All about quinoa


Not only is quinoa versatile, but it also has the nutritional goodness that can benefit the whole family. Our Food Editor Ntwenhle Gcabashe shares with us more about the protein-packed seed.

What is Quinoa? Pronounced (keen-wah), this is considered a seed rather than grain. It comes from the amaranth flowering plant family, and is of South American origin. Quinoa is a stable food in countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. It looks like couscous, but is richer in taste and has a nutty flavour. Find it in the isle with rice and pasta in supermarkets.

Nutrition value – Quinoa is packed with amino acids and protein, which promotes healthy tissue growth in the body. It is also a great source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E and fibre. It is gluten-free, which means it boosts your energy level, resulting in your body burning more fuel. Coupled with the fact that the protein found in it makes you feel fuller, quinoa is good for weight loss.

SEE ALSO: Quinoa & Fig Salad

How to prepare – Similar to soft porridge, you just boil it for about 15 minutes. But, be sure to get the correct ratio – ½ cup water to 1 cup of raw quinoa. You can enjoy it in salads and stir fries or on its own. For additional protein, add it to your stew and soup recipes.

How to store – If uncooked, put it in a sealed plastic bag or container and store in a cool place or in the freezer for up to six months. The seal helps to maintain the freshness while preventing the seeds from absorbing moisture, odours and flavours from other foods. It’s advisable to buy grains and seeds in small quantities in order to enjoy them while fresh. Store cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for four to five days.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • ½ teaspoon butter
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Honey, for serving
  • Fresh strawberries, for serving
  1. Boil water in a saucepan. Add quinoa, and let it simmer for 10–15 minutes.
  2. Stir in milk, butter and cinnamon. Remove from heat.
  3. Drizzle with honey and serve with fresh strawberries.