Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Lovin' Quinoa

This is an inexpensive, simple and light dish for a relaxing night alone or for one of those lazy weekends with the boyfriend. Grab a light beer or a glass of wine, take a seat outside and enjoy the summer weather.

Quinoa-1 cup (2 cups liquid)
Frozen petite peas- 1 bag
Cherry tomatoes-1 container (10 oz.)
Garlic-2 cloves
Chicken broth-low sodium (one box-at least 16 oz.)
Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Olive oil
Sea salt
Crushed red pepper

Serves 2 plus (or one girl size serving and one boy size serving-ha!)
First, rinse quinoa well. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, sauté quinoa in a little bit of olive oil for 2-3 minutes, this will help it to turn out well (works for rice too-friends always say they are awful at successfully cooking rice)! Continue to cook quinoa as directed (water/liquid ratio) however, instead of water use chicken broth for added flavor. In a separate pan on medium-low heat, sauté garlic (one clove of garlic per person-my Italian grandpa taught me that trick!) until golden brown. Add peas and tomatoes (cut in half-long way) then continue to stir. Add 1-2 tbs. chicken broth to pea/tomato mixture (if desired for added flavor); cook until hot. Add a few shakes of salt and lots (I like it spicy) of crushed red pepper. Mix well.
Once quinoa is done, serve in a bowl. Add Parmesan to taste and more red pepper if necessary. 
Easy enough, right?!

You can also serve this dish with an arugula or mixed greens salad. Quinoa is considered a protein grain, so whenever I eat it, that is my main dish. Meaning I may add more veggies, like a salad (you can even add more veggies to the pea/tomato mixture, like zucchini or spinach-add hard or frozen veggies first, softer last to avoid over cooking), but not any animal protein; it is filling enough on its own.

Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (includes all nine essential amino acids) seed and can be used much like rice, though is a relative to leafy green veggies, such as swiss chard and spinach (much less “starchy”). Quinoa is a great source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, making it especially valuable to those with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

It is normal for our bodies to eat less animal protein and more grains, fruits and veggies during the summer. Use whichever veggies look the most radiant and appealing to you; there are tons of fresh foods in season right now, take advantage of them and feel free to stay away from the frozen section. 

Bon appétit! xo

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