Keeeeen-whaaat? Quinoa, pronounced "keen-wah" is the one of the hottest health food trends; and for good reason! Quinoa is a nutritional superstar; it is a complete protein, has twice the fiber of wheat, has valuable amounts of oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, and is high iron, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Quinoa is indigenous to the Andes Mountain region in South America and was once known as the "gold of the Incas". The Incas believe quinoa increased the stamina and strength of their warriors!
Quinoa is used in place of a grain but it is actually a seed that belongs to the same food family as spinach, swiss chard, and beets. The easiest way to start incorporating quinoa into your diet is to swap it into dishes that normally call for rice, pasta, barley, or oats. Quinoa is also gluten-free so it is a great option for those who have gluten intolerance. There is strong evidence that all of the nutritional properties of quinoa help to reduce type-2 diabetes risk, helps protect blood vessels from inflammation, reduced risk for CAD, and lowers bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol. I will raise a fork to that; how about you?
This Greek Quinoa Power Salad is a great way to break the quinoa ice. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor but is very versatile and will take on much of flavor of what it is paired with. Mediterranean flavors work nice with quinoa; the sharp flavors of red onion, olives, and feta balance the subtleness of the quinoa. You must rinse quinoa before using; the seeds are coated with saponins, a naturally occurring plant chemical with a bitter taste. Their purpose is actually to keep insects from eating the plant! Even if quinoa is rinsed prior to packaging, it is still a good habit to wash your quinoa before you use it! Plus, you won't be fond of me if your Greek Quinoa Power Salad tastes bitter!
Greek Quinoa Power Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup raw spinach, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/8 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
juice from one lemon
1. Rinse quinoa. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in medium saucepan; reduce heat and
cover; simmer for 20 minutes. Allow quinoa to cool.
2. Mix olive oil, white vinegar, sugar, oregano, and lemon juice in small bowl.
3. Add tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, feta cheese, olives, and red onions to cooled
quinoa. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture. Toss until quinoa mixture is coated in
Power up with this Greek Quinoa Power Salad! There is no reason why you can't be a modern day warrior! Be strong, be healthy, be fit!
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