I have been tempted to try Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa") for quite some time.
When I was doing a nutrition course they talked about it quite a lot. You see, it is one of those "ancient grains" - apparently known as the "gold of the Incas. It a fabulous grain to add to your diet for many reasons. The first and foremost is that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our body requires on a daily basis, this makes it a complete protein which means it is a great addition to the diet of people following a vegan diet. Quinoa also contains manganese, and is a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, which makes it very useful for people who suffer from migraines, diabetes and atherosclerosis (plaque build up in your arteries). So why wouldn't you include it in your diet???
Now seemed as good a time as any to give this so called "wonder" grain a go. So what is it like exactly? Well I think it is like a cross between couscous (yes, I know couscous isn't a grain!!) and burghul. Not as nutty and firm as burghul, but not quite as soft and fluffy as couscous. I urge you to give it a try and see for yourself what you think.
I found this recipe in the current edition of Super Food Ideas. It looked like a relatively easy, healthy meal, so I decided to give it a go. I did make some modifications (as usual) to the recipe though - here is my version!
Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed (oops I didn't!!)
2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
2 double chicken breasts, each halved horizontally
1 box (45g) Pistachio Dukkah
the juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup finely shopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely shredded mint
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tsp olive oil
Place the quinoa in a saucepan, cover with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed, and the quinoa is tender.
Meanwhile, place a small amount of olive oil in a pan, add carrot, garlic and peas, and cook, stirring for approximately 5 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer to a bowl.
Place the dukkah on a plate and press the chicken breasts into the mixture. (Note: I actually probably only coated 5 of the chicken pieces with the dukkah - didn't think "the Darlings" would like it - the pack was just enough for the 5 pieces!)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frypan over medium high heat. Cook the chicken until golden and cooked through.
Add the quinoa to the carrot mixture, then add the parsley, mint, orange juice and olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
Serve the chicken with the salad, and I added a mix of different types of cherry tomatoes.
The result - yes, I will definitely try quinoa again - I really liked it. I think it will make a welcome addition to the salad table in the coming months!!