High in protein, with essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron, and not to mention the nine essential amino acids required for good health, quinoa has been dubbed the ultimate ‘superfood’.

Pronounced ‘Keen-wah’, quinoa looks like a grain, but is actually the seed of a species of goosefruit, a staple originating from South America. The Incas called it the ‘mother of all grains’, and today is once again being hailed as a ‘miracle grain’ and ‘healthy carb’.

Quinoa has risen to such fame that the United Nations labelled 2013 as ‘The International Year of Quinoa’ in recognition of its nutritional value, in providing enhanced food security, and in the eradication of poverty worldwide.

The long list of health benefits is no short of incredible. With only eight grams of fat and 222 calories per cup, quinoa is a complete vegetarian protein. It can fuel serious workouts, and will stop you dozing off during afternoon work meetings.

With five grams of fibre in every cup, quinoa also contributes to good digestion, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Versatility, however, is where quinoa really romps home as a true superfood. Whether it’s used in salads or curries, for burger patties, in sushi or with yoghurt for breakfast, it can be used in countless recipes. Cooked in water like rice, perhaps best of all, quinoa is absolutely delicious with a subtle, nutty flavour and a fluffy, creamy and slightly crunchy texture.

It is no surprise then that this ‘miracle grain’ is appearing on the creative menus of restaurants and cafes across Brisbane like Primal Pantry at Teneriffe and Pawpaw at Woolloongabba. Dine out and try a quinoa dish today, or better still, why not pick up a bag and get creative with it at home?