This is part of my series about the superfoods that are in Shakeology. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is grown in South America. It is technically a seed but is usually considered a grain. It does not contain gluten. It is high in protein and has many minerals and contains all the essential amino acids. One half cup of quinoa has 14 grams of protein. Quinoa is high in iron and is a great food to eat when you have anemia. It has twice as much fiber as other grains.
When using quinoa in a recipe it is important to soak the quinoa first. The outer shell can be bitter and soaking fixes that problem. Or you can buy pre-soaked quinoa and solve that problem. Quinoa has a delicious, nutty flavor and is very easy to prepare. Its texture is similar to couscous. Quinoa can be found in most grocery stores. It can be used in any recipe in place of rice or other grains and contains much more protein than other grains.
Quinoa has been around for centuries but has only recently become popular in the U.S. I tried it about a year ago and my children were instant fans. It can be prepared ahead and used in place of rice or pasta in some of your favorite recipes. I’ll provide a couple of recipes for you to try – it’s good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- 1/2 lb ground turkey, browned
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
- 1 c fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup quinoa
- 3 large carrots, grated (1½ cups)
- 1½ cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided (or your favorite cheese)
- 4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in spinach and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in black beans, quinoa,carrots, cooked ground turkey and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
- Fill each bell pepper half with heaping ¾-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 Tbs. remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.
Quinoa for breakfast is very filling and you can change up the things you add in (dried fruits, nuts, seeds) for variety. Here’s a breakfast recipe to try.