I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about quinoa lately (pronounced keen-wah), but not surprisingly MANY people still have never heard of this food. Quinoa has been dubbed a super grain — though I think it’s actually a seed not a grain — because it is high in complete protein (meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids). In addition to the protein, it’s got a whole list of other benefits–it is rich in magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and selenium (which help to control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes) AND quinoa is rich in lignans (found to reduce the risk of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer). (source)
Pretty impressive resume, eh?
Way back in August, I attended the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago and while there I ventured off to Trader Joe’s with Haya. At the time, I was PUMPED to buy my very first box of Quinoa. Fast forward 5 months, and the box of quinoa was still sitting unopened in my cabinet just waiting to be used.
I’d only had quinoa once before (at the HLS) so I wasn’t entirely sure how to incorporate the seed into a meal. After months of staring at the box, I finally decided to go with TJ’s recipe printed right on the backside. Why the heck not?
One important thing about quinoa is that you have to soak and rinse it before you use it:
While the Quinoa soaked, I got to chopping some bell peppers. The recipe called for one yellow and one red pepper:
And one medium onion… I threw in some green pepper for good measure.
Ready, set, go!
Once I was done chopping, I cooked up 1 cup of quinoa according to the package instructions (though I subbed fat free low sodium chicken broth for the water). Then I threw the veggies into a saute pan along with 4 minced cloves of garlic and some S&P and let them hang out for a bit.
Meanwhile, I cubed up 8 ounces of grilled chicken:
Gettin their sizzle on:
Once the quinoa cooks through it gets pretty fluffy. It kind of reminds me of fluffier couscous:
Once the quinoa was cooked, I combined it with the veggies and chicken, about 10 leaves of sliced up fresh basil, and 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese:
I topped my plate off with some black pepper and red pepper flakes for good measure:
This specific recipe was a little on the bland side, but despite that I LOVE quinoa. Since we were lacking in the flavor department, I topped myself off with some Frank’s Red Hot to add a little kick.
Now that I’ve broken the quinoa seal, I’m feeling optimistic about trying out some different quinoa recipes. Any of you guys have suggestions?
Stats on 1/4 of the TJ’s Quinoa recipe: 288 calories, 38g carbs, 6g fat, 21g protein, 5g fiber