Quinoa is one of the most versatile grains I have ever come across. You can enjoy a quinoa-oatmeal breakfast bowl, it works well inside cookies, brownies, homemade cereal bars, salads, desserts; you name it. The best part about this grain is it’s low starch/carb content and the fact it’s packed with copious amounts of protein. So particularly if you follow a vegan lifestyle, quinoa is your friend.
One of the easiest swaps you could do if you’re trying to get to a healthier version of yourself is eat quinoa wherever you would otherwise eat rice, potatoes, or bread. It’s so incredibly effective at helping you eat well, consuming less white starches (which are often rich in sugars i.e. white rice), and providing you with a filling and delicious side alternative.
But don’t underestimate quinoa as a meager “side dish”. More often than not, it takes center stage in my kitchen as the main, and the base for a power salad. Sometimes a salad is born that’s so rich in everything, you can have a single dish for dinner. This is one such salad. The inspiration was born out of “whatever I had in my pantry” at the time, and it has quickly become a favorite meal. The recipe is simple, and can be easily modified to suit your palate.
Makes 2-3 Servings- You Will Need:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil OR coconut oil
- 1.5 cups of water
Rinse quinoa with abundant water to wash away the bitter coating these seeds come with in their unprocessed form. Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil and add the tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil. Add the quinoa and cover the pan to trap all moisture. Simmer on low to medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let it sit and fluff up for another 10 minutes.
Toppings Galore (A handful each)
- Pepita Seeds
- Goat Cheese
- Dried Cherries
- Cilantro (chopped coarsely)
- Thinly diced red onion
- Chickpeas (optional)
- Roasted Sweet Potato would also go well!
Tamari & Pear Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup finely grated pear
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons of low sodium tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon of good quality sesame oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
Blend on high for 10-15 seconds and it makes about 1 cup.