FRIDAY FINDS: Quinoa Salad

What exactly is Quinoa and why all the hype?  It's a grain full of protein, known as the trendy 'superfood.'  Let's explore that further.  According to Mind Body Green, there are seven benefits to eating Quinoa.

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. 

3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron 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. 

4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. 

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese 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.

With that being said, and the benefits clearly presented, how does it taste?  Absolutely fantastic!  After ordering this salad at a small sea-side cafe on the coast of Oregon several years ago, my sister and I decided that dissection was mandatory.  Here's a breakdown of the recipe calling for tricolor Quinoa (found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and most markets).  

Quinoa Salad.jpg

Rinse 1 Cup Quinoa in a strainer until water is clear

Cook according to directions and let cool to room temperature on stove

Place cooled Quinoa in large mixing bowl

Chop one red bell pepper and one bunch green onions into small pieces

Add pepper and onions to Quinoa

Add 1/3 Cup currents to mixture

Chop 1/2+ Cup salted pistachio meats and add to mixture

Squeeze 1/2 Meyer Lemon over mixture (1/4 at a time)

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over mixture (start with a few tablespoons)

Sprinkle 1 - 1.5 teaspoons of Cumin over mixture

Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and mix well.  Continue to add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and cumin a little at a time until you're satisfied.  You really cannot ruin this recipe.

VOILA!  Healthy and delicious.

Quinoaly yours,

Lori

PS Donna, now you have the recipe!