You say potato…I say po-tah-to.
You say tomato…I say to-mah-to.
You say quinoa…I say quinoa. Wait! What??
Whether you pronounce it “kwin-oh-ah” or “keen-wah”, quinoa is the new “it” food.
What is it?
Quinoa is a tiny, bead-shaped seed (though often thought of as a grain). Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. It is also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and is a very good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Sweet or Savory… tasty either way!
When cooked, quinoa has a delicate, nutty flavor. I like the savory recipes and often replace rice or pasta with quinoa for great flavor and nutrition. We’ve also been known to use quinoa for breakfast in place of a traditional oatmeal at our house. Seriously, quinoa is wonderful whether you go sweet or savory.
While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent light yellow color, we recently discovered red quinoa and developed this recipe for a fresh, nutritious and colorful salad. It is not as difficult as it looks. The homemade cilantro-lime dressing is worth the effort, I promise.
Kelly’s Colorful Quinoa Salad
1 cup Red Quinoa (NuVal 82)
2 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (NuVal 3)
1-15 oz. can Full Circle Black Beans, drained and rinsed (NuVal 82)
1 cup Green Giant Frozen Corn Niblets (thawed) (NuVal 91)
1 pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved (NuVal 95)
1 Avocado, chunked into 1/2 inch pieces (NuVal 89)
1 Shallot (or 1/4 cup red onion), diced (NuVal 96)
bunch fresh Cilantro, chopped (NuVal 90)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (NuVal 11)
1 Lime (NuVal 91)
Salt and Pepper
1. Prepare dressing.In a blender or food processor, combine: 3/4 cup fresh cilantro,1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all broth is absorbed, about 15-18 minutes. The quinoa will appear to have “popped” open and will be somewhat translucent with a little ring visible on the outside edge of the grain. Set aside to cool.
3. While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, shallot and toss with prepared dressing. Add chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
4. To serve, place quinoa on plate and top with salad mixture.
A Sweeter Option
Use quinoa as a sweet, nutty substitute for your usual morning oatmeal. The extra protein boost in the morning is a terrific way to jump start your day!
Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa
2 cups Skim Milk (NuVal 91)
1 cup Quinoa (NuVal 82)
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar (NuVal 1)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon (not NuVal scored)
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries (NuVal 100)
1. In a saucepan, bring milk to a gentle boil, stirring often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook until most of the milk is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Continue to cook, covered, for another 8-10 minutes until nearly all the milk is absorbed.
3. Stir in blueberries and heat until they are warmed.
4. Serve with additional milk and berries to taste. Add toppings of your choice, such as walnut pieces or slivered almonds.
**This dish stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week. We make a double batch on Sundays and put it in individual glass bowls for quick microwave re-heating on hectic weekday mornings.
Have a nutritious week!
This blog post is used with permission from our friends at BLEND.
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