Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quinoa; The Paradox of the Luxury Superfood

Quinoa is another super food that is really in vogue again and for good reason; it’s a once forgotten grain that is a perfect substitute for so many foods with less or little nutritional value. It is extremely high in protein, fibre, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium. The cultivation of quinoa dates back 3000 years ago, serving as a staple during pre-Colombian Andean civilization. The grain fetches 10 times the dollar amount of wheat, as a minimum and so has been labelled a ‘luxury vegetable’ by some trade economists.
Quinoa can be very particular about its requirement’s for growth and where it does, it serves as food to the local population. With prices inflating, locals in subsistence farming areas are unable to touch their own produce, causing debate about whether or not quinoa is really worth its weight in gold. Instead of using this nutritious super food to feed the first world at a huge price, it could be better used to feed third world nations. What we can do to ensure our global neighbors do not go hungry is to only buy quinoa that has been Fair Trade approved. So that’s what I did, I made a beautiful quinoa salad combining my beloved haloumi cheese and a lemon/olive oil dressing. 

Serves two
½ cup quinoa
1 cup spinach
50g  haloumi cheese
¼ small cucumber
¼ small red onion
½ cup of walnuts and pine nuts
½ lemon
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook your quinoa as directed on packaging. Usually this is one part quinoa to three parts water. Thinly slice your cucumber and red onion and set aside. Slice haloumi as desired and pan fry on both sides for three minutes total on high heat. Combine olive oil with juiced lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

As the quinoa is finished, set aside to allow for cooling. In a high heat pan, toast the mixed nuts to release the warm woodiness. Combine and toss all ingredients in a bowl and cover with dressing. The salad can be served warm or cold, depending on the occasion and what you like. 


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