Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You take such darn good care of me, Quinoa.

The basics, yo.

Quinoa is the seed of a dark leafy plant related to Swiss chard and spinach, but because of its texture, it is usually grouped with the grains. It is light and fluffy, has a nutty flavor and is easily substituted for rice and couscous. It cooks quickly, is easy to digest and is a bona fide nutrient powerhouse. Need I say more? Not really, but I will...

-Quinoa is packed with protein. In fact, it's the only grain that is a complete protein, making it especially good for vegetarians and vegans.

-It's wheat and gluten free making it ideal for restricted diets and people with food allergies.

-It's low on the Glycemic Index and won't spike blood sugar levels. Great for diabetics.

-Full o' fiber. 'nuf said.

-Aaand, it's uber-packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium and iron.
Woo hoo!

Now, get a hold of your excited self and make some quinoa!

Quinoa with black beans and tomatoes

2 t lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
3 T olive oil (or whatever kind you like)
1 cup quinoa
15 oz. black beans, canned or soaked, rinsed
2 medium tomatoes (cherry or plum is fine too), diced and tossed with a pinch of sugar if needed
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Whisk together lime zest and juice, oil, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper in a large bowl.
  • Rinse quinoa VERY well in a sieve and drain.
  • To cook quinoa, remember, 2 to 1. 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Combine water, rinsed quinoa and a good pinch salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. You will know when the quinoa is cooked when: the water is absorbed, it's translucent and the germ of the seed shows a little white ring around the outside.
  • Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy!

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