Grain-like quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is not a grain at all, but the seed of a plant related to Swiss chard. Here, it is cooked with a creative mixture of tastes — thyme, cherries and walnuts — to make a great side dish.
*Use dried cranberries in place of dried cherries.
*Make this pilaf with long-grain brown rice instead of quinoa. Use 185g (6½oz) rice and 450ml (16fl oz) boiling water. Follow the directions for steps 2 and 3, cooking the brown rice for 40–50 minutes.
*Quinoa is suddenly popular, but it is an ancient grain, dating back about 4000 years and consumed by the Aztecs. It is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid necessary for the synthesis of protein, making it one of the best sources of plant protein. Plus, it provides lots of magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E, iron and fibre.
*Walnuts provide useful amounts of vitamin E, many of the B vitamins and potassium.