Quinoa is a grain-like seed that is botanically related to spinach and amaranth.
Compared to other grains, quinoa is a good source of protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. These amino acids can’t be naturally produced by the body and must be consumed through protein-rich foods like meat and certain grains, like quinoa.
As such, quinoa is a wonderful alternative to meat for vegans and vegetarians. One cup (185g) of cooked quinoa provides the body with half of its daily requirement of manganese and a third of its daily requirement of magnesium and phosphorus.
It’s also a very good source of B vitamins, zinc, copper and dietary fibre. Not to mention, it’s gluten free.
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi
Photograph by Dylan Swart
Quinoa sushi platter with soya dipping sauce
- 1 x 250g packet red and white quinoa blend, cooked according to packaging instructions
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- pinch sugar
- 60ml (¼ cup) soya sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- ½ red chilli, seeded and chopped
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 5 nori sheets
- ½ cucumber, cut into batons
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into batons
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 200g lightly smoked rainbow trout
- fillet, skin removed and sliced into 0,5cm thick strips
- pickled ginger
- lime cheeks
For the quinoa, place the cooked quinoa in a bowl. Add the rice vinegar and sugar. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate to chill, about 1 hour.
For the dipping sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside.
To assemble, lay a bamboo sushi mat on a clean work surface. Place a nori sheet on the mat and turn both the mat and the sheet horizontally so that one of the longer sides faces you. The nori will have a rough texture on one side and a smooth surface on the other – make sure the rough side is facing up.
Spread a layer of the chilled quinoa over the entire nori sheet, pressing down gently with your fingertips (wet your fingers to stop the quinoa from sticking to them).
Arrange some of the cucumber and carrot batons, fresh basil leaves and trout strips on the bottom quarter of the quinoa-covered nori sheet. Using the sushi mat as a guide, tightly roll the nori sheet up, enclosing the filling as you go. Transfer the sushi roll to a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 2 – 3cm thick pieces. Transfer to a large serving board. Cover and set aside. Repeat with the remaining nori sheets, quinoa and filling ingredients.
For something different, make a few pieces of hand-rolled sushi. Simply arrange 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls of quinoa, along with a few pieces of the filling ingredients, in the centre of a nori sheet. Starting with the bottom left corner of the nori, roll the sheet up over the filling. The aim is to create a cone shape. Keep the roll in place by wetting the end of the nori with a dab of water so that it sticks.
Serve the sushi with the dipping sauce. Enjoy with the wasabi, pickled ginger and lime cheeks alongside.