food

Got a Tupperware container full of quinoa? Here are four ways to use this all this week.

Images: Tori Haschka (supplied)

Want a head start to eating better this week? Commit some cooked quinoa to Tupperware. It should sit in the annals of celebrated life hacks along with Siri’s ability to flip a coin.

Beyond the fact this South American pseudocereal is a lower-GI alternative to comforting white carbs, it’s blessed with a pleasing al dente ‘pop’ when cooked. Plus, this is one superfood that won’t get stuck in your teeth (chia seeds, I’m looking at you).

If you cook a batch of it on a Sunday night as a base for some meals this week, it will keep happily in the fridge for six to seven days — and portioned out in the freezer for eight to 12 months.

The traditional way to cook quinoa involves the absorption method on the stove. However, if you’re looking for a more hands-off technique — those of us who get distracted and let the pot boil dry, let’s raise our arms — try cooking it in a microwave.

Get hold of a microwave-safe bowl or Tupperware container that’s at least four times the size of the portion of quinoa you’ve measured, to prevent it surging over the top along the way. Rinse the quinoa well in a strainer and combine it with 1.75 times its volume of water (for two cups of dried quinoa, use three and a half cups of water). Place a lid on and cook on high for 10 minutes. Allow to sit and steam on the bench with the lid on for another 10 minutes, and fluff with a fork before transferring to the fridge.

Then pat yourself on the back, because you’ve jumped on the express lane to eating better this week. Here are four delicious ways to eat up all that quinoa:

Quinoa bircher with melon and yoghurt

This recipe serves one person.

Ingredients:

½ cup/90 g of cooked quinoa
1 cup of chopped melon pieces; try rockmelon, honeydew, watermelon or a mix of all three
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

(Optional: small drizzle of orange blossom water, chopped pistachios)

Method:

Combine all in a bowl. Eat.

Apricot & Almond Quinoa Bars

This recipe makes 12 bars. They will keep in the fridge for a week, and they also freeze well between sheets of baking paper. If you need to make these nut-free you can easily swap out the almonds for pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

Equipment

1 baking tray, the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Baking paper to line.

Ingredients

50 g butter, melted (can also substitute coconut oil)
75 g of maple syrup (or rice malt syrup or honey, though the maple gives a nice floral sweetness)
3 eggs
1 cup/90 g rolled oats (though if intolerant to oats, substitute with rolled quinoa)
1 1/4 cups/250 g of cooked quinoa
75 g dried apricots
50 g blanched almonds, chopped
Pinch of salt

Method

1. Preheat oven to 150c
2. Combine the butter and syrup in a saucepan and heat gently to melt the butter. Once melted allow to simmer for a minute, then remove from heat.
3. While the butter is melting, chop the almonds and apricots into small pieces.
4. Combine the lukewarm butter and syrup with the eggs and whisk to combine.
5. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
6. Grease and line a baking dish approximately the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Press the mixture into the dish, ensuring that the surface is even.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the surface is golden and firm to touch. Allow to cool, then slice into 12 bars.

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Quinoa Aguadito

This recipe serves two or three people.


Ingredients:

Large bunch of fresh coriander, well washed
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre chicken stock, or bone broth
2 cups/350 g of cooked quinoa
1 cup/130 g of frozen peas
300 g cooked chicken, shredded
1 tsp sea salt

To serve:

2-3 lime wedges and finely chopped green chilli

Method:

1. To prepare the coriander, trim the very ends off the stems. Now roughly chop the stems and set the leaves aside for later.
2. Put the coriander stems, onion, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the coriander paste and fry for three minutes to soften the onion and garlic.
3. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring it to the boil. Add the shredded chicken, peas and quinoa to the pan and stir to combine until the chicken and peas are piping hot.
4. Season with salt and stir through the remaining coriander leaves. Serve with lime wedges and green chilli to taste.

Prawn and Quinoa Grits

This recipe serves two or three people.

Ingredients

2 cups/350 g of cooked quinoa
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 tbsp water
½ lemon
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red chilli, finely chopped
6 spring onions, white and green bits finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 slices smoked streaky bacon, cut into small batons
300 g raw, shelled prawns, heads and digestive tracts (aka poo shoot) removed
Hot sauce to serve

Method

1. In a saucepan combine the quinoa, cream cheese, water and zest from half of the lemon. Stir to combine- you want a slightly droopy consistency.
2. Meanwhile put a large frying pan over medium heat and add the butter, olive oil, half of the chilli, white bits of the spring onions, garlic and bacon. 3. Add the reserved lemon half, cut side down in the pan. Cook until the bacon has begun to render its fat and take on some colour.
4. Add the prawns and cook for three or four minutes until they have turned nicely pink. Remove them from the pan.
5. Squeeze the burnished lemon into the pan and scrape up any colour that has clung to the bottom to create a rustic sauce.
6. Serve the prawns over the top of the quinoa, topped with the bacon and pan juices. Top with the remaining chilli, hot sauce and a handful of the green bits from the spring onions. Serve with a bitter leaf salad.

What's your favourite way to eat quinoa?

For more low GI recipes check out Tori’s book ‘Cut the Carbs! 100 recipes to help you ditch white carbs and feel great’

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