We have been including Chia seed into quite a few dishes recently. Its generous vitamin and mineral content, plus its ample Omega-3 and 6 fatty acid provision, make it a desirable nutrition booster for many meals. It is also a small seed with a pleasant crunch, which adds interest to smooth or creamy foods.

A recent challenge was set by the arrival of two very different friends. One loves meat, while the other shudders at eating anything with a face. What we wanted was a way of providing a meal to satisfy both, without having to spend an entire afternoon cooking.

We also wanted to break into the large bag of quinoa that recently found its way into the kitchen. This South American seed can be washed and cooked like rice, but has a light texture and a rather nutty taste. It is an interesting alternative to rice or couscous. Our solution to the issue of differing tastes was to create a warm salad of Rainforest Foods Chia, quinoa and steamed, sweet vegetables, alongside a choice of grilled meat or halloumi cheese.

The convenience of this is that the quinoa and vegetables can be cooked together, at the bottom and top of a steamer respectively. Meanwhile, first the halloumi cheese and then the meat can be grilled, then set to wait in a low oven. Once cooked, and the vegetables sweetened, the salad is assembled and the Chia seeds used to dress it. This proved a good combination of tastes and textures, and a versatile accompaniment to both the halloumi and the meat. It would also go well with fish.

Rainforest Foods warm Chia seed, quinoa and sweet vegetable salad (serves four)

two cups quinoa
four cups water
four carrots
two parsnips
one cup Rainforest Foods chia seeds
one dessert spoon runny honey or maple syrup
salt to season
dash of olive oil

If your quinoa is not pre-washed, soak it for a couple of hours to remove its bitter saponin coating. Place in the bottom section of a stove-top steamer with the water. Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips into reasonably small matchstick shapes. Place in the upper sections of the steamer. Cook on a medium heat for five minutes, then reduce to low heat. Occasionally lift the top section off and stir the quinoa, to stop it clumping.

When the vegetables are soft, remove them. If necessary continue to heat the quinoa, then remove from heat when cooked. While in the steamer, toss the vegetables in the honey or maple syrup. Season the quinoa with salt. Assemble the warm salad and sprinkle the Chia seed liberally on top. Serve immediately.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Dean is a health writer with Rainforest Foods, covering topics with the latest information on Chia Seeds , Rainforest Foods as well as facts on Chia.