Grains – whether whole or not – are still carbohydrates, which in excess can create problems with your insulin and leptin sensitivity, making you an easy target for related diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Did You Know?
- There are a thousand different kinds of quinoa, but white, red, and black quinoa are the most popular varieties
- White quinoa has the mildest flavor, the fastest cooking time (around 10 to 15 minutes), and is the least crunchy. Black quinoa has a bolder and earthier flavor, is the crunchiest among the three varieties, and may take five more minutes to cook compared to white quinoa. Red quinoa, on the other hand, is somewhere in between the two
- Quinoa is one of the highest forms of protein you can consume, as it’s complete with nine essential amino acids, which your body cannot make on its own and are only available through diet
- Napa cabbage, or Chinese cabbage, offers an extensive list of A-list nutrients – including the most sought-after antioxidants, folate, vitamins C and K, and fiber – at such low amount of calories
- Studies have shown that spinach helps maintain brain function, memory, and mental clarity
Luckily, there’s a wonderful substitute that you can try: quinoa, which tastes so much like your favorite grain, minus all the bad stuff. Discover more about this amazing superfood in this super easy quinoa salad recipe.
Quinoa Salad with Mixed Veggies Recipe
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 green onions, chopped finely
- 1 cup Napa cabbage or spinach chopped finely
- ¼ cup mushrooms, sautéed, sliced thinly
Serving Size: 8
- Place all ingredients in large bowl and mix.
- In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for dressing.
- Pour dressing over the quinoa and veggies. Serve immediately.
(Adapted from Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
Quinoa Salad with Mixed Veggies Cooking Tips
Quinoa comes in a wide variety of colors and types, white, red, and black quinoa are the most popular varieties available in supermarkets. White quinoa has a pleasant and mild flavor and requires the least amount of time to cook (around 10 to 15 minutes); it’s also the least crunchy.
Black quinoa has a bold, earthy flavor, and is the crunchiest among all three varieties. It may take five more minutes to cook compared to white quinoa. Red quinoa, on the other hand, is somewhere between the two. Basically, one cup of dry quinoa, which requires two cups of water each, will yield about three cups of cooked quinoa. To make better-tasting quinoa, here are a few helpful tips:1,2
- Rinse your quinoa before cooking. This will remove its natural protective coating called saponin, which leaves a bitter or soapy aftertaste when cooked.
- Toast quinoa in a skillet. Using a little bit of coconut oil, toast your quinoa for a few minutes over low fire to bring out more of its yummy nutty flavor.
- Instead of water, cook quinoa in chicken, mushroom, or vegetable broth.
- Add flavor with different herbs and spices according to your liking. A fresh sprig of rosemary, a clove of smashed and chopped garlic, or a dash of salt and pepper will do the trick.
- Use a clean fork to separate and fluff up your quinoa after cooking.
- Do not overcook. Nobody likes mushy quinoa, or worse, quinoa that sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove excess water. After cooking, you can remove the remaining liquid by draining it using a fine mesh strainer, or by opening the lid of your pot and allowing it to evaporate.
To boost the nutritional value of this tasty quinoa salad recipe, use only organic, locally grown varieties for your vegetable ingredients. When cooking with potentially reactive vegetable ingredients like cabbage, I recommend using stainless steel or glass cookware to avoid any chemical reaction.
Why Is Quinoa Salad with Mixed Veggies Good for You?
The health perks of quinoa alone can be enough reason why this unique salad recipe should make your list of quick power meals.
Quinoa is one of the highest forms of protein you can consume, as it’s complete with all nine essential amino acids, which your body cannot make on its own and are only available through diet. But more than that, quinoa also has impressive amounts of both lysine and isoleucine, making it a complete protein. Lysine is important for immune system health, muscle repair, and may even reduce anxiety.
This seed, often mistaken for a grain, is also a powerhouse of antioxidants in concentrations that rival those found in cranberries. These antioxidants include:
- Quercetin – a natural antihistamine
- Kaempferol – fights cancers and other diseases
- Flavonoids – lower heart disease risk
- Phenolic acids – provide anti-inflammatory benefits
In addition, I highly recommend quinoa because it’s a healthy gluten-free alternative and a good source of high-quality fiber. Study shows that people who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause within the next nine years, compared to those whose fiber intake was lacking.
Napa cabbage, or Chinese cabbage, on the other hand, offers an extensive list of A-list nutrients – including the most sought-after antioxidants, folate, vitamins C and K, and fiber – at such low amount of calories. 3
Spinach contains high amounts of niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Studies have also proven that spinach helps maintain optimal brain function, memory, and mental clarity.
Meanwhile, mushrooms like shiitake contain strong compounds that have the natural ability to discourage inflammation, tumors, bad bacteria, harmful viruses, and, ironically, fungus.
Sources and References