All this talk of quinoa

[donotprint] Last weekend was my first weekend of classes (nutritional therapy in case you haven’t heard Smile)

Quinoa was mentioned a hell of a lot, just as an example of a grain (which is actually a seed) that isn’t widely used, in Ireland at least. It’s sort of a strange thing for me to come to acknowledge as it forms a staple part of my diet!

Quinoa itself and quinoa flakes (for yummy flake bakes) are both key components to a whole host of my meals. It’s one of my favourite go to “grains” when I want something a little more nutritious than pasta and I’m not in the mood for millet or brown rice.

People hear the word “keen-wah” and it still doesn’t seem to register with them; the vast majority of people in Ireland really still view potatoes and bread as the staple carbohydrates! Boil in the bag rice is widely purchased and depended on, opting for the 10 minutes of boiling as opposed to the slightly longer time rice straight from a bag would take… Madness!

Little do they know that if they ventured out of their comfort zone they could cook up a highly nutritious protein rich alternative in about 20 minutes flat. A new texture and flavour but not so wildly different that many would turn their nose up to it! The excuse that it can’t be found in the local grocery store nor that it’s overly priced can’t even be used in this instance. In terms of volume it’s actually cheaper to purchase than the refined “boil in the bag” in most cases and can in fact be found in the majority of large supermarkets!

The latest of my quinoa platefuls was loaded with zucchini, packed full of basil with a nice even distribution of both toasted pinenuts and chickpeas…onion and garlic formed a simple base, all cooked up in a pan together with some aminos (soy sauce will do if it’s all you can get) and I had myself a delicious highly nutritious meal in minutes!

Who ever said healthy food takes too much time…between this and the mushroom millet from earlier in the week…just two of the super speedy meals that you can cook on mass a hell of lot more cheaply than the standard “meat and two veg.”. Not exactly exotic, just everyday food with a few new ingredients thrown in to the mix.

Go on try something new!

What’s your favourite way to use quinoa? Is it widely used where you come from and/or live? [/donotprint]

Easy Zucchini Pinenut Chickpea Basil Quinoa


Servings –1

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 20 minutes


  • 1 medium zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a small white onion finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup (60g) quinoa + 2/3 cup (170ml) water
  • 1/2 tbsp liquid aminos (or light soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp roughly shredded basil
  • 1 heaped tbsp pinenuts
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Cover quinoa with water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  2. Place pinenuts in a dry pan over a medium to low heat and toast for 2-3 minutes, tossing to ensure they don’t burn. Set to one side.
  3. Meanwhile add garlic and onion to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in zucchini and cook for a further 5-7 minutes.
  5. When the quinoa is cooked add it to the pan along with the aminos (or soy sauce) and cook chickpeas, cooking everything together for a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir through fresh basil along with the majority of the pinenuts and serve up with remaining pine nuts sprinkled over the top!

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  1. i’m not a big fan of quinoa for breakfast. i love to make cold grain salads with it, but i’ve also been making quinoa stuffed peppers a lot lately. i think i’ve only met 2 people who had heard of quinoa! i’d say its gaining popularity in the us, but its got a way to go.

      1. well yes, among the “health foods” crowd its the IN thing 🙂 when i got tri color quinoa, i felt like they should have different cooking times, oddly. this time i splurged on the red.