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Healthier Rice Substitute – Quinoa Recipe

What is Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa)? A lot of locals are still quite new to this latest super food. It is basically one of the rare plants foods with complete protein profile, low in sugars, rich in vitamin E and B3, magnesium, phosphorous, etc and is gluten-free. This “mother of all grains” has been around since 5000 years ago in South Americas.

Quinoa is a healthy grain from Peru that got trendy and a lot of attention lately. I just learned from my Peruvian friend that in the past, Quinoa was used to feed chickens!!! -_- Well, I must try Peruvian chickens someday. Anyway, quinoa is now a trendy super food that contains fibre, vitamins, proteins and minerals. A grain that does not really contain carbohydrates. This little grains is so versatile and tasty, I really like it a lot! Only issue is that it is pretty pricey, so I usually add it to salads, rice, porridge, etc to substitute rice partially or mix it with other complex carbs like corn, sweet potato or pumpkin in my salad.

So after coming across this grain a lot online in the past year, I finally got the chance to try quinoa at Soup Spoon Union where they offer cauliflower rice (finely diced cauliflower so it looks like rice grains) with Quinoa. I fell in love with this dish! It tastes good and fills your tummy without feeling “heavy”.

Taste test done, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a pack after browsing at NTUC organic section for the longest time. It is pretty expensive!!! 500g for $12.20. Ouch! But ok, all in the name of good health, right…. After using that first pack, we quite liked it because as my mum puts it “your feel satisfied after the meal but not bloated full like you usually will with rice.” But at $12.20 for 500g??!! Ouch!!!! So I went to some health shops, Phoon Huat and Warehouse Club, Big Box and online to search for alternative sources and finally found the best deal at this online store for $17.50 per kg. I ordered 3 packs to enjoy a bulk discount ($17 per kg after discount) and delivery was quite a breeze. We have ordered a couple of times by now. So far so good!

I host meals at my place for family and friends quite often and I will serve this as a carb replacement. So people have been asking me about Quinoa, how to prepare it, how to eat it, where to buy, etc. So I thought I will share some simple ways I usually prepare Quinoa and some Quinoa recipes.

Method 1: Boiling Quinoa

With this method, there are many ways to enjoy quinoa conveniently. I will usually prepare a cup of quinoa and store it in the fridge. Then either mix it with my rice or add to salads anytime.

Here are some recipes you can enjoy with pre-cooked quinoa.

Quinoa recipe- vegetarian salad

Power Packed Quinoa Vegetable Salad : Power salad with greens, fruits, nuts and quinoa (add in animal proteins anytime)


Quinoa and Tuna Salad: Quinoa, tuna, refreshing greens and a light yoghurt dressing

Cauliflower Rice with Quinoa: Light carbohydrate replacement or side.

Quinoa Vietnamese Rolls: Refreshing vietnamese rice rolls with quinoa, shrimp and apples

Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa: Corn, carrots, onions, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli and quinoa

Method 2: Steam with Rice

The other day, a friend asked how to enjoy a healthier yet equally tasty version of chicken rice if we don’t have white rice. Well, one way is to replace some of the white rice with quinoa! Of course you can also mix in 20% of brown rice or black rice with white rice too, but eating with quinoa.

Another favourite rice from my mum is to do a blend of 1 portion black rice, 1 portion basmati rice, 1 portion quinoa and 1 portion brown rice. 1 cup of rice to 1.4 cups of water, add some olive oil and a pinch of salt. It tastes great as it is with other dishes and can also be used in fried rice. In fact she did a very lovely vegetarian fried rice for me during Chinese New Year as I am vegetarian during CNY.

Here, I will share a recipe of basmati rice, black rice, purple sweet potato and quinoa. This dark looking rice is not only packed with super foods and very nutritious, it is also super tasty as the soft sweet potato gives a soft starch mouth feel to the rice, making up for the loss of softness from white rice.

Method 3: Cook with Mixed Rice Porridge

I will share how you can enjoy a nutritious and even more tasty variety of the usual white porridge with sweet potato with this brown rice, pumpkin and quinoa variation.

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