Sautéed white beans and spinach with quinoa PERU, SOUTH AMERICA

1. Add the quinoa to a pot of boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.

3. Add the onion, carrot, oregano and garlic and sauté for around 8 minutes, or until the onion and carrot are soft.

4. Add the vegetable stock and spinach then cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach begins to wilt (around 2 minutes).

5. Stir in the white beans and simmer, covered, for around 10 minutes.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the quinoa.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste then sprinkle with parmesan.

8. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa is now a popular super-food

White beans are an easy way to add protein to a vegetarian dish and are versatile ingredients. The white bean was domesticated in the Americas and is commonly used in dishes throughout North and South America. White beans are loaded with cancer-fighting dietary fibre, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are considered to be a superfood and have a number of health benefits. They fight against the storage of energy as body fat; promote good health and wrinkle-free skin; and provide large quantities of magnesia, which maintains the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. We use canellini beans for this recipe, however any type of white bean would work well.

Spinach is considered to be one of the world's healthiest foods. It is rich in water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and a wide range of phytonutrients (compounds found in plants that help prevent various diseases). Spinach is also a very diverse ingredient and studies have shown that sautéing the vegetable is the best way to preserve its carotenoids, which act as antioxidants, protect against cellular damage and reduce the effects of ageing.

Quinoa was known as the 'gold of the Incas', as it was believed that it increased the stamina of their warriors. The 'supergrain' is still regularly used in cooking in Peru, Chile and Bolovia and has recently become a popular ingredient in other parts of the world. It is among the least allergenic of the 'grains' (it actually comes from the same family as beets, spinach and chard) and has high anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. The grain contains a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, a higher content of mono-saturated fat than common cereal grains and is one of the most protein-rich foods in the world.

Olive oil is known for its numerous health benefits. It is rich in mono-saturated fats and helps to lower the risk of hearth disease. It contains the phytonutrient oleocanthal, which reduces inflamation and can reduce the risk of breast cancer and its reoccurrence.

Onions have a unique combination of flavonoids (nutrient known for its anti-oxident and health benefits) and sulfur-containing nutrients, which can help increase bone density. Onions have also been shown to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer, have anti-inflammatory properties and provide cardiovascular benefits.

Carrots' health benefits are mostly attributed to their beta-carotine and fibre content. They are good antioxidant agents and are considered by many to be the 'ultimate healthy food'. They are known to reduce cancer and cardiovascular diseases and help with blood sugar regulation.

Oregano contains vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, calcium and potassium. Its name means 'mountain joy' and it was a symbol of happiness for the Greeks and Romans. It is has antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. It is useful for upper respiratory infections and may even kill MRSA.

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