I attended a health fair last week and prepared a picture board that had the top ten super foods on it. Of course the usual super foods were on the board: salmon, berries, broccoli, kiwi, and nuts. New to the board was quinoa.
The super foods board turned out to be a conversation starter with the employees that came by my table. Many of them affirmed they love salmon, are okay with broccoli, some not so much with kiwi. But most of the questions and comments surrounded quinoa. What it is? Where can I buy it? How do I prepare it?
Quinoa is trending and is now considered to be one the healthiest of the super foods. Because of Quinoa’s exceptional nutritional qualities, its adaptability to different agro-ecological floors, and its potential contribution in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.”
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a highly nutritional food that is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and flavonoids. Although it is typically thought to be a whole grain, Quinoa is actually a seed vegetable similar to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. When compared to grains it has some superior qualities including significant amounts of protein, heart-healthy fats and calcium.
Quinoa is also gluten-free, has only 172 calories per ¼ cup of the dry product, and is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index. It is low in sodium and cholesterol and is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and iron. It can – and should – be part of a healthy diet and can be used as a healthier replacement for rice and pasta in some popular dishes.
This super food can be found pre-packaged at the local grocer or can be purchased in bulk at a food co-op or health food store.
Below is an easy and delicious stuffed zucchini boats recipe.
Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats from Real Simple.com
Here’s a recipe for quinoa stuffed zucchini boats that uses garden tomatoes and zucchini
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.
- Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, ½ cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.
- Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and ¼ cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
The stuffed boats are filling enough to be an entree. I served them as a main dish with a side salad. This is a basic recipe that you can be creative with. Add colorful diced bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and other ingredients to add flavor and nutrition.
What’s you favorite quinoa recipe?
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