Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah,” is a grain containing many benefits and nutritional qualities. It is a grain originating in South America, in the Andes region and is well known for being able to withstand a variety of climates and growth conditions. While we generally consume the seed portion of the plant, the leaves and stems can be eaten, too. They are similar in taste to chard, spinach and beets.
Quinoa overcomes a few shortcomings of traditional cereal grasses such as oats or wheat. While most grains are not considered a complete protein source, quinoa is. It contains high levels of lysine and isoleucine, two important amino acids in making a protein complete. Quinoa is also a great source of healthy fats, providing a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and an omega-3 fatty acid fat found in most plants. Studies indicate these fats may also contribute to reducing inflammation in the body, too. It is also an adequate source of the recommended daily allowance of nutrients like folate, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin E.
Quinoa can generally be found in most grocery and natural food stores. The most common kind used is an off-white color but there are also red and black options available, too. Storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge will increase its shelf life and allow it to last three to six months.
Warm Quinoa with Wilted Kale and Avocado
1. Bring vinegar to a light boil in a medium skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. (Watch carefully to avoid scorching.) Remove from heat; transfer to a small bowl.
2. Bring broth and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat; stir in quinoa. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until quinoa is tender, and liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is almost wilted, and tomatoes are softened, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in cooked quinoa, sprinkle with almonds and goat cheese and top with avocado. Drizzle with balsamic reduction (you may have some left over; cover and keep for another use).
Nutrition information per serving: 414 calories, 20 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein and 48 grams of carbohydrates.
Recipe retrieved from: http://www.health.com/recipes/warm-quinoa-wilted-kale-avocado