With the increase in the prevalence of celiac disease, as well as the demand for healthy foods, the market for gluten-free products is booming worldwide. However, commercially available products are mainly made with starch or white flours, which are technologically convenient, but deficient in essential nutrients. To follow the recent market trends, changing consumer preferences and the need for novel food products containing vegetable proteins obtained from highly nutritious sources, researchers at the Andean Crops Research and Innovation Centre (CIINCA) at the National Agrarian University La Molina (UNALM) in Lima, Peru, have developed exciting new food prototypes. The team at UNALM, also a partner in the PROTEIN2FOOD project, have developed prototypes of bakery products, pastas and beverages with a variety of Andean grains (quinoa, kañiwa, kiwicha and Andean lupin), to make them both nutritious and tasty.

Check out the extensive list of exciting new prototypes:

  • Three different types formulations for gluten-free bread
  • Two prototypes of pasta based on quinoa, kiwicha and Andean lupin flours
  • Four different dairy substitutes based on Andean lupin, kiwicha and quinoa 
  • Two prototypes of gluten-free pasta with quinoa flour

Additionally, the extrusion conditions, a type of processing method, needed for quinoa and kiwicha were determined, as well as the consistency of the products that undergo extrusion (rheological properties). Extrusion involves forcing ingredients through an opening on a plate that changes in size and shape depending on required product. However, processing methods used to develop these products, like extrusion, can have consequential effects on the nutrients, the sensory quality of the product, the functional properties of the product and may even change the bio-active compounds.

UNALM is one of two PROTEIN2FOOD partners who have been successful in scaling up their gluten-free pasta with quinoa flour products to an industrial level, this means the product is now available in various Peruvian supermarkets. Importantly, researchers developing the prototypes placed a large emphasis on creating prototypes that were widely accessible and competitive in the market, which could then help increase the consumption of vegetable proteins in the general population.

Increasing the awareness of these products, also requires that they are tasty and acceptable to consumers, therefore UNALM researchers are considering an advanced sensory study with consumers, to understand the sensory strengths of their prototypes, as well as how they can be improved.

Peruvian dishes with quinoa, kiwicha and Andean lupin: UNALM

In Peru, a “culinary boom” has taken shape in recent years, aiming at raising awareness at home, as well as internationally of the Peruvian cuisine, using recipes with ingredients that reflect the country’s rich agricultural biodiversity. In fact, Peru was ranked as the top culinary destination in the world in 2018. Innovation has also been a key part of the work carried out at UNALM. The team of researchers are currently working with nationally recognised Peruvian chefs to include quinoa, kiwicha and Andean lupin in highly nutritious recipes that are accessible to consumers. Notably, Chef Flavio Solórzano was recently awarded the distinction of Peru Country Brand Ambassador from the Ministry of Foreign Trade’s public diplomacy section. The results of this work were disseminated to the community in the “First Cooking Science of Quinoa” event, where researches and chefs explained how to prepare drinks, appetizers, main dishes and desserts with quinoa. They also explained the main physical and chemical changes that quinoa is subjected to during processing. Working with students at Ayni Qillu study group on awareness-raising activities and publishing a free book of recipes developed by the team, the researchers are hoping to spread the word about the nutritional value and novel food preparations that are possible using native Andean grains.

Have you tried to cook with Quinoa? What about Amaranth? Interested in an exclusive amaranth recipe, then sign up for the PROTEIN2FOOD newsletter. ¡Buen Provecho!


PROTEIN2FOOD reserachers at the First Cooking Science of Quinoa Event.

Julio Mauricio Vidaurre Ruiz, PhD Candidate (Furthest Left)

Dr. Ritva Repo de Carrasco (Left, closet to sign)