Tuesday 25 October 2016

Go with the grain: Recipes with a healthy twist

Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30

Chinese chicken with quinoa
Chinese chicken with quinoa
Quinoa burgers
Quinoa cupcakes

For those who want to reduce their daily intake of carbohydrates, the nutritious super-grain quinoa is becoming a popular substitution for pasta, couscous or rice when cooking. Pronounced 'keen-wah', it is actually a vegetable protein that is full of vitamins, as well as being gluten and cholesterol-free.

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Quinoa is a complete protein - containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It is packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.

For thousands of years the Incas have grown quinoa high up in the Andes; they considered the quinoa grain sacred and regard it as the 'mother grain'. Here are some tasty recipes to try if you want to explore this superfood with confidence.

Chinese chicken with quinoa

Serves 2


80ml soy sauce

50ml honey

1 tsp dried garlic

Half tsp five spice mix

2 tsp sesame seeds

about 1 tsp fresh ginger grated

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 pack choi sliced

4 spring onion diced

about 8 babycorn

about 10 mushrooms sliced

2 portions of cooked quinoa to serve

2 skinless chicken breasts


Place each chicken breast in a cling film and wrap well. Drop it in a pan of boiling and poach for 20/25 minutes (simmer).

Meanwhile mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.

Stir fry the vegetables with sesame oil on high heat. At the very end pour in the half of the sauce and mix well.

Remove the chicken from the cling film and slice it, pour over the rest of the sauce. Place it on the top of cooked quinoa with stir fried vegetables.

Quinoa burgers


Makes 8


20g butter

300g roasted sweet potato

1 small onion diced

50g diced mushroom

200g red quinoa, cooked

1 egg yolk

60g chickpea flour

salt and pepper to taste

Half tsp ground cumin

a pinch of cayenne pepper


Prior to making the burgers, roast the unpeeled sweet potato, let it cool (you could make it ahead and store it in a fridge).

In a frying pan place the butter, onion and mushrooms and fry for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl place the peeled sweet potato and mash it with a fork. Add the fried mushrooms and onion and mix in cumin and cayenne pepper. Fold in the egg, cooked quinoa and chickpea flour, add salt and pepper to taste.

With your hand form the mix into about 8 equal size burgers. When ready, fry the burgers for a couple of minutes on each side and serve.

Quinoa cupcakes


Makes 12


3 large eggs

130g caster sugar

90g ground almond

90g quinoa flour

1tsp vanilla essence

zest of 1 lemon


Place eggs and sugar in a mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk until light and frothy. Fold in gently the rest of the ingredients and divide the mix between cupcake cases.

Bake in a preheated oven to160˚ for 15/ 20 minutes.

For creme cheese icing


200g creme cheese

100g unsalted butter room temperature

50g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

a drop of pink food colouring (optional)


Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, add the creme cheese, vanilla essence and food colouring and beat until smooth.

Pipe on the top of cupcakes and decorated with summer berries and mint leaves.

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