Have I mentioned I have a total love affair with Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)?

Just look at this Quinoa salad and you’ll understand why! You can’t help but fall in love with it at first glance, just like the first time you saw “that guy!”

It’s beautifully tempting, feeds the soul, and puts a lot of LOVE in the belly! One look, and you’re obsessed, right?!?! Love at first sight!

You’re going to love quinoa and this salad too, and for good reason!

HISTORY OF THE SEED

Quinoa is actually not a grain but an imposter. This beautiful, protein-packed food is indeed a gluten free seed that packs the highest nutritional value over its grain counterparts and was consumed 8,000 years ago by the Incas to run long distances at high altitudes because it provided a high-energy source.

Zoom ahead to the 21st Century…You don’t have to be an uber runner to gain benefit from and to love this easy, fast, nutritious, and flexible food!

My personal love affair with this seed started 25 years ago in Bolivia, when I lived there for a few weeks in the summer. Please note, back then, it was not an American Superfood, but an unknown food that I watched Bolivian farmers pick right from the land and toss blanket-fulls of quinoa into the air to remove the husks!

and to think 25 years later quinoa lines every grocery store’s grain aisle!

It’s about to become your new love too!

And, when you take into account that quinoa enhances endurance for athletes, has a protein content that is on par to milk, since it contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete VEGAN protein! Quinoa strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs, is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin E, plus it’s easy to digest!

I know, you’ve fallen in love too! ….Quinoa is seriously irresistible! Just wait until you taste my salad!

USES AND PREPARATION

STORAGE: Store uncooked quinoa in a cool, dry, dark place in a tightly closed glass jar for up to one year.

CAUTION: Before cooking, quinoa must be rinsed to remove the toxic, naturally-occurring bitter coating called saponin. Saponin, when removed from quinoa, produces a soapy solution in water. Quinoa is rinsed before it’s packaged and sold, but it’s best to rinse again at home before use. Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.

DOUBLE UP: To save time, cook a lot of quinoa at once, and eat it as leftovers.

COOKING: To make 4 servings, use 1:2 parts quinoa: water/broth (1 c quinoa/2 c water)

  1. Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa with cool water until the water runs clear. Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook covered for 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes covered; fluff with a fork. Season as you like.
    For a delicious toasted flavor, dry toast for 5 minutes in saucepan before adding liquid.

ADAPTABILITY: When quinoa is cooked, the outer germ surrounding the seed breaks open to form a crunchy coil, while the inner grain becomes soft and translucent. This double texture makes it delicious, versatile, and fun to eat.

Make a double batch of quinoa on the weekend (it cooks up quickly with no fuss), and eat it as leftovers all week…

  • Quinoa+almond milk+berries = Breakfast
  • Quinoa+dried fruit + nuts + cinnamon = Snack
  • Quinoa+chopped raw veggies+dressing = Side Salad
  • Quinoa+warm veggies+chicken+dressing = Dinner

Have fun with your new love! Get creative and mix up some yummy for your tummy!

BEST EVER QUINOA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups water or organic, pastured chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 10 oz bag organic, frozen corn, thawed
  •  1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced from jar (or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: one avocado, diced..be sure to add at the end, so the avocado and salad don’t become mushy

Optional (for spice): 1/8-1/4 cup roasted pablano pepper (a light sprinkle of red chili flakes may be used

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa with cool water until the water runs clear.
  2. Add rinsed quinoa to saucepan over low heat. Stir with wooden spoon until all water has evaporated and grains emit a faint, toasted aroma.
  3. Add water and a pinch of salt. Stir once to release any grains that may be stuck to bottom of pan.
  4. Cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes covered. Fluff with a fork. Combine all ingredients in bowl and serve chilled or at room temperature. I think the flavor is best the next day, after all ingredients have “danced for a while.”

Please let me know how much you love the Best Ever Quinoa Salad and tag me @pacerkristen/#pacerkristen when you do! I might just feature you in my next Health Made Easy online publication.