7 reasons to switch to quinoa

by Sanjeev Kapoor

A couple of years ago what was an obscure Peruvian grain, is now recognized worldwide as a super food. Yes we are talking about quinoa, an ingredient which definitely puts a tick on the healthy box in a diet chart. We tell you why quinoa is a great addition to your diet! 


High in protein – Quinoa unlike other grains, is full of proteins. Great for vegetarians as it can make up for the lack of protein a no meat-no egg diet usually suffers. 1 cup of quinoa contains approximately 8 – 10 grams of protein, which is more than most grains do. So there is no need to think twice when you have a tasty option for a high in protein, low-fat completely vegan ingredient readily available! 


Low glycemic index - It is proven that a bowl of this wonder grain can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. It makes for a high quality energy source without spiking your blood sugar levels. With a low glycemic index, quinoa is blessing for those who are trying to keep in check their blood sugar levels. 


Quick to cook – Quinoa is perfect for today’s lifestyle. Besides being super healthy it also gets cooked in a jiffy. Quinoa can be prepared exactly like rice - boil it in water for 15 – 20 minutes and use it in any way that you’d please – toss up in a salad or just replace it with rice in a biryani! For quicker cooking presoak it in warm water and your meal will be ready in a jiffy! So replacing quinoa with rice not only gives you a much healthier meal, but also gives you that great nutty aftertaste that rice lacks.


High in antioxidants and minerals – Quinoa is actually a seed, but is versatile enough to replace most grains in most recipes. High in antioxidants like polyphenol, quinoa is also contains good amounts of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium and zinc. Knowing that this food is so healthy will definitely make you want to eat it more if the taste hasn’t already! 


Vegan and gluten free – People opting for a vegan and gluten free diet have limited options. This is when quinoa comes to the rescue. Being vegan and free of gluten does not make it any less nutritive! Loaded with proteins and minerals it is a must on your diet if you are planning to go the vegan way! 


Types – Maybe because this is a relatively recent food trend not many people know that quinoa comes in a bevy of colours. The most common being white – red and black quinoas are also coming out of the closet. While the white variety is fluffier and softer after cooking, the others manage to maintain a lot of their crunch. 


Multiple uses – When using quinoa as an ingredient – the sky is the limit. Grind the grains to make quinoa flour for roti’s, puris and even pancakes. Replace high starch rice in your pulaos with protein rich quinoa. Also a brilliant addition to salad and soups quinoa grains absorb the flavour and add plenty of texture to anything they are used in! 


Did you know? The UN named 2013 ‘International Quinoa Year’ in recognition of the crop’s high nutrient content. When it comes to this wonder ingredient that’s one more feather in the cap!

Recommended recipes

Tricolour Quinoa Timbale with Tomato Sauce,  Warm Quinoa Salad with Grilled Paneer,  Mushroom Quinoa Rissotto,  Fried Egg on Quinoa,  Quinoa and Vegetable Pulao,  Warm Quinoa Salad With Fish,  Roasted Pumpkin with Quinoa,  Asparagus and Quinoa Salad,  Quinoa Upma with Mushrooms,  Curried Quinoa Salad

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.