Quinoa always strikes me as such a perfect grain, basically a superfood. This South American native staple contains a balanced set of essential amino acids and essential minerals for humans, low fat, plus vitamins A, B, and E. What more could you ask for, from one tiny grain? No wonder that Andeans have been growing and eating it for 6000 years.

If you buy quinoa from a bulk bin on the same day you buy millet or amaranth or any of the other tiny seed grains, be sure to label it! Or, when you get it home, you won’t be sure. I’ve confused millet with quinoa in the past: both about the same size, small and round. Unless you buy the red or black or rainbow quinoa, of course!

Once you soak quinoa, though, it’s easily distinguishable from all other grains, because quinoa’s tiny grain-seed visibly unfurls into a beautiful spiral: its sprout.

I always soak quinoa overnight before use and then it hardly requires any cooking. The soaking quickly accomplishes the sprouting process, making the grain’s starch and trace elements that much more bioavailable and easily digestible.

To cook, just simmer the quinoa in its soak water for five or more minutes, turn off the element, and leave it to cool with the lid on. The next time you peek under the lid, you find that the quinoa has soaked up all the water and is ready for use: fluffy and light. It tastes nutty and the seeds pop satisfyingly as you chew it! You can eat it hot or cold, with savoury or sweet foods.

Here’s a recipe for porridge that calls for quinoa.

Quinoa and Berry Porridge
(two large individual servings)

2 cups water (or broth from cooking vegetables)
pink salt to taste (do not add any if using vegetable water with pink salt)
1/2 cup mixture of quinoa, millet, and buckwheat (mix equal amounts – say 100 g or 4 oz of each – in a bag or jar for next time)
2 heaped tablespoons cranberries (two small handfuls)
2 tablespoons mixed raw flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (2 generous handfuls)

Place all ingredients except blueberries into a saucepan and stir with a spurtle (a Scottish porridge stirrer). Lower temperature once mixture starts to simmer and add a lid to keep things warm. Leave saucepan on still warm stove top for an hour.

Stir in 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (2 generous handfuls) plus a tablespoon of Omega 3-6-9 oil and enjoy.

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