Quinoa...Eating Yourself Healthy

Quinoa has become by far my favorite food trend. It can be combined with pretty much anything, it always leaves you feeling full and satisfied, and it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's also incredibly nutritious. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain. Well, we call it a grain, but it's actually a relative of beets, chard, and spinach. It comes in a variety of colors, but you're likely to see red, black, or white quinoa at your local grocer. The taste is the same across the board, as are the nutritional facts for the most part. It's said that white quinoa is somewhat fluffier. And, the black and white quinoa are slightly crunchier. Truth be told, I can't tell the difference.

What's most impressive about quinoa is the protein content and the type of protein found in it. Quinoa contains all nine amino acids. It also contains a good amount of fiber and iron.

Below I've included three recipes, that are incredibly easy and healthy. The best part is that you can cook up the quinoa in bulk ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. As I like to say, it's nutritious and delicious! Enjoy!

1) Breakfast Time -

Banana Bread Breakfast Quinoa

1 very ripe banana – mashed

¼ cup dry quinoa

¼ cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)

2 Tbsp walnuts

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon

Cook the quinoa on the stove to package instructions. After the quinoa has finished cooking (while over low heat), stir in the almond milk, mashed banana, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix the walnuts into the quinoa or add on top. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy warm.

(Credit - http://rabbitfoodformybunnyteeth.com)

2) Lunch Time -

Greek Quinoa Salad

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped to a paste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup quinoa

Kosher salt and pepper

2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 green onions (green and pale green part), thinly sliced

2 pickled cherry peppers, diced

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 English cucumber, cut into small dice

Feta, for sprinkling

Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, garlic and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the salad to allow the flavors to meld.

Rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the water runs clear. Combine the quinoa, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, fluff with a fork and let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Add the tomatoes, olives, green onions, cherry peppers, red onions, cucumbers and dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before serving. The longer it sits the better the flavor.

Just before serving, transfer to a platter and sprinkle feta on top.

(Credit - Bobby Flay - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/greek-quinoa-salad-recipe.html)

3) Dinner Time -

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

1 tablespoon ghee

1 yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeños, sliced thin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon (or more) red pepper flakes

2 cups vegetable stock

1/3 cup dry quinoa

  1. Heat ghee over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot, and cook the onion, garlic, jalapeños, and salt until soft (about 5 to 7 minutes). Stir frequently.
  2. Add the cubed butternut squash to the pot, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Mix well.
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock and dry quinoa. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the quinoa is cooked and squash is tender.

(Credit - http://www.popsugar.com)



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