Like buckwheat, quinoa is a pseudo-grain meaning it is prepared and acts like a grain but when you get down to the nitty-gritty it's really a seed. This small distinction may not seem that important but when it comes to the nutritional crunch it makes all the difference.
Here are some of the benefits of quinoa:
- High in protein at 8 grams per cup of cooked quinoa, and contains all the essential amino acids.
- Naturally free of gluten.
- Contains insoluble fibre needed for clearing waste from our digestive tract.
- Minerals: magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, selenium and calcium.
- Vitamins: folate, B1, B2, B3, B6 and vitamin E.
- Has a low glycemic index of 53.
- High in antioxidants, particularly quercetin.
My 16 month old daughter Bowie has been reluctant to eat anything at breakfast lately, so I decided to whip up some grain free mini muffins to tempt her taste buds. This recipe is great for a snack or breakfast and contains high-quality nutrients from eggs, quinoa, cheese, pumpkin and spring onion. If you want to add an extra nutritional boost cook the quinoa in a rich chicken or vegetable stock.
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water/stock
1/2 cup grated pumpkin
2 Tbsp. finely chopped spring onion
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 Tbsp. cream
Sea salt & pepper to taste
In a small saucepan bring quinoa, water/stock and a pinch of sea salt to the boil then simmer on low for about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix through with a fork to reduce clumping. Add grated pumpkin and spring onion, mix through then put the pot lid back on to keep the heat in. Let this sit for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180˚C on bake and line or grease a mini muffin pan. In a mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs with the cream. Once the quinoa mix has rested add to the eggs along with the parmesan and mix through. Season with sea salt and pepper and spoon the mix into the muffin pan.
Bake for 20 or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.