Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a tiny seed that packs a powerful protein punch for its size. It’s considered a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids. Though it appears to be a grain and is often mistaken for one, it’s actually the seed from a leafy plant. Quinoa is also high in dietary fiber and is easily digested. It can be used in soups, as a substitute for oatmeal, and in just about any recipe that calls for grains. You can usually find quinoa at health food stores, and some supermarket chains carry it as well.
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (see below for cooking instructions)
1 Italian Salad Dressing Recipe
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped sugar snap peas
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced orange bell peppers
1/2 cup diced yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup grated carrots
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Mixed greens, optional
Mix quinoa, vegetables, pine nuts, basil, and parsley. Pour Italian Salad Dressing over all. Stir well to combine. Serve alone or with mixed greens.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)
- To prepare quinoa, pour 1 cup quinoa into a saucepan, and cover with water. Using your fingers, swirl quinoa around in the water a few times. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, and rinse with cold water. Return quinoa to saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer gently with lid tilted for 15 minutes or until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Makes about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
- Substitute Italian Salad Dressing with Lemon-Tahini Salad Dressing.
- Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. Try artichokes, broccoli, celery, olives, steamed asparagus, or zucchini.
- Add chickpeas.
- Top with toasted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds.
- Use chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts.