Quinoa is so much more than a grain with a weird name. In fact, quinoa (pronounced kin-wah) that we eat, is not a grain at all it’s a seed. Originating in Peru & Bolivia this ancient grain is packed full of nutrition and is rightly named as a super-seed by some experts. Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice or couscous because unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein and packed full of essential amino acids. It has a rice like appearance in size and fluffs up when cooked and you can liken the taste to a nutty flavour.


Quinoa Con Carne with Sweet Potato Chips

Recipe by: Rachel Cassidy from Little Peeps Eats

Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.

Rachel: My boys are huge fans of Mexican food. They love to make healthy nachos, enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. I typically always made a batch of mild Chilli Con Carne as the base for these dishes, but as simple as it is, sometimes I just don’t have the time or don’t have mince on hand to be making it in the traditional way. I needed a quicker and easier option for times like these.

I have found using quinoa instead of meat is just as tasty, takes half of the time to prepare, and best of all is still 100% kid approved! There are also some great health benefits to eating quinoa, it’s protein rich, high in fibre, and also a fabulous source of iron.

What I love most about this dish is you literally just throw it all in one pot and let it do its thing!

The first time I cooked this for my family I served it on a bed of organic corn chips (nachos style) as I have found when serving something new to my boys, it helps greatly to have something I know they love and are comfortable with on the plate – I knew once they saw they were getting ‘chips’ with their dinner they’d be inclined to give it a go. It worked. It is also helpful to serve food up to fussy eaters using some fun and colourful dinnerwear.

Our other favorite way to eat this dish is with sweet potato chips.  My boys love it served up either way.



  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 400g tin black beans (or kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn (tinned or frozen work fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Organic corn chips OR sweet potato chips


Choose whichever toppings are loved by your family!  We will always at least use these:

  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Diced Avocado  (tip – add this just prior to serving.  Do not store leftovers with avocado as it tends to go a bit yucky)

Additional topping ideas:

  • Cucumber
  • Capsicum
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)


  1. Rinse quinoa well until water runs clear
  2. Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  4. Add quinoa, stock, cannellini beans, black beans, tin tomatoes, corn, and spices and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for approx 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through.
  6. Serve with either organic corn chips or sweet potato chips.
  7. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Vegetable Quinoa Pifla




  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 cup quinoa (I’ve used the tri-coloured variant, but you can use any)
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup slithered almonds (toasted in the oven)
  • a handful of garden fresh coriander leaves
  • 250g of broad beans (podded)


Heat coconut oil in a saucepan. Add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes on low heat to bring the flavour out. Add in the rinsed quinoa and stir through the spices. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to low heat and cook for about 15 mins or until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the currants, almonds, coriander and broad beans and mix through. Yum!