Tag Archives: Quinoa

10 Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes

By now, most everyone knows about the virtues of quinoa: a seed known to the Incas as “the mother of all grains,” it’s high in muscle-building protein and hunger-quashing fiber. And containing all essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine, it’s a smart addition to vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets alike. Vitamin E, which plays a role in keeping inflammation at bay, as well as calcium, the phytonutrient betacyanin and antioxidants ferulic and coumaric acids, quercetin and kaempferol round out its nutritional profile. It’s even been recognized by the UN as a potential key player in worldwide nutrition: it has named 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa,” calling for foodies and non-foodies alike to “focus world attention on the role that quinoa biodiversity can play, owing to the the nutritional value of quinoa, in providing food security and nutrition in the eradication of poverty.”

On its own, quinoa has a nutty taste and chewy texture — but it can be somewhat boring. But dressing it up with vegetables, herbs, spices and dressings makes it not only tasty and filling, but a satisfying and complete meal. These ten recipes have different flavor profiles; but they have in common clean, whole ingredients offering plenty of nutrients. To add more bulk to your meal, double the vegetables in the recipe.

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Grapefruit and Mint

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Grapefruit and Mint

Ingredients
Half a bunch of kale, rinsed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 package mint, finely chopped (about ½ cup packed)
2 grapefruits
¼ cup toasted coconut
Salt and pepper

Method
Cook quinoa: bring to a boil with two cups water or vegetable stock; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Massage kale with olive oil; let sit.

Add quinoa, chopped mint, grapefruit segments and their juice, and toasted coconut; toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

9 Healthy Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing from Two Peas and Their Pod

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad from The Talking Kitchen

Layered Quinoa Salad with Beet Vinaigrette from Family Fresh Cooking

Mexican Quinoa Salad from Recipe Girl

Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad from Bon Appetit

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Pepper, and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans from Gluten Free Goddess

Spicy Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing from The Year in Food

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad from The Diva-Dish

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Pick the Perfect Pasta

It used to be that you just had to pick between spaghetti or fettuccine, penne or cavatappi. But now, the pasta aisle is crammed with so many varieties of pasta — quinoa! corn! spelt! — that it’s become more of a library (reading all those stats…). So instead of letting smart marketing get the best of you, consult this guide to find the best pasta for you.

Regular pasta

Nutrition (2 oz, 1 cup cooked): 200 calories, 1 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein

Good for: Believe it or not, regular pasta can have a place in a healthy diet. But it’s refined! you say. True; and it is best to eat most of your grains in their whole form. But when a recipe you’re making calls for other fiber-rich ingredients, like white beans, chickpeas, or lots of vegetables, it’s okay to use regular pasta every now and then. The taste of real, semolina pasta is hard to emulate with a whole grain version, and sometimes you just need that chewy, not-grainy texture. The other time to use regular pasta: when you want that perfect, unadulterated bowl of spaghetti, olive oil, and a pinch of pepper.

Pairs well with: high-fiber foods; olive oil and pepper; tomatoes and basil

Whole wheat pasta

Nutrition (2 oz, 1 cup cooked): 200 calories, 1.5 g fat, 6 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 7 g protein

Good for: Whole wheat pasta brings a healthy serving of fiber to the table, a nutrient that most Americans are lacking in. Fiber boosts satiety, which is especially important in a pasta, as it’s all too easy to down a bowl with three times the appropriate serving size. But it also helps maintain steady blood sugar levels, boosts digestive health, and improves cardiovascular health.

Pairs well with: Hearty, flavorful sauces like pesto; robust tomato sauces like arrabiatta; pasta salads

Spinach Pasta (or other flavored varieties)

Nutrition (2 oz, 1 cup cooked): 200 calories, 1.5 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 7 g protein

Good for: Flavored varieties of pasta, be it spinach, tomato, or carrot, are good for one thing: presentation. Unfortunately, these vegetable-hued pastas won’t count towards your daily serving of vegetables. If you look on the ingredients list, you’ll see spinach, tomato, or another vegetable listed as one of the last ingredients; that’s because only a few grams of the freeze-dried produce is actually in the pasta. If you’re looking for vegetables, just add a handful of spinach!

Pairs well with: Thin or clear sauces, so that the color shines through. And serve it with a big salad!

Quinoa Pasta

Nutrition (2 oz, 1 cup cooked): 229 calories, 3.7 g fat, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 8 g protein

Good for: Because it’s made from a seed, quinoa pasta hits the trifecta of satiety-boosting nutrients: fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids (don’t let the higher fat content scare you; those are healthy fats!). Quinoa is also gluten free, making this a good option for those with a gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease.

Pairs well with: Anything: quinoa pasta has a mild flavor, so it won’t overpower delicate sauces. Since it offers fiber, you don’t necessarily have to pair it with fiber-rich sides (but vegetables are always a good idea!)

Brown Rice Pasta

Nutrition (2 oz): 190 calories, 3 g fat, 4 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g protein

Good for: Another good gluten free option, brown rice pasta offers both fiber and protein. But since it’s lower in protein than other varieties, it’s a good idea to pair it with protein-rich fare like chicken, shrimp, or beans.

Pairs well with: Brown rice pasta can be stickier and chewier in texture than other varieties, so pair it with thick and chunky sauces.

Shirataki Noodles

Nutrition (4 oz): 20 calories, 0.5 g fat, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein

Good for: These Asian noodles are made from the flour of the Konjac yam and are extremely low in calories. They contain a type of fiber called glucomannan, which may help with cholesterol control; because they’re made with little else, they take on the taste of whatever sauce or ingredients they’re paired with (although some people think their smell is off-putting). These noodles are a good choice for those nights when you want to lose yourself in a big bowl of pasta, or if you have trouble with portion control when it comes with pasta.

Pairs well with: Flavorful sauces likes pesto and marinara. And because Shirataki noodles offer very little in the way of nutrition, pair them with lean protein and fiber-rich vegetables. Or, try Asian flavors: use them as the base in a stir-fry with teriyaki sauce or soy sauce.

Spaghetti squash

Nutrition (1 cup, or about 5.5 oz): 42 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 1 g protein

Good for: Low in calories, spaghetti squash is a good vehicle for hearty, flavorful, chunky sauces — the kind where you really only want to taste the sauce and toppings anyway! It’s packed with fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants. Spaghetti squash also works well in recipes that call for higher calorie toppings, like pesto, alfredo, or meatballs; the extra 200 calories from regular pasta won’t put your dinner over the calorie edge.

Pairs well with: Chunky vegetables sauces; sauces with meatballs; alfredo; pesto

Quinoa Salad with Mango and Chicken

One-pot meals incorporate grains, vegetables, and lean protein into one dish, combining a smorgasbord of nutrients into one perfectly balanced meal. Another benefit: with all your ingredients in one bowl, you can eliminate the guesswork of deciding which sides to serve with your main dish. With high-protein quinoa and chicken – and because you can make it ahead – this meal is a great post-workout option. Adding finely chopped kale bulks up the dish and adds powerful antioxidants without overshadowing the tropical taste of mango, cilantro, and mint.

Ingredients
¾ cup quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup water
4 chicken breasts
1 ½ mango
1 red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped green onion
3 T lemon juice
Lemon zest
1 ½ T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
3 kale leaves, chopped
¼ – ½ cup cilantro, to taste, chopped
¼ – ½ cup mint, to taste, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Fill a saucepan with water and chicken or vegetable broth and quinoa; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and cool in refrigerator.
2. Grill chicken; allow to cool and then slice into strips.
3. Dice mango and red bell pepper; chop kale, scallions, cilantro, and mint.
4. Zest lemon. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
5. Toss quinoa with dressing; add mango, red bell pepper, kale, scallions, cilantro, and mint. Top with sliced chicken.
6. Garnish with cilantro, mint, and lemon zest; season to taste with salt and pepper.If you want more greens, serve over a bed of kale, arugula, or spinach.

Why should you eat this?
Like the Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry, this dish is packed with clean, functional foods – perfect for “the day after” you’ve splurged and want to get back on track. It’s also an ideal post-workout meal for athletes: 29 grams of protein will help rebuild muscle fibers, and complex carbohydrate from quinoa will restore lose glycogen. Quinoa is also rich source of calcium – necessary for proper muscle contraction – and potassium, to promote proper hydration. Kale is colored with chlorophyll, a pigment that oxygenates the blood and improves red blood cell counts to help you power through future workouts, and mangoes contain flavanoids that reduce inflammation.

Since this meal is best served chilled, make it on Sunday and use it as a quick stand-in meal on busy nights or bring it to the office for an easy lunch.

Per serving: 351 calories, 29 g protein, 40 g carbs, 4.6 g fiber, 10 g fat