Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe: Quinoa

Have you heard of quinoa but just haven't a clue what to do with it?  Have you tried it once or twice--maybe you weren't all that thrilled but you're up for trying it again?  Maybe you totally love it but you've run out of fabulous recipes??  Well, if you have answered yes to any of these pressing questions, you have come to right place.  Greg and I ate a LOT of quinoa when we were doing our cleanse/detox/elimination diet back in January and have come to truly admire and respect, food stuff, BUT--what is QUINOA exactly??

A little bit about Quinoa from Wikipedia:
"Quinoa ( /ˈknwɑː/ or /kɪˈn.ə/Spanishquinua, from Quechuakinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetsspinach, and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source ofdietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights."

The following recipe, from Dr. Junger's Clean Detox program,  is very flavorful and satisfying.  The first time I tried this dish I was surprised at how incredibly tasty it was (and honestly, before this, I never would have refered to Quinoa as "incredibly tasty"...) There is a nice crunch from the almonds and carrots.  The unexpected sweetness from the agave and currants goes surprisingly well with the acid of the lime and the spice of the cumin which dresses this salad.  And then there is the mint...I love mint and its just perfect in this.  Sometimes it just nice to eat food that is simple and uncomplicated.  We all indulge and over-do-it from time to time and I, for one, like the idea of swinging to the other end of that spectrum once in a while...just to balance things out...

Alejandro Junger’s Recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh

- 2 cups Quinoa, cooked--its very easy, just follow directions on package.
- 1 TB parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp Agave Nectar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.  Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine.
2.  Let the quinoa tabbouleh stand for at least 30 minutes… it is even better the next day!

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