Have you ever stood in your kitchen, staring into your pantry as if it were an empty abyss? You rack your brain and look in your cookbook, but still… nothing. Zilch. No inspiration. You are sick of cooking the same old thing.
Even with my food and nutrition background, I have found myself in this state more than once. As I would think through the different food groups to incorporate in our family meal, I found myself tired of the same whole-grain choices: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, etc.
Trying to pull myself out of one of these cooking “slumps”, I stumbled across a recipe. It was a quinoa salad recipe and I had never cooked quinoa for my family before. I vaguely remembered learning about quinoa previously in college. When I went through my dietetics program, I was introduced to a vast array of foods in our cooking courses. Foods from all over the world. One of the things introduced to me for the first time was a seed from the Andes in South America called quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).
I decided to try the salad recipe and now it has become a staple in our family. My first encounter with quinoa was an assignment, my second encounter began a love-affair.
I consider quinoa a powerhouse grain. It has more to offer nutritionally than most other grains. (In reality, quinoa is a seed rather than a grain, but acts and incorporates into meals like a grain.)
This single seed has given my cooking a boost for several reasons.
The Beneficial Breakdown:
- It is higher in protein (7g per serving) than other grains.
- It is considered a complete protein, providing all essential amino acids – which help promote the development, growth and healing processes in the body.
- Quinoa cooks faster than other grains
- It is a good source of fiber (3g per serving), magnesium, iron, folate and phosphorous.
- It can be versatile, being able to be used in place of rice, pasta or other grains and is great as a hot cereal or as a salad or side dish.
Quinoa has a light nutty flavor with a texture similar to that of couscous and takes on the any flavored meal like rice.
Quinoa is now readily available at most grocery stores. So next time you’re trying to think of a side dish or a grain option for your meal… check out quinoa and see why it’s prepared regularly in my kitchen.
You won’t regret trying the Quinoa Salad with Peaches recipe I stumbled upon in Cooking Light.
Since we’ve made this recipe a number of times, I’ve had fun playing around with the ingredients. The peach slices make it divine and since they’re not in season year round, you could either use frozen peaches or play around with incorporating your favorite fruit.
In the above picture, I didn’t have any green onions on hand. So instead of heading to the store for one ingredient, I decided to throw in another green food that we love and ups the nutrition of the salad: edamame.
In this picture, I decided to make the recipe more of an entree than a salad and added a Southwest twist. I incorporated sliced organic turkey sausage, black beans and diced avocado. The result was heavenly and filling.
Quinoa Salad with Peaches
(makes 4 servings)
***To cook the quinoa:
Bring 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Fluff and cool quinoa slightly.
***For the salad stir in:
1/4 cup minced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sliced ripe peach
Chill salad, serve and enjoy!
© 2012 Standing on Peace