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Bits & Bites

Spotlight on Quinoa

Photo and recipe from

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a grain-like plant traditionally grown in South America in the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru and is increasingly being grown in other locations, including Canada. Its seeds are harvested and dried and can be white, yellow, red, or black in colour depending on the type.

Quinoa has been gaining in popularity in North America and other developed nations as a new grain product in the diet. It contains all essential amino acids making it high in protein, is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations to recognize its importance in combating world hunger due to its high nutritive qualities and adaptability to grow in different climates.

  The following Chef Michael Smith recipe was found on the Food Network website and can be used as a starting point for making your own quinoa salad. The vegetables can be replaced with whatever you have in your cupboard to fit your family’s preferences. Tip: Choose colourful vegetables (ideally at least one orange and one dark green vegetable).

Quinoa Colour Salad (see photo above) 

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Rinse the quinoa well in cold running water. This will easily rinse away the natural bitter coating on the seeds. Drain and toss into a small pot. Add the water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile get all the colorful veggies ready. Toss them into a bowl and when the quinoa is done, add it as well. Add the lemon and olive oil, toss well, season with salt and pepper and serve.

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