[caption id="attachment_2575" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Photo taken from WholeLiving.com "][/caption]
By Toni Carey (@toni_carey and @blackgirlsrun)
Quinoa has become one of my new favorite foods. Considered a "complete protein" it's a great addition to my vegetarian diet. But THE best thing about quinoa is how versatile it is. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be substituted in recipes for rice, couscous, millet, barley, or any other grain. (However, while it's used like a grain, for your information, it's actually a seed.) Not to mention it's very filling, so if you are trying to cut back on calories, it will fill your belly quickly. And last, but not least, it has detoxifying properties and can help relieve constipation or bloating (Maybe "Aunt Flow" isn't that powerful after all! POW! )
Quinoa is easy to find at most grocery stores, so you don't have to worry about visiting a specialty market. I came across this delicious recipe in Whole Living magazine and couldn't resist sharing. I've made it a dozen times and I never get tired of it. It's light, easy and tasty, not to mention packed with protein, great for fueling up for your run or workout.
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup (3 ounces) quinoa
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 lime, halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds until crisp, lightly browned, and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add yellow pepper, garlic, scallions, and red-pepper flakes; cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in quinoa, thyme, 1 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 7 minutes. Stir in zucchini, cover, and cook until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from heat.
Stir in celery, almonds, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt, and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature before packing into two containers and refrigerating. When ready to eat, squeeze lime over salad, if desired. Serve with additional lime wedge and thyme, if desired.