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Quinoa is a winner

Although it is a relative newcomer to the UK, quinoa has been cultivated in South America for centuries and was a dietary staple for the Incas who called it the “mother seed”.


Although quinoa looks like a grain, it is actually a seed that is related to the spinach plant. It is sometimes referred to as a pseudograin. The most common variety of quinoa is beige in colour. Other varieties are orange, red, purple or black. When cooked, quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy with a slightly nutty texture.


Nutritionally, quinoa is a good source of magnesium and manganese. It also contains vitamin B2, vitamin E and fibre. Quinoa is a great choice if you have allergies as it is the least allergenic of the grains. It is gluten-free and wheat-free.


Although quinoa is a carbohydrate, it contains protein and is actually a complete protein, which means that it contains all of the nine essential amino acids. This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians.



Quinoa can be used in any dish where you would normally serve rice or couscous. It is also a great base for a salad and works particularly well served with roasted vegetables and hummus.