This ancient seed, originally discovered by the Incas has been praised for its nutritional value for centuries.  Low in fat, high in protein, and packed full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, quinoa is the perfect fuel for your active lifestyle.  Whether you’re a meat lover or vegetarian, this super food makes a great addition to any well-rounded diet. Here are some facts about this amazing food:

Photo credit: Emily Barney on Flickr.com

 

 

  • High in protein- Packed with protein and containing all essential amino acids this is an ideal food to help you gain and maintain lean muscle.
  • Great source of magnesium- Perfect for those who suffer from migraines and/or hypertension.  Magnesium has been found to relax blood vessels which will help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions.
  • High in fiber- With about 5 grams per serving, quinoa is a great source of dietary fiber.
  • Low in fat and cholesterol- This along with quinoa’s high potassium content makes it a heart healthy food.
  • Gluten free- For those with gluten allergies this is a safe and tastey alternative to wheat.
  • High in calcium- Vital to bone, teeth and skin health.
  • Good carbohydrates- Low in sugars and full of complex carbohydrates, this makes a perfect meal for any active lifestyle.

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving size 185g
Calories 222
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Carbohydrates 39g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 0g
Protein 8g

 

Quinoa can be found at most grocery stores (most likely near the grains). Though it can taste bland on its own, quinoa is easy to cook and takes up other flavors very well.  Try incorporating this delicious and nutritious food into your diet with these easy to make recipes.

 

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  •  ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ – ½ cup best quality extra virgin olive oil (you can add less if you’re watching calories)
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • Bouillon cube
  • 5 Sun Dried Tomatoes (Not in oil)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can black beans

Directions

  1. Dressing- Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots and olive oil.  Season to taste.
  2. Add quinoa to three cups of boiling water after dissolving bouillon cube.  Boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse with cool water and place in a fine mesh colander.  Boil water and place quinoa and sun dried tomatoes in the colander over the water.  Cover with a kitchen towel and lid.  Steam for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.
  4. Cook red pepper in a small skillet until tender.
  5. Combine pepper and remaining ingredients with quinoa. Add dressing and toss.

 

Quinoa Tabouli

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, carrots and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa.

Article contributed by Terry McGowan