It’s summer right? - Well the unofficiallyat least with the May 2-4 weekend only a few days away. I can feel yourexcitement through the computer screen! When it comes to dinner, summer nightsalways require a change of scene at my house. Not only do I want to keep itlight and refreshing, but my social calendar is jam-packed with outdooractivities (and maybe the odd patio drink), so I need to keep dinner both lightand easy on time. Quinoa is my answer.
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) has taken thenutrition world by storm the last few years, and for good reason – it is packedwith all the nutrients you need to keep you healthy.
Quinoa is what is known as a “pseudograin”,which means although it looks like a grain, and acts like a grain,scientifically speaking it isn’t a grain at all. Quinoa is a chenopod, and isclosely related to such species as beets, spinach and Swiss chard.
What makes quinoa extraordinary? Here arejust a few of this wunder-grain’s highlights:
1.It is a complete protein and asource of all essential amino acids (a great plant-based addition to the dietsof vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike)
2.It is a source ofmonounsaturated fatty acids, helping to keep hearts healthy
3.It is a source of calcium,helping to keep bones strong
4.It is an anti-inflammatory foodand a source of antioxidants, helping to keep chronic disease at bay
Nutrition benefits aside, what makes quinoawonderful to me is how versatile it is. I like to cook a big pot of it onSunday night and store it in the fridge for an easy dinner fix the rest of theweek. It is great tossed into salads (and makes them more “meal-like” for theheartier readers out there), is an amazing base for veggie burgers, and evenmakes a wonderful switch up to your morning oatmeal when combined with a littlealmond milk and berries.
Because you can cook it in advance it is agreat quick-fix when you are rushing home, and also means you don’t have toheat and oven or fire up a BBQ, when you are short on time. Light on caloriesand high in protein also gives your beach-bod the fuel it needs withoutbreaking the strings to your bikini!
Below is one of my favourite ways to playaround with some quinoa. You can make these ahead of time and store in thefridge. Or if you aren’t feeling the veggie burger vibe, forgo making thepatties (i.e. adding the egg and baking them) and simply combine all thequinoa, veggies, and spices to some chopped greens, and drizzle with a littleolive oil or your favourite vinaigrette. Simple & yummy… could you ask foranything more?
1 cup quinoa, cookedto directions, cooled (Note: ensure quinoa is on the dryish or else burgerswill be too wet)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 red pepper,finely diced
2 Tbsp, parsleychopped
2 eggs, lightlywhisked
2 tsp, chili powder
1 tsp, cumin
pinch red pepperflakes
salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to400°F
2. In small bowl,lightly whisk eggs
3. In large mixingbowl, combine remaining ingredients
4. Add eggs tomixture and use hands to combine
5. Form intopatties, place on baking sheet
6. Bake for 15minutes, flip and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes