covered by saponins, which make it a bit bitter if you don’t rinse it.  This also makes quinoa unpalatable to birds and insects, which allows it to be grown without pesticides. What’s that?  Another…win?  One of my fave ways to prepare quinoa is to couple it with coconut milk, basil, and random veg.  With the addition of a little wheat-free tamari and lemon or lime juice, it’s the perfect one pot meal and gives you energy that will last all day long.  Try it!

250g quinoa rinsed and drained
Olive Oil
Leeks, Onions, Fennel, Veg of your chosing
2tbsp Wheat-Free Tamari
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

On medium heat, add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of your hot pan.  Add in chopped veg and basil and saute until slightly translucent and shiny.  Add rinsed and drained quinoa and mix with veg.  Add tamari, stirring to coat the mixture throughly, and then add in coconut milk and juice of half a lime or lemon.  If you like a stronger lime or lemon flavour, add the fruit rind as well.  Bring to a boil for about 5 mins, cover and turn off heat.  Let steam for 25 mins until quinoa is nice and fluffy.  If you feel there isn’t enough liquid, you can always add a bit of boiled water…stir and recover.  Add your salt and pepper at the end.  YUM!

I realise I’ve given you yet another coconut milk recipe….so here’s a few from the Beeb.  Enjoy and feel free to share your own recipes and ideas!

Quinoa recipes from BBC Good Food


CATEGORIES : Nutrition, Recipes/ AUTHOR : Lo.

2 comments to “Quinoa, The Perfect Gluten Free Food”

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  1. Just saw you have this blog! Yay!

    Quinoa has been a staple for me since 2007. I buy it in bulk at CostCo in Montreal, and keep it in the freezer. The supply I get is pre-rinsed and so not bitter, a breeze to prepare. However, before I found that supply, I used a trick from a chef to take away the bitterness (and to get some nutty flavor at the same time). Just roast the Quinoa in a dry pan for a few minutes (before it browns).

  2. Thanks Cris, so glad that you’re tuned in to Quinoa. Total brain food isn’t it? Thanks for posting your tip for getting rid of the bitterness as well!

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American born Lobelia isn’t just your typical singer-songwriter. A multi-instrumentalist who worked as a studio musician for 10+ years, she has won multiple awards for her songwriting, has been featured in Billboard Magazine, and was one of the original Women of MP3.COM in the early days of the Internet. In the UK for 10+ years now, she hosts several acclaimed songwriter nights at Tower of Song, shortlisted by the PRS as one of Birmingham’s best small venues. She can sometimes be seen performing with celebrated solo? bassist, Steve Lawson. (aka Mr. Lo)An advocate for sustainable touring, she travels the world performing at house concerts and small venues.