In my combined effort to eat healthier and clean out my fridge, I put together this fresh and flavorful quinoa salad. It's packed with fresh flavors and lots of crunch. It would make a great side dish, or even a stand-alone lunch.
If you're not familiar with quinoa, allow me to feed your mind with some information:
- Quinoa is pronounced as KEEN-WAH
- Quinoa is 100% whole grain and is close to being a perfect food source in the balance of nutrition it provides. Technically it's not a grain but the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein - 12% to 18%. According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom". Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. It also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.
- Quinoa is a source of all essential amino acids according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. It's a great source of B vitamins containing niacin, thiamin and B6.It contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin. It's also good source of zinc, copper, and manganese, and magnesium. It contains folic acid and vitamin E.
- Quinoa is a great food for people who must follow wheat-free/gluten-free diets because Quinoa doesn't contain gluten. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any other grain.
- Quinoa has a nutty, smoky flavor and is less filling than other grains and pastas.
- Quinoa has been one of the primary foods of the Inca Indians for more than 5,000 years. The Incas referred to Quinoa as "Mother Grain". Most quinoa is grown in the Andes in South America. Some quinoa is now being grown in the Colorado Rockies. The fact that quinoa will grow in extremely poor soil together with its great nutritional value makes it a true super grain to feed the world.
- Quinoa seed are covered with bitter tasting saponins that naturally repel insects and birds. Removing the saponins is a somewhat involved process but is already done for you when you buy a quality brand like Ancient Harvest Quinoa. It's believed that the bitter tasting saponins are what discouraged the Spanish from using Quinoa.
(the above information was found here)
Because of its health benefits, you're likely to see me using quinoa in more recipes this year. I hope you'll give it a try!