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Old 05-30-2012, 01:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Quinoa - Really Healthy??

Hi, I'm always looking to make a nice hearty meal salad (a big salad with lots of stuff). My theory is that I can eat a big portion without using up all my calories. Does anybody make salads with the Quinoa grain? On the package that I buy, it indicates 170 calories for a quarter cup of this yummy, high protein grain (although this seems like a lot of calories).

Post your recipes if you have one. Here's mine:

Mix all of this up and chill in fridge before eating:
1 cup of cooked Quinoa
1/4 cup of cubed cucumbers
1/2 cup of diced tomatoes
1/4 of diced red or yellow peppers
1/4 cup of sliced manzanilla olives (mmmm!)
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese (low fat)
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice (or to taste)
1/4 cup of fresh dill

Enjoy a very filling salad.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's not technically a grain but it's a pseudocereal. Nevertheless I don't think it's any better or worse for you than any other type of whole grain or whole pseudocereal. With that said most of them are pretty healthy in my opinion although grains do tend to cause some inflammation in people this could be balanced by eating other anti-inflammatory foods.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains, so subbing it in is a good idea if you are looking for that; I believe that's why most say it's healthy. I'm not sure where it falls in comparison of carbs and glycemic index, though (Pam?? You would know this!) It does tend to be more of a calorie bomb than, say rice or pasta, though, per volume.

I've not tried it cold in salad, but I use it mostly in a lovely recipe with shrimp, green onion, toasted pine nuts, raisins, and some spices. Will try to find the link or type out the recipe later if you want...
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjohnson728 View Post
Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains, so subbing it in is a good idea if you are looking for that; I believe that's why most say it's healthy. I'm not sure where it falls in comparison of carbs and glycemic index, though (Pam?? You would know this!) It does tend to be more of a calorie bomb than, say rice or pasta, though, per volume.

.
hmmmm. can't say that this is something I really can speak authoritatively on. I believe that because of the protein content that it is a bit better than plain rice on the glycemic index but don't quote me. It does, indeed, have a pretty complete amino acid profile as compared to most grains (or psuedo grains as Rubystars points out.) so it can be a reasonable meat substitute.

I have to say that this is one "healthy" food that I just haven't been able to get behind. I like it as an addition to salads, but not as a main ingredient. Donno, it just has a wierd texture to me
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I know what you mean, Pam, although for me it's more the appearance. I really tried to like quinoa, but I can't get past the squiggles.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It does seem like a lot of calories, but I have found that if I bulk it up enough with other vegetables it works out pretty well. I like the taste and texture and it adds variety. Here is a recipe that I made last night with it.

Ingredients

vegetable oil cooking spray
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of corn kernels, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Spray a medium saucepan with vegetable cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
Stir in corn, black beans and cilantro. Mix well and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes for vegetables to warm and flavors to mix. Heat on very low as necessary to keep warm.


I also have a really good quinoa chili recipe that I think I have already typed out somewhere. I'll post it when I find it...
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is the chili recipe. It doesn't taste like chili.....more like a very thick bean soup to me. But I really like the sweet potato flavor in this one. It winds up being fairly high in calories, but it is all from vegetables and it is pretty filling so your serving size becomes pretty small.

Ingredients:

2T. Red Curry Paste (found in the Indian food section of tour grocery store.)
2tsp Ground Cumin Powder
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
2/3 - 1 Cup quinoa uncooked
1 large sweet potato (not yam) peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
1 large green pepper chopped (about 2 cups)
2 15oz cans red kidney beans
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
2 cups tomato puree (I sometimes use a little less because I don't like it to taste tomatoey....if you cut this, add a little more broth)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
In a 4 qt. pot add curry paste,cumin and a little broth. Mash the mixture and stir until smooth. Add the
remaining broth,quinoa,bell pepper and sweet potato. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover
tightly,reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or until the quinoa begins to absorb broth.
Add the beans,coconut milk,cayenne pepper and the tomato puree to the pot and stir to combine.
Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the soup is thickened.

This tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld together and I am guessing that it would freeze well. It is pretty mushy but tastes great! The first time I made this, I made the mistake of doubling the recipe....we were eating it forever!
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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For lunch right now at work, I am eating some quinoa, a tin of salmon and a small handful of apricots. Soooo tasty! I want to try and add more vegies to it, so I will keep an eye out for any suggestions!
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubystars View Post
It's not technically a grain but it's a pseudocereal. Nevertheless I don't think it's any better or worse for you than any other type of whole grain or whole pseudocereal. With that said most of them are pretty healthy in my opinion although grains do tend to cause some inflammation in people this could be balanced by eating other anti-inflammatory foods.
I agree, it is just another grain/pseudocereal. It is, however, gluten free and for people who suffer from celiac disease this is one that they can eat. (wheat, oats and rye all contain gluten) My sis-in-law is celiac and she can eat this grain.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, quinoa really is healthy. Quinoa is a seed that includes all nine essential amino acids so it's actually a healthier choice over grains like brown rice.
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