Quinoa is an ancient seed which sometimes mistakenly called a grain. It originates from Peru, and is said to have given the Incas their strength and stamina for many centuries. This edible seed has become increasingly popular over the past 20 years outside of Central and South America. It’s loaded with many important nutrients, including fiber, protein, folate, and magnesium.
Quinoa contains flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Quinoa is high in fiber, a nutrient that’s important for health. The more fiber a food has, the slower the energy moves through the body, so you will have energy that is even and well-balanced, and feel full for a longer period of time after consumption. Adding more fiber-rich foods into your diet can help support gut health, body weight maintenance, and more. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. Using it in place of highly processed gluten-free foods can increase the nutrient value of your diet when you’re avoiding gluten. Quinoa is also a good source of protein and can help you meet your daily protein needs.
Quinoa is very high in minerals, but it also contains some antinutrients like saponins and phytic acid. These can cause the quinoa to taste bitter. I really like bitter foods: coffee, wine, dark chocolate, eggplant, some peppers, but if you don't enjoy bitter tastes, then rinsing, soaking, and sprouting helps reduce these antinutrient compounds. When you enjoy it as part of a well-rounded diet, quinoa can help support overall health and may improve certain disease risk factors, like high blood lipid levels (high cholesterol). Quinoa is widely available, inexpensive, colorful, and you can use it in many different dishes, including sweet and savory options. Enjoy the eating healthy journey with quinoa!
HEALTHY QUINOA SALAD with OPTIONS!
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
FOR THE LEMON GARLIC DRESSING
- 1/4 cup Cilantro (coriander leaves) or Parsley, finely chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp Coconut oil or Olive oil
- 3 tbsp Lemon juice or Lime juice
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
FOR THE QUINOA SALAD
- 1/3 cup Coriander leaves (cilantro) or Parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup Carrots, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Red & Green bell peppers, chopped
- 1/3 cup Red onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup Cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup Roasted peanuts
COOK THE QUINOA PERFECTLY
- Rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in water twice.
- In a pan, add the drained quinoa along with water, salt and bring it to boil. Cover and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- Let it cool down, and you will see how fluffy and perfect these quinoa are.
TO MAKE LEMON GARLIC DRESSING
In a bowl, add parsley (or cilantro or the combination), coconut oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and mix. Set aside.
- In a bowl, add cooked quinoa along with carrot, bell peppers, onions, cucumber, peanuts, cilantro (or parsley) along with the dressing and mix until combined.
- You can serve it immediately or keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
- Vary all the ingredients in the dressing and salad to taste. Swap out different beans, nuts, seeds, or meats to add more healthy proteins and crunch. Swap out different veggies, feeling free to sauté onions before mixing.
- You can also cook the quinoa in vegetable broth or bone broth to make it more flavorful and to add more protein.
- Try adding crumbled Feta or goat cheese (or a vegan cheese) for a creamy mouth feel.
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