BODY: Quinoa Love Affair

quinoa

I have an obsession with quinoa. It is replete with health benefits and is one of the most protein-rich foods available. It is a complete protein, carrying all nine essential amino acids, which makes it excellent for vegetarians & vegans. It also packs a healthy dose of fibre, which helps prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. Quinoa contains iron, which helps carry oxygen throughout our body, increases brain function and aids in energy metabolism. It is rich in magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and alleviates migraines. Magnesium may also benefit Type 2 diabetes by helping maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

Not only does it do all of this for your body, but you can use quinoa for everything; it can be a substitute for high calorie/carbohydrate sources such as rice and pasta, it can be used to make patties, “veggieloafs”, and you can use it in lieu of oatmeal and top it with fresh berries for breakfast. There’s a reason it is hailed as a superfood!

I personally love quinoa salad during summer months. It’s light and refreshing, and fills you up without weighing you down (or bloating you during bikini season).

This recipe can use either plain or red quinoa, although I prefer the red quinoa because the texture and taste complements the ingredients better.

To cook quinoa, follow the same rules as cooking rice. Make sure you measure the dry quinoa, remembering the proportion of dried quinoa to cooked quinoa is about 1:3, so 1 cup dry yields approximately 3 cups cooked.

Rinse and drain the quinoa, then put the rinsed quinoa in a pot of water using a ratio of 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water. Put in some salt to taste if you’d like. Cover and bring to a boil, once it boils, turn the heat down to simmer and leave the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa is soft. If the quinoa is tender but there’s excess water, turn off the boiler but leave the quinoa uncovered for another 5 minutes until it is absorbed.

Once your quinoa is cooked, set it aside and prep your fruits and veggies! I use grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, avocado, green onion, red onion and garlic. Use whatever amount appeals to you, but the more veggies the better.

As for dressing, I prefer making my own so I know exactly what is going into it, and so it’s fresh! For the dressing, I use roughly three tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a la France, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 and a half teaspoons red wine vinegar. Modifying this per taste, and per serving size, if you want a stronger mustard taste or not. Mix all of this together, either in a large serving bowl or per meal.

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