Kathy Smith’s Sweet As Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe
I love to eat and enjoy the ritual of cooking and sharing those meals with loved ones. Many people still hold the misconception that “healthy” equates with unsatisfying and flavorless. Wrong! You will be excited by the luscious, full-flavor foods you can eat and still lose weight. Today, I’ll share with you my sweet and mouthwatering quinoa salad recipe and explain why quinoa should be a staple in your pantry.
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Kathy’s Sweet As Summer Quinoa Salad
2 C water
1 C Quinoa
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 C shelled edamame
1/3 C chopped red onion
1/4 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 C sliced almonds
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 C. raisins
Zest of 2 limes
Heat water in a medium saucepan to boiling; stir in quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Let stand for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together vinegar and lime zest; set aside.
In your serving bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, edamame, red onion, coconut flakes, almonds, raisins and cilantro. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah,” is a mild-flavored pseudocreal (not a grain) with a subtle nutty taste. The quinoa plant is actually related to spinach, Swiss chard and beets, and we use its seed like a grain. With its many versatile uses (sprinkle on salads, add it to soups, or use as a base for a vegetarian burger), quiona is a food trend that’s here to stay!
Types of Quinoa
You may be surprised to hear that there are more than 120 varieties of quinoa, with the most common varieties being white, red, and black. While white quinoa (also called “ivory quinoa”) is the most readily available, it’s fun to experiment with other flavors as well. The red and black varieties tend to draw in more flavor and also hold their shape better while cooking, making them ideal for cold salads.
Where Does Quinoa Come From
Quinoa been a staple food in South America for about 5,000 years! Much of the quinoa now comes from Bolivia and Peru.
Benefits of Quinoa
Here are 5 reasons why you’ll want to make quinoa a staple in your diet:
- Quinoa is actually a complete protein
Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids. These 9 amino acids are considered essential because your body cannot produce them on it’s own. This means you need to find a way to consume them through your diet. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein. Look no further than the quinoa sitting on the shelf in your pantry!
- Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most grains.
Fiber is important, as it makes sure that your digestive system is on track, while also helping you balance your blood sugar levels. In fact, one cup of cooked quinoa has 5g of fiber, which will help get you to your daily goal of 25-30 g.
- Quinoa has a low glycemic index
This complex carbohydrate has a low glycemic index which helps to promote weight loss by helping to control blood sugar levels. Because quinoa has a low glycemic index, this carbohydrate will help balance your blood sugar levels and keep your energy even throughout the day.
- Quinoa contains Iron
Many people reach to iron supplements to help boost red blood cell health. Red blood cells are an important component in our body as they carry oxygen from one cell to another.
- Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2).
Riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, actually helps to improve energy metabolism. It helps convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is then burned t0 produce energy.