What’s high in protein, a great source of fiber, and gluten free?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), that’s what!
Although considered a whole grain, quinoa is related to the spinach and Swiss chard family. Quinoa is a bit of a superstar because it’s not only high in protein, but it is considered a complete protein with all of the essential amino acids. This is great news for people who eat primarily plant based diets.
Easy and quick to make and delicious hot or cold, you can go crazy with quinoa and have it at every meal. With over 1800 known varieties ranging in color from yellow to red to brown and to black, you may forget you are having so much of it!
It’s easy to go crazy with quinoa, especially if you make it ahead and keep it at eye level in the fridge. Then you can enjoy morning, noon, and night!
Quinoa in the morning
As a cold cereal topped with a couple of tablespoons of granola, berries (fresh when in season, frozen when not), and a splash of plant or dairy milk.
Add a couple of tablespoons to Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts.
Quinoa at noon
Add to your favorite green salad for a little more excitement and sustenance to get you through the afternoon.
Quinoa at night
Instead of rice for a vegetable stir-fry.
Instead of pasta-add your favorite vegetables and tomato sauce.
Try Southwestern Quinoa Salad (recipe below).
When cooking with quinoa, use a two to one ratio of water to grain. Quinoa only takes about 15 minutes to cook; be careful not to overcook or it will become mushy. For a nice roasted flavor, toast quinoa in a dry skillet for about five minutes before cooking in water.
This Southwestern Quinoa Salad is ideal for potlucks. It’s easy to make in advance and is guaranteed to be a hit!
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can black beans, rinsed (look for BPA free can)
1 red bell pepper
2 mangoes, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, diced
Rinse and drain quinoa. Add two cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let quinoa cool. Gently stir all remaining ingredients EXCEPT avocado unless eating immediately at room temperature. Otherwise, refrigerate and top with avocado when ready to serve.
Nutrition Information: (makes six, ¾ cup servings)
325 calories, 9 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fiber, 14 grams fat, 143 mg sodium.