Our recipe today focuses on one of the most popular “ancient grains” out there. I am sure you have heard of quinoa by now. It has been in the healthy foods spotlight for quite some time and for good reason; quinoa is amazing. It is prepared the same way you would prepare rice but it is much better for you. The primary reason this seed outshines grains like rice is because it is a “complete” protein. What this means is it already has all parts needed for your body to make protein. Quinoa is one of very few plants known to be a complete protein! Some call it a pseudo-grain because it looks and acts like a grain, but it’s a seed.
That’s great, but how is it to eat? If you’re a texture person, it takes some getting used to if you prefer the plushness of rice. Quinoa itself doesn’t have much flavor and largely depends upon your water source. I usually use veggie or chicken broth in place of water. You can use butter in water if you don’t have any broth on hand, however, I would recommend using broth whenever you can because it really builds flavor.
Quinoa comes in many forms and colors, and the labels might confuse you because there are so many varieties and ways to prepare it. Be careful which one you pick because a lot of packages that are sold are mixtures of many different seeds and grains. Make sure what you’re getting is pure quinoa, and not quinoa mixed with wild rice, bulgur wheat, or sorghum. I like to use sprouted quinoa in either the traditional or red color. Don’t worry, both colors cook the same way. Some varieties and packages require you to rinse it first, others don’t. Just remember, whenever in doubt, read the label!
Here is a quick and easy recipe using quinoa. I call it “Quinoa Caprese.” It looks great, and tastes even better! The best part? It was fast and easy. The other best part? It’s nutritious. And the other best part? It tastes great! (Yes, this is worth mentioning twice.)
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup veggie broth or chicken broth or water
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil (Dried basil can be used as well) to taste
Boil the quinoa and broth together per the directions. Remove from heat and add the tomatoes. Let that sit so the tomatoes get soft and squishy. Add the basil just before serving.
I added tuna to my meal (pictured) because I like having more protein with my meals. You can easily substitute chicken breast or even have this as a side for a beef dish. The recipe as directed can serve 2-3 people easily.
There are tons of great recipes using quinoa. Get creative! Eating clean doesn’t have to mean you only eat salads!