To begin with we really need to dispel some of the myths that seem to surround Quinoa (say it: keen-wah) Quinoa is neither a type of pasta (our Italian friends would never forgive us) nor is it a vegetable or cereal! So what is it?
We cook and eat QuiQui like many other grains, but, botanically speaking, it's a relative of spinach, beets and chard. Even more surprising, she has a best friend with fur: the Lama!
The two friends have lived in symbiosis for centuries in the South American Andes. They feed each other: the lamas eat the QuiQui and the QuiQui grows thanks to the manure.
Richer in protein than pasta and rice and gluten-free, quinoa is a "superfood" essential in vegetarian and vegan diets.
The reasons for vegetarians to exclude meat from their diet can be religious, ethical, environmental or dietary. In the latter case, it has been scientifically shown that a reduction in red meat consumption reduces cardiovascular disease and cancer risks.
The term vegetarian was created from Latin ‘vegetus’ meaning “healthy, fresh and alive".
The blooming quinoa fields
Contrary to what many people think, a vegetarian diet does not lead to more nutritional deficiencies than other diets, provided that it includes sufficient variety. The infinite possibility of cooking vegetables has led starred chefs to offer exclusively vegetarian menus. Among them, the late chef Joël Robuchon, had indicated that "vegetarian cuisine will be the one of the next ten years".
So let's have fun with two recipes made with quinoa. The first is a healthy and tasty recipe: quinoa burgers, a béchamel trompe-l'oeil that is actually a cauliflower-based sauce, all served with carrots and roasted beet. Amazing but true, quinoa also combines perfectly with sweet and especially with chocolate. It gives an extra crispy touch to the gourmet chocolate chip “Qookies” recipe you will surely appreciate.
Now that QuiQui is no longer an anonymous person, enjoy cooking it!
Quinoa Burger, cauliflower béchamel sauce and roasted vegetables
Chocolate chip Qookies