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Quinoa is mostly found clinging to the mountain fields of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador and incredibly has been growing for domestic purposes since 3000BC. It forms a very important part of the natives’ staple diet, being nutritious, easily attainable and also extremely cheap – at least it used to be.

Pronounced keen-wa (not qui-no-a), the increasingly popular crop is a hugely profitable export for some South American countries. It has recently been hailed as a new superfood in the West, because it contains essential amino acids and high levels of calcium, phosphorous and iron. It doesn’t taste too bad either, with a subtle nutty flavour and interesting texture. Along with a quick cooking time, it seems to be an all-round winner and is regularly seen on restaurant menus and supermarkets.

If you’re tempted to try quinoa, give one of these recipes a try…

MIGHTY MACKEREL WITH MIXED TOMATO & QUINOA SALAD

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QUINOA, FETA & BROAD BEAN SALAD

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SOUTH AMERICAN-STYLE BRUNCH

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Remember – quinoa is not the be all and end all of healthy grains. There are many other grains and pulses that carry flavours as well as quinoa and are equally as  healthy. Brown rice, pearl barley, bulgar wheat and wholewheat couscous are all great substitutes.


Tags

quinoa, sustainability

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  • elbuenlector

    exagerado en los temores que expresa el autor de la columna. en Perú y bolivia a los mucho se tiene un consumo per capita de 5 kilos desde hace muchos años. no es un alimento vital en su dieta pero si tradicional. es MENTIRA eso de “que la mayoria de peruano y bolivianos no tienen las alternativas”- la quinua es un super alimento pero tambien existe decenas de maravillas gastronomicas que consumen los nativos del peru y bolivia para consumo personal.(maca, kiwicha, etc). tambien cae en una impresicion cuando advierte se esta “extinguiendo” las costumbres. vivimos en la globalizacion y las tecnicas agricolas SE MODERNIZAN. actualmente existen proyectos para cultivar la quinua en el desierto peruano ¿hay algo de malo en eso? No

  • lyndsey radford

    Unlike human greed to ruin things…..

  • Tina

    I know that there are people (children!) in Peru undernourished because they now sell the quinoa they once consumed. Instead they eat white rice which has less nutrients.

    Of course it brings prosperity, but is it enough to bring it to all? Does it give them enough to buy a proper amount of diary, meat or fish for the whole family daily?And is it possible to grow quinoa for the whole western world? We have enough foods with the mentioned nutrients. Only if for some reason you are not able to eat essential amino acids (diary, meat, fish) it should be consumed.