By Rachel Grussi Fresh and flavorful recipes are always in need in my household. If I’m left unchecked, I’ll cook the same meals every week out of habit and familiarity. But when there’s a tasty new quinoa recipe to try, I’m always ready to give it a shot!
Quinoa is a terrific grain superfood that you should start working into your dinners, if you haven’t already. As we know, Americans could use a heck of a lot more fiber in their lives without any nasty additives or toxins. Quinoa is the total package, with loads of fiber and nutrients, and it’s been eaten for thousands of years, starting with the Incas who called it their “gold.” They believed it increased their warrior’s stamina, so you can start making your family into Inca warriors with this recipe.
Here are seven good reasons to start eating this grain more:
- Protein: quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
- Fiber: seeking fiber? Look no further; quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains, so if you’re constipated or want to prevent heart disease, quinoa is there for you. Fiber reduces high blood pressure and diabetes, lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer. On top of all this, quinoa is also less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Iron: quinoa is a good source of iron, which is important not only for women, but humans of any age. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. It carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.
- Lysine: Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair. If you’re an athlete, this is a great benefit for you to keep in mind.
- Magnesium: plagued by migraines? Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and can help ease your throbbing migraines. Diabetics may also be glad to hear that magnesium may help Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
- Riboflavin: also known as Vitamin B2, B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells, perfect for your hungry horde of warriors.
- Manganese: this nutrient is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals. You can get a daily source of it from quinoa, of course.
In addition to all these health benefits, this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod is darn delicious. It’s great for family dinners, as it serves about 4-6 people and only takes 35 minutes total to cook. Bon appétit!
3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups water 1 cup quinoa 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 cup frozen peas 1 avocado, chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/4 cup chopped basil
- In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.
- Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and fresh lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, peas, and avocado. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.