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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quinoa for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Seriously?)

I have gotten into alternating between oatmeal and quinoa for my breakfast (with dried fruit, nuts, honey & rice milk).

Quinoa (keen-wah) has been slowly emerging from obscurity (it was a food staple of the Incas) to the mainstream as people have started to realize its numerous benefits. I have seen a quinoa burger on the menu at a MacDonald's in London. Great marketing idea as the nutritional analysis of the quinoa burger was clearly promoted.

Quinoa is considered by NASA to be one of the most complete foods due to its' amino acid-rich qualities. It is a complete protein, meaning it has eight essential amino acids for tissue development in humans. Many people associate it with belonging to the grain group, but it is actually a relative of the leafy green vegetables (aka spinach, chard). It is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant.


There are numerous benefits to eating quinoa, among these are:
- high protein (compete protein)
- great source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus (good for migraines, diabetes and atherosclerosis)
- provides significant cardiovascular benefit's to postmenopausal women
- antioxidant
- gluten free & easily digestible
- gallstone prevention

I have been preparing quinoa in my rice cooker-I find it works well and I don't have to worry about it on the stove. Although many brands are rinsed before packaging, it is a good idea to rinse again before you use it in a recipe. I have been discovering some great recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner using quinoa. The following are a few meals incporporating quinoa.

Breakfast: Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

1 c low fat milk/skim milk
1 c water
1 c quinoa (well-rinsed)
2 c fresh blueberries or strawberries
½ teaspoon finely ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans (or any nut that you prefer)
4 teaspoons organic honey.

Boil the milk, water and quinoa in a saucepan over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until most the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and set it aside for 5 minutes while covered. Mix in cinnamon and blueberries and top with the chopped nuts. Drizzle with honey and serve. (NOTE: You can cook quinoa in 2 cups of water and add soy/rice/almond milk after cooking)

Lunch: Quinoa with pears, herbs & feta salad
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Ontario Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano leaves
1 Sweet Pepper, cored and diced
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (175 mL) Feta Cheese, crumbled
mixed fresh herbs (such as, mint, chives and parsley) chopped
2 Bartlett Pears
Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain well. In saucepan, bring 2 cups (500 mL) water and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt to boil. Gradually add quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook until water is absorbed and grain is transparent, 13 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes; then fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together oil, 2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir sweet pepper, green onions, feta and herbs into cooled quinoa. Toss with dressing. To serve, core and chop pears; stir into salad. Taste and add a little more lemon juice if desired.

Quinoa for Dinner: Quinoa Skillet Dinner

1 c Quinoa
15 oz Tomatoes
1 chopped green chili pepper
15 oz black beans
15 oz corn
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Dried parsley
1 tsp Dried basil
1/2 tsp Dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Rinse quinoa thoroughly (it will taste bitter if you don't) and cook, covered, on low heat for 15 minutes in 2 cups boiling water. Stir in tomatoes and chili pepper, beans, corn, herbs and spices and heat thoroughly

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