Friday, July 11, 2008


Quinoa. Let me introduce you to this protein packed little seed. It's sweet, nutty flavor is great for breakfast, salads, dinner and dessert. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (a raritey in plant protein sources). It's rich in fiber, VB6, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Zinc, and Iron. Perfect for our meat free challenge. I've seen it in lots of spots in the those clear "Red Mill" packages or boxed by the flax seed.

Here's several recipes you can try:

Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers (I'll be trying this one for sure!)
serves 4
prep time 35 mins

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, draned and rinsed
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cumin
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 pita breads (6-inch)
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally

1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12-14 mins, set aside (stop here for basic quinoa recipe).

2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, bread crumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon slat, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.

3. Form mixture into four 3/4 inch think patties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 mins to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8-10 mins per side.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.

per serving: 493 cals, 20 g protien, 14 g fat, 75 g carb, 13 g fiber

Quinoa Pudding
serves 8
prep time 30 mins

Pair this lighter version of rice pudding with your favorite dried fruit

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1. In a large saucepan, bring quinoa and 3 cups milk to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12-14 mins.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, honey, eggs, cardamom, and remaining cup of milk. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stirring constantly, slowly pour egg mixture into quinoa; add raisins and apricots.

3. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is think enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3-5 mins. Pour pudding into a 2-quart dish and let cool slightly. Cover surface directly with plastic and refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours.
(I like mine hot though!)

per serving 226 cals, 9g protein, 2 g fat, 45 g carb, 2 g fiber

Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup dry black currants, soaked in warm water then drained
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Boil 4 cups water, add quinoa and cook on medium heat for 10 mins. Drain in strainer, then spread on cookie sheet and let cool. Do not rinse.

After quinoa has cooled, place in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

As an option: Add 1/4 cup finely crumbled blue veined cheese.

YUM!!! Can't wait to try these!

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