Though technically a seed, quinoa is often referred to and used like grains such as rice and wheat. Quinoa contains good quality protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and health-protective phytochemicals. Here’s why you should add quinoa to your diet.
1. Quality Protein: Quinoa has a high amount of digestible protein that provides all essential amino acids in balanced amounts also referred to as a “Complete Protein”. Its quality has been compared to that of casein in milk. This makes quinoa a valuable addition to any diet but it’s especially useful in vegan and vegetarian diets.
2. Packed with Vitamins and Minerals: Quinoa provides an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1, B2, B6, and folate, and the minerals phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, and iron. It is a particularly good source of manganese, a mineral required for many functions in the body, for example, the metabolism of food, immune system function, and blood sugar regulation.
3. High in Fiber: Cooked quinoa contains just over five grams of fiber per cup, which is 21% of the Daily Value for a diet that contains 2,000 calories. Fiber-rich diets are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also keeps your bowels healthy.
4. Beneficial Phytochemicals: Quinoa contains polyphenols, carotenoids, and isoflavones, among others. These chemicals can, for instance, act in the body as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They may protect against chronic diseases.
5. Low GI (glycemic index) Food: Quinoa’s low GI value means it won’t cause a rapid rise in blood glucose after eating. This gradual increase in blood sugar helps to control hunger, which makes quinoa suitable for weight loss diets. Eating low GI foods may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
6. Versatile Food: Quinoa is often sold as seeds, but there are many otheFrer quinoa-derived products, such as flour, bread, pasta, breakfast products, and even whiskey. Its mild flavor makes it suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.
7. Easy to prepare: The simplest way to cook quinoa is to boil it in water or broth (one part quinoa to two parts liquid) until it is fluffy. However, if you don’t use dehulled seeds, rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove its bitter outer coating. Use the cooked grains as you would rice, couscous, or similar foods.
So, if you are looking for a true superstar in your nutritional toolkit, look to quinoa. Try this Fresh Veggie Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Lime Yogurt Dressing.
This fresh veggie quinoa bowl is made with some of my favorite foods including avocado, edamame, garbanzo (chick peas), blanched carrots and crisp radishes all topped with a simple tahini lime yougurt dressing. Keeping it light and simple is the key with this easy, prep-ahead and assemble meal or snack.
Prepare quinoa in advance and refrigerate. Rinse quinoa and drain, Add 2 cups of water to pot, add quinoa and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow quinoa to rest for 5 5 minutes before refrigerating
.Slice carrots into thin slices. Pour carrots into a small pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately remove carrots from hot water and rinse in colander with ice, cold water. Dry carrots and set aside..
Prepare vegetables and beans. Assemble bowls with a layer of fresh spinach, thinly sliced carrots, avocado, radish and cucumbers, edamame and garbanzo beans. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve with tahini lime yogurt dressing.
Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
* use plant based "yogurt" for vegetarian or vegan dietary requirements