Quinoa is a natural food, healthy and packed with protein. But is quinoa paleo? Find out here...
Quinoa is hailed as a superfood but is it suitable for every diet?
The paleo diet focuses on high protein, low-carb, whole foods. This makes the diet similar to that of our ancestors many years ago and includes foods such as lean meats, seafood, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tubers.
Foods to avoid include sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, certain oils, trans fats, highly processed foods and artificial sweeteners.
As the paleo diet does not allow for consumption of any grains, it's also gluten-free.
So where does quinoa fit into into this equation?
Quinoa is classed as a seed and is gluten-free, so one would assume that it would be acceptable on the paleo diet. However, quinoa also has many properties similar to those of grains - so many, in fact, that it is considered a ‘pseudo-grain’!
Despite being packed with paleo-friendly fiber and protein, quinoa it is also high-carb which means that it does not comply with the paleo diet.
Paleo-friendly quinoa substitutes
If you are looking for paleo-friendly quinoa substitutes, there are quite a few options you can consider! Depending on the dish you are serving, you might want to try:
- Sweet potato mash
- Cauliflower mash
- Spiralized veggies (such as zucchini, carrot, butternut squash, beets)
- Cauliflower or broccoli rice
Using a spiralizer
You may already have heard of spiralized veggies, which have become a popular part of many low carb meals. They're versatile, vibrant, healthy and easy to prepare.
If you are planning to spiralize veggies often, it is definitely worth investing in a good spiralizer. Spiralizers generally include various blades ranging from thin to thick, so you can experiment with all sorts of ‘noodle’ types. Here’s some fun ideas of what you can do with spiralized veggies:
- Zucchini noodles: best known as zoodles! Use a thin attachment to create long twirls; they can then be boiled for 20 seconds and used as a base for bolognese sauce or with pesto.
- Carrots: create carrot ribbons perfect to be used in a salad or slaw; alternatively, they can be cooked in coconut oil and served as a side dish.
- Sweet potato: are you missing sweet potato fries? Opt for a thicker blade and create spirals of sweet potato that can be tossed in oil and baked until crispy.
- Apples: perhaps this doesn’t sound like a typical food to use, but you can jazz up your slaw with apple noodles! Just be sure you store them in lemon juice before use, otherwise they will turn brown!