by Scott Ingenito
Quinoa, Most people think of it as a grain, a replacement for rice. In fact it is a seed, grown up in the Andes mountains of South America. The ancient
Quinoa is stocked with life-sustaining nutrients all across the board, including all eight essential amino acids. There are other highly beneficial compounds, vitamins and minerals in this food that the Incas reverently called “Chisaya Mama” (mother of all grains).
Vegetarians should incorporate quinoa into their diet often. It’s difficult for vegetarians to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Usually, vegetarians and vegans need to combine foods like beans and rice to acquire all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
Those with gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies can rejoice in eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat. (Spanish conquistadors during the South American conquest suppressed quinoa production, as it was associated with what the Spaniards perceived as non-Christian, indigenous, ceremonial backwardness. Thus, wheat was cultivated in the Andes region.)
Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient, and I use it in many ways, but here is one of my new favorite ways to incorporate this superfood into my diet.
MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA SALAD
1/2 cup white quinoa
1/2 cup red quinoa
2 cups filtered water
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sweet onion, diced small
2 cups Kale, chiffonade
1/2 cup Beech mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, diced
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
In a rice cooker, place your quinoa, water, salt & pepper and bay leaf. Turn on and let cook while prepping your vegetables.
In a saute pan over medium heat add grape seed oil and saute your onions until tender. Then add your Kale, cook until wilted.
Add in your peppers and mushrooms, cook until tender. Season with salt, pepper, and all spices.
Remove the bay leaf from your cooked quinoa, add quinoa to the pan and toss until evenly distributed over medium heat. Add in your lemon zest & juice. toss to combine.
Remove from the heat, At this point I like to drizzle a nice flavorful extra virgin olive oil on top, and add some fresh chopped parsley, then Serve.
I served it most recently topped with a nice piece of seared atlantic salmon. The combination of the crispy salmon skin, buttery flakey salmon and this quinoa is out of this world. Try this out, or add your own twist…. I would love to hear about your favorite way to use Quinoa. My next mission is to make Arancini with quinoa, stay tuned!