Quinoa is one of those foods that has been talked about so much lately. It makes people that aren’t really into all the trends or “superfoods" want to look the other way. I get it. I hate fad diets or certain food crazes, and I especially hate when people tell you that any one food can make you lose weight, prevent everything, or cure you from anything. It’s bogus.
If you have been following along with my blogs, you know that I believe in everything in moderation. No food is bad if kept within the appropriate amount. Over consuming anything is when it gets dangerous. I mean, vitamins and minerals can be toxic if taken in high doses. So like I said, all in moderation. I could really go on and on about this but I am going to jump right back to my point and save the rambling for another blog!
So back to quinoa....oh yeah....one of my all time favorites. It is listed on my kitchen staples and is always present in our house. It can’t cure cancer or prevent you from ever getting heart disease (I know, I am really selling it to you aren’t I?) but it really is so great for you.
Here is why...
- Quinoa may fall under the grain group when we are talking food groups but it is also considered a WHOLE protein (this means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that are necessary for our dietary needs). Most grains are incomplete proteins and have to be combined with beans or other vegetables to create that whole protein. Therefore, if you are a vegetarian THIS would be a great option!
- It is a good source of fiber that helps you to stay fuller, helps your bowels stay regulated, and also helps reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- It is loaded with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which are shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
- It is gluten-free, which is great for those with gluten intolerances (and only those with intolerances….***if you are not intolerant there is no reason for you to cut gluten out and this would not be a benefit).
- It is high in minerals that some people lack, such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron.
- It is SOOO easy to cook and incorporate in your main dishes or sides.
Some other facts about quinoa?
It is pronounced KEEN-wah
- It has been used for thousands of years in South Africa even though it just became trendy and considered a “superfood” a few years ago...apparently America is just late to the table.
- It is a pseudocereal, along with its friends buckwheat and chia.
- There are 3 main types of quinoa: red, black, and white. They all vary slightly in their cook time and crunchiness but contain the same nutritional value. White is the most common and cooks the fastest while also being the least crunchy.
My Favorite Quinoa Recipes To Make (and this list keeps on growing)...
1. Quinoa +Kale Salad
This is seriously my favorite of all the recipes to make because it is sooo yummy, filling, savory yet sweet, and so so simple to make! The ingredients varies depending on what all we have in the fridge (so I guess you could call this a dumpster bowl some nights...I think quinoa kale salad sounds way more appealing though).
Ingredients for salad:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- kale (I use the bagged kale and usually use about half the bag)
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- berries (any kind will do, my favorite are blackberries and blueberries to add)
- ¼ cup Craisins
- 1 avodado chopped
Ingredients for dressing
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice (in all honesty, most of the time this is all I use because it already has so much flavor with the fruit addition so I don’t add oil to save calories).
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil (if you need this extra flavor, add it in but watch your amount, trying to stick to just a tablespoon…it may seem like a little amount but I promise it will go a long way).
- Boil the quinoa, following directions on the box.
- While you are waiting for your quinoa to cook, put the kale and onions in a large pot with about 2 tablespoons of water and cook on medium heat. Cook the kale and onions until it softened and remove from heat. Add the quinoa to the pot of kale.
- Combine all the other ingredients to the kale and quinoa and mix together. Add in the dressing (lemon juice to taste or both lemon juice and olive oil combined together). Serve as your main dish or as a side with some chicken or fish.
2. Garlic lemon quinoa with feta
Wanting a more savory side to your meals? This one is amazing and a great addition to some baked fish!! I adapted this recipe from one I found from a Martha Stewart recipe! It is seriously so yummy so give it a try!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh dill
- Cook quinoa, following directions on box. Move from heat when done.
- Stir in cucumbers, feta cheese, paprika, dill, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
3. Cinnamon Quinoa Pancakes
I actually shared this recipe about a month ago! Such a great option for breakfast and only about 100 calories for each pancake (depending on how big you make your pancakes). Click here to get the recipe.
Want some more amazing quinoa recipe ideas??? Hop on over to damndelicious.net to find 15 more amazing recipes! Some of my favorites from there?
Want to see the recipes of these beauties or find some other quinoa options? Click HERE and start cooking!
I hope I have helped you fall in love with quinoa as much as I have after reading this! There is so much that can be done with quinoa so how about you make it a staple in your home too?
What are your favorite quinoa recipes? Feel free to share with me!!!
Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!