March is National Nutrition Month so I’d like to turn the spotlight on one of the world’s most powerful foods. If you haven’t heard of this super food yet get ready to indulge in a perfect plant protein loaded with phytonutrients. Quinoa pronounced ‘keen-wah’ is the grain-like seed of the goosefoot plant native to South America. Amazingly, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids making it a complete protein that supports the growth and repair of our body tissues. Therefore this super food is optimal for healthy hair, skin, nails and muscles. Each serving is packed with 9 grams of protein per cup making quinoa a great protein choice for fitness fanatics, like myself, and those who enjoy the vegetarian lifestyle. In addition to protein, this super seed is a terrific carbohydrate source loaded with insoluble fiber which aids the body in the elimination process and helps control hunger. People who suffer from celiac disease need not fear because quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest. The magnesium found in quinoa relaxes blood vessels which wards off high blood pressure and heart disease as well as diabetes. As if you needed any more reasons to make friends with quinoa, it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and copper – just to name a few. So stop being intimidated by this tiny, nutty grain-like seed and add some well-rinsed quinoa to water, simmer and in less than 15 minutes you will be enjoying an antioxidant-rich food touted by the ancient Incas as “the mother of all grains.” *Enjoy*
Artichoke & Parsley Quinoa Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 (9-oz) package frozen artichoke hearts-thawed
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and thyme; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add artichokes and sauté about 2 minutes. Add broth and quinoa then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 18 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed.
2. Remove pan from heat and stir in parsley, lemon rind, lemon juice and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.