Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a healthy, high-protein, gluten-free alternative to grains. It is actually a seed and is considered a complete protein and a superfood. Quinoa has a light nutty flavor and is extremely versatile. I often use it in place of rice and toss it on salads and into soups. This quinoa salad is perfect as a side dish or you can throw some grilled fish or chicken on top for a main course. Give it a try!
- 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 small red pepper, finely diced
- 1/3 small red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Grated lemon zest from a whole lemon
- Lemon juice from a whole lemon
- Lime juice from 1/2 a lime
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Rinse and drain the quinoa then combine with the 3 cups of water in a medium size uncovered pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and is tender. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread pine nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.
- Combine tomatoes, red pepper, onion, parsley, basil, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lime in a medium size bowl. Add the cooled quinoa and pine nuts. Toss everything together and add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: approximately 9, ½ cup servings
Nutrition Facts per serving (1/2 cup): 223 Calories, 13 grams Fat, 23 grams Carbohydrate, 6 grams protein.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Basil: Revered in many traditions around the world, basil benefits cardiovascular health and offers DNA protection and anti-bacterial properties. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin A. In addition, basil is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
Lemon/Lime: These citrus fruits contain citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. They also have anti-microbial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The fruits’ bioflavonoids may also function as anti- inflammatories and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.
Onions: Onions contain a number of flavonoids, one being quercetin (found in Juvenon’s Youthful Energy). This nutrient has been demonstrated in studies to protect the liver, cool the fire of inflammation and has anti-cancer properties. Quercetin may help in weight control by reducing fat synthesis and increasing fat burning.
Parsley: A sprig of parsley can provide much more than a decoration on your plate. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It is a good source of iron and folate. Parsley’s volatile oil components include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Its flavonoids include apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.
Pine Nuts: A popular ingredient in pesto sauces, as a food topping, in desserts, and in meat and fish dishes, pine nuts are actually the edible seeds of pine trees. They are an excellent source of protein, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin A. While these tiny wonders are somewhat high in calories (56 calories per teaspoon) they are also high in heart-friendly monounsaturated fats.
Quinoa: This grain alternative is high in protein and is a source of all essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine, which makes it a complete protein. It provides a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients, flavonoids and polysaccharides. Quinoa is rich in vitamin E and a very good source of antioxidant-promoting manganese. It is also a good source of heart-healthy magnesium folate, and fiber, as well as bone-building phosphorus and copper.
Red Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin C and are members of the nightshade family. They also provide plenty of fiber, water and Vitamin A.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of the flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may offer protection from skin damage and skin cancer. Another flavonoid abundant in tomatoes is Zeaxanthin, which helps prevent age related macular disease (ARMD). This fruit, which is often thought of as a vegetable, is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.