Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Mother Grain: Quinoa

My new fav food is quinoa, tiny bead-shaped grains with a delicate, nutty flavor.  Once a food staple of the ancient Incas. quinoa is actually the seed of a plant and is related to beets, chard and spinach.  It's been compared to couscous or rice, only it's much better for you. 

According to, "quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, and is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. It's a very good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, and vitamin E. Quinoa's slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels."

I had no idea it was so good for you! Read on:

"Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this 'grain' may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis."

See why it's my new fav? I served it twice this week and I feel healthier already! Hope you will give it a try soon.

Southwest Quinoa Salad 
The Ingredients.
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained
1 plum tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
The Instructions.
In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper; set aside.
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil; add quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn kernels, beans, tomato, avocado and onion. Pour lemon-cilantro dressing over top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

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