I’m back! After a week of eating my way through NYC (several re-caps to come!) while trying to maintain a workout regimen (at least I had to walk a lot…), it feels pretty good to be home. That being said, the Mister and I have really got to get our butts in gear and focus on exercise and healthy, nutritional meals this week — call it a NYC detox, if you will!
I am CRAVING fresh vegetables and whole grains and have been thinking about what to make for dinner tonight to get us back on track. Requirements? Fresh, healthy, light, incorporates seasonal produce and whole grains, promotes good digestion. Solution: quinoa salad with roasted vegetables.
Quin – wha?, you ask? Well, Quinoa (a seed, not a grain, as most commonly think) has picked up much popularity over the past few years due to its high protein content and nutritional punch. A complete protein, quinoa contains all 9 amino acids that are required by the body as building blocs for muscles. In addition, quinoa boasts the following:
- Magnesium – aids in relaxing muscles and blood pressure
- Fiber- remember the ‘promoting good digestion’ requirement? Check!
- Manganese and copper – acts as antioxidants that get rid of dangerous cancer and disease- causing toxins
In addition, Quinoa acts as a prebiotic that feeds the microflora (good bacteria) in your intestines. For a more detailed nutritional breakdown take a look at the Quinoa nutrient chart from “The World’s Healthiest Foods” Web site.
While most have heard of quinoa, few have actually cooked it for themselves. The truth is (as much as I would like to have you believe I’m a culinary genius), it’s actually quite easy to prepare. Over the years, I’ve compiled many quinoa salad recipes and created one of my own. I always serve it with steamed vegetables. I select whatever vegetables look the most appealing to me and in season.
- 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
- 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
- 1 small red pepper
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 2 oz low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash of black pepper
Place quinoa and 3 cups water in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (about 15 minute.) Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let cool.
Once cooled, combine quinoa with red onion, black beans, corn, tomatoes, parsley red pepper and feta cheese.
Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.
Serve over mixed greens along with your favorite steamed vegetables.
What meal do you make to get back on track?
I’ll leave you with a NYC recap teaser…