And it’s become one of my top favorite foods. Quinoa is satisfying, has appealing texture, is easily digestible, and is super versatile. Incorporating more of this magic grain into my daily fare is one of the lifestyle dietary changes that I attribute to helping me manage a healthy weight for these last 15 years.
I’m always on the lookout look for vegetarian sources of protein in my diet. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein. Quinoa’s protein is high in lysine, methionine and cystine and is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal nutritional complex similar to milk but without the effects of dairy.
Quinoa is light, tasty, and easy to digest. It is not sticky or heavy like most other grains, and it has a delicious flavor all its own. I used to love to eat rice, pasta, and white potatoes. But those foods were hard to process and caused me weight gain and lethargy. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe. It looks and tastes great on its own, or in any dish from soup to salad and even as a sweet treat.
Quinoa is quick and convenient to prepare. A whole-grain dish of quinoa takes just 15 minutes.
Many people eat grains only during the colder months, but quinoa’s lightness combined with its versatility in cold dishes like salads and desserts makes it an ideal source of good summertime nutrition.
Here’s a quick and easy Quinoa Salad recipe that I make almost weekly. Enjoy!
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced (2½ cups)
- 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced (¾ cup)
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 to 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and small “tails” bloom from grains.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool, then transfer to large serving bowl.
3. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Add quinoa to pine nuts, and stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Fold in oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.