I want to share my love of quinoa and how versatile it can be in any recipe. I know I write a lot about keeping the grains at bay, but there are some healthy grains that we should all add to our diets, quinoa is one of those.
When I say versatile, I mean it. You can literally find recipes for almost anything using quinoa. It has such a mild flavor, light and fluffy texture, that it is a great addition to recipes for increased protein and fiber.
You’ll find recipes for quinoa burgers, quinoa pizza bites, quinoa lasagna, quinoa muffins, quinoa fritters, quinoa bread and the list goes on.
Even though it’s technically not considered a grain, but a seed, we still group it with the grains.
The health benefits of quinoa are amazing. It’s been touted as a super food by some. Let me share a few of the many benefits of quinoa with you.
4 Health Benefits of Quinoa
- Very high in protein. Quinoa has a much higher protein value than other grains. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8.14 gms of protein. The recommended protein intake for most women is 46 grams per day and for men 56 grams per day. So you can see how added quinoa to lots of different recipes can boost the protein in your diet tremendously.
- Very high in fiber. Fiber is something very scarce in the typical SAD (standard American Diet) with fast food on every corner, more and more boxed and prepackaged foods in the grocery store, no wonder. We need to make a conscious effort to add more fiber into our families diets each day. Approximately 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 5 grams of fiber, 21% of our recommended daily allowance. Which isn’t a great lot, but compared to most grains, it’s pretty good.
- Naturally gluten free. Quinoa is great for people with gluten intolerance. I think many people can benefit from a gluten free diet even if you don’t have noted gluten intolerance. Just make sure your foods are naturally gluten free. So many are jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, but their diets are filled with prepackaged gluten free products. These are no better than the gluten you are attempting to avoid. Most prepackaged food is junk food, so think before you buy. Just because it says gluten free on the label, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
- Low glycemic index. Glycemic index is how quickly a food raises blood sugar. Foods that typically have a high glycemic index, cookies, cakes, processed snacks, raise the blood sugar very quickly. This leads to mood swings, cravings for more sweets and a viscous cycle. Quinoa does have a fair amount of carbs, but the health benefits I feel, outweigh the number. So use some common sense. If you are eating a low carb diet, just remember, there are still some healthy grains and foods that rate lower on the glycemic index that are still healthy.
These are just a few of the nutritional benefits of quinoa. Now I want to share a delicious, super versatile, summer quinoa salad recipe with you. There are so many varieties of this salad, that’s why I love it. Whatever, lean protein, or veggies you love, give it your own spin.
Below is one of my favorite versions of this super easy quinoa salad. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, you’re gonna be surprised at how easy, light and fluffy it cooks up.
Super Easy and Versatile Quinoa Salad
1 cup dry quinoa
2 medium avocados
½ cup cherry tomatoes
3 oz baby spinach
½ cup sweet Vidalia onion or purple chopped
½ cup chopped sweet yellow and red pepper
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
Cook quinoa as directed on package. If you buy your quinoa in bulk, it’s usually one cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil and simmer 15 minutes with lid on. Don’t overcook or it will be mushy.
While quinoa is cooking, make your dressing by adding ingredients to a bowl and whisking. Set aside.
Chop spinach, dice avocados, half tomatoes, and dice onions and sweet peppers. When quinoa is cooked, let sit for about 5 minutes, then place over chopped spinach. The warm quinoa will wilt the spinach and that’s ok. Add onions, peppers and tomatoes, toss. Next, mix in dressing and last, add avocados.
Serve immediately. Great to keep leftovers in refrigerator and take cold for lunch.
There are a variety of foods and ingredients you could add to this salad…
Cooked chicken breast
The sky’s the limit!
I hope you enjoy this super easy versatile quinoa salad as much as we do. I would love to get your feedback and hear what version you tried. Share with us all!