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Quinoa

I LOVE quinoa. Cold or hot, it doesn’t matter to me. The texture is desirable to many who have cut out wheat and grain products and offers nutritional qualities that make it a good option. Quinoa is technically not a grain, but a seed related to the family of beets, spinach and swiss chard. It is a complete protein and offers a good helping of all nine essential amino acids.  Although high in protein, quinoa still clocks in around 53 on the glycemic index which is why it’s not a regular staple at our house, but a great alternative to rice or pasta. Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple also offers this caution for those who may be more sensitive to gluten.

Quinoa is technically gluten free, [but] it does contain a protein substance that has been known to cause digestive reactions in some.

I was inspired while at Trader Joe’s when my friend pointed out a frozen bag of quinoa with sweet potatoes that sounded amazing enough for me to put my own twist on. I’ve been using sweet potatoes a good bit, like the Frittata I posted recently or mixed in with some veggies and scrambled eggs, so I thought I’d give it a try in quinoa. I love when my food looks like a rainbow (it’s also a great way for my 16 month old daughter to eat it) so I added sauteed red cabbage, red onion and kale. To add a little fat, I cooked the veggies in coconut oil and added a couple tablespoons at the end for an extra bit of coconut goodness.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked in homemade chicken or beef broth if available
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil for cooking vegetables + 2 tablespoons to stir in at the end
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 head of red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale or other leafy greens (collard greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, or spinach), stemmed, washed and chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  • Add coconut oil to saute pan and cook red cabbage for a couple of minutes then add sweet potatoes and onions and cook until tender. If your pan is large enough, you can add the chopped and washed greens to the pan of veggies and cook until tender. If there’s no more room in your pan simply transfer vegetables to another bowl and cook greens, about 10 minutes (you will probably need to add a little more coconut oil). 
  • Simply mix vegetables with cooked quinoa and stir in a couple more tablespoons of coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste. 

This is a great and filling meal on it’s own for a meatless night, mix in ground beef or turkey, or use as a delicious side.

What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?

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