Quinoa

is an ancient grains (others: amaranth, barley and farro) because it remained largely unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years. Quinoa was known to the Incas as “the mother of all grains” and was first cultivated over 5000 years ago.

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein and comprised of all pernine essential amino acids.

Quinoa also contains a healthy dose of fatty acids. According to Melinda Lund, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian and medical nutrition therapist:

One-fourth cup of dry quinoa contains 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat (0 grams saturated and trans fat), 0 grams ofcholesterol and sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrate (3 grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar), and 6 grams of protein.

Health benefits of consuming quinoa

Consuming 2-3 servings of whole grain foods per day can reduce the risk of:

Incorporating quinoa into your diet could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer and obesity.

Quinoa provides a higher amount of antioxidants than other common grains used in a gluten-free diet. 

How to incorporate more quinoa into your diet

Quinoa salad

It is easy to incorporate quinoa into your diet – just use it in place of rice in any recipe.

Cook to tender in as little as 15 minutes. Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that makes it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. 


 

RECIPES

1) Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Yields: 5 servings | Serving size: 1 cup | Calories: 141 | Total Fat: 8 g | Saturated Fats: 2 g | Trans Fats: 0 g| Cholesterol: 4 mg |Sodium: 128 mg | Carbohydrates: 14 g | Dietary fiber: 3 g | Sugars: g | Protein: 6 g

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, cut in half, then into thin slices
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white quinoa (or red/ black)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 8 grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add zucchini, bell pepper, onion and black pepper and sea salt, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat.

Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil, add zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Roast 20 minutes. In the meantime, add pre-rinsed quinoa to a medium pot, cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, add basil and grape tomatoes, toss to combine, cover for 5 additional minutes. Remove vegetables from oven, combine with cooked quinoa, and place on a serving platter. Top with parmesan cheese and serve (optional).


 

2) Quinoa With Roasted Winter Vegetables and Pesto

Ingridients

  • 1 pound winter squash, peeled and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • ½ pound carrots, peeled, quartered and cut in 2-inch lengths
  • ½ pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the stem
  • ½ pound turnips, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Himalayan Salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ to ⅓ pesto

Preparation 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil one or two sheet pans or baking dishes large enough to fit all of the vegetables in a single layer. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the vegetables in an even layer on the prepared pan. Place in the top third of the oven and bake 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees and continue to bake until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, 10 to 20 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are in the oven, cook the quinoa. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Bring 3 cups water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt to taste (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and translucent, and each grain displays a little thread. Drain through a strainer and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid and allow the quinoa to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or longer.
  • When the vegetables are tender, remove from the heat and transfer back to the bowl. Add the pesto or pistou and stir together. Serve over quinoa.

3) Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Nutritional information per serving: 236 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 12 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 6 grams protein. Yields: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced (optional)
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

Preparation

Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. If making for the freezer, uncover and allow to cool, then place in plastic bags. Flatten the bags and seal.


 

4) Quinoa Fruit Salad

Yield: Serves 6-as a side dish 

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa (I used Red Quinoa)
2 cups water
Pinch of salt

For the Honey Lime Dressing:

Juice of 1 large lime
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

For the fruit:

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups chopped mango

Extra chopped mint, for garnish-optional

Directions

1. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.

2. To make the Honey Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, honey, and mint together until combined.

3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Pour honey lime dressing over the fruit salad and mix until well combined. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Note-Use your favorite fruit in this salad. Blackberries, peaches, kiwi, raspberries, pineapple, grapes, etc. are great options