Hello, THN readers! I’m Yuri, aka Chef Pandita, and I’ll be sharing some delicious and healthy recipes with you every Thursday. What should we call these posts? Yummy Thursdays? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below J.
I love baking and, at the same time, I have a passion for healthy eating (leaning towards vegetarianism). We all want to look good and as we grow older whatever we put in our mouths affect our wellbeing and appearance. Indulging is good and necessary, but unfortunately we can’t live on ice cream and Oreos…
I hope I can help you discover new ingredients and flavors. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!
For today’s post, let’s talk about Quinoa! Quinoa is an ingredient I use a lot in my kitchen. You can find it at almost every supermarket, as it’s easy to cook, nutritious and so fun to eat. Although it’s used as a grain, it’s actually a seed that’s been grown forever in South America. It’s only been a few years since this staple has become popular all over the world!
Here are some interesting facts about this superfood:
· Quinoa is gluten-free.
· It’s a complete protein because it has all 9 amino acids (just like meat or eggs). This can’t be said about wheat, rice or legumes.
· Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, riboflavin, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, tryptophan, copper, phosphorus, fiber, and lignans [phytonutrient shown to reduce the risk of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer].
I wouldn’t recommend eating quinoa as your only source of protein because it is a carbohydrate. I always mix it with different salad veggies [preferably raw] and measure the amount I use in my meals.
Moderation is key in everything we do in life (eating, drinking, exercising, shopping!) so keep that in mind when choosing what to eat. Your body needs vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can be obtained with a balanced diet, so aim for eating all kinds of foods. Think of it like eating the rainbow: greens, reds, and orange veggies are all good for you!
Try this delicious quinoa salad, straight from my own kitchen!
Quinoa Carrot Cilantro Salad
· ¼ cup red, white, black quinoa (they’re all the same, I like to mix red and white)
· 1 cup water
· Raw carrot, peeled and chopped/shredded (however you like it best)
· Chopped fresh cilantro (2 tablespoons or to taste)
· 2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
· Fine sea salt or kosher salt
· 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
1. Put water in a saucepan and while it boils, place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under running water.
2. Once the water is boiling, add the rinsed quinoa. After 10 minutes, watch it closely and, as soon as a white string appears (it’s like a curly white tail that pops out of each seed), taste it because you want it “al dente”, not mushy.
3. Strain cooked quinoa and let cool.
4. Meanwhile, start prepping the carrot and cilantro. I use a julienne mandoline to cut the carrot. They are time savers and you can find them at any cooking store or on Amazon.com. Wash and chop the cilantro and put it in a bowl with the chopped/shredded carrot.
5. Mix quinoa, carrot, cilantro and season with lime/lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
6. Put the baby spinach in a salad plate and serve the quinoa on top.
And this is how cooked quinoa should look like:
I make this salad all the time for lunch or dinner. You can also serve it with a grilled chicken breast or fish fillet. Protein is as important as green veggies J, so I often drink vegan protein shakes after working out.
If you haven’t tried quinoa, get a box next time you’re at the supermarket and let me know if you like it… You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or visit my blog.
Have a great weekend and see you all next Thursday!
Photography: Chef Pandita
Author: Chef Pandita