As part of my updated goals to keep my 40-week journey interesting, I promised to try one new healthy food and recipe each week in an effort to expand my horizons. For my first adventure, I decided to try quinoa. I’ve heard about quinoa, but I didn’t really know what it was or how to prepare it. As I did some research on quinoa recipes, it sounded like one of the world’s most perfect foods. I found website after website listing the health benefits of this unique seed, so how could I go wrong. It’s a great source of fiber, high in protein, gluten free, rich in iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and phosphorus, AND has low levels of carbohydrates. That all sounded good to me.
Mainly, I chose quinoa as my first adventure food because I felt desperate to find a new side dish besides rice and potatoes. I had hesitations about it because I once tried to make my own tabbouleh, and I discovered that bulgur wheat is just not my thing. Quinoa and bulgur wheat seem like they would be in the same ballpark of taste and flavor, so I had low expectations.
Regardless, I went to the store and bought a bag of quinoa, which didn’t seem very exciting. Honestly, uncooked quinoa looks a LOT like birdseed. Have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It was easy to prepare, and I really liked the texture. It had a bit of a pop to it and very slight crunch. It cooks up the same way as rice, except I had to soak and rinse it first. It wasn’t super flavorful on its own, but I found a recipe for a ‘Grecian Quinoa Salad’ that was very tasty, and was able to provide me with some veggies for a nice well rounded meal.
I served this with a grilled chicken breast, and it made enough for a nice dinner portion for my husband and me, and I have leftovers for lunch today:
The recipe I used is below, which I modified from one I found online to cut the sodium and fit my personal taste, but here is the original recipe, to give credit where it’s due for finding this tasty treat: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/colorful-quick-quinoa-grecian-salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1.5 cups no-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon minced shallots
Place quinoa in a bowl; cover with water. Let stand 5 minutes; rinse well, and drain.
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan; stir in quinoa. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Uncover; fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
Combine olive oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, sherry wine, and salt in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and the remaining ingredients; toss well.
I’m anxious to try some other recipes for quinoa and explore some other uses.
Give quinoa a try! Tasty, easy to make, and healthy, you can’t go wrong.