Quinoa is one of my favs! You can find this grain in the rice/pasta section of your grocery store and it looks like tiny mustard seeds. But don’t be fooled by it’s tiny size, this grain has gigantic health benefits and has been around three to four thousand years. It was once hailed as “The Mother Grain” because it fed an entire ancient civilization stretching from Chile all the way to Peru. This mother grain was the food of the Inca civilization because they believed it made their warriors strong and increased stamina.
The health benefits of quinoa are countless. This little grain is a rich source of protein and is considered to be a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids. It also contains almost twice as much fiber than most other grains. Fiber is needed to prevent constipation and keep your bowl movements in check (yup, I went there). Additionally, adequate fiber intake prevents heart disease by reducing high blood pressure. Fiber also helps with weight loss as it provides more “bulk” and volume in your food and makes you feel full. Moreover, quinoa contains iron which is important for keeping our red blood cells healthy, helps in hemoblobin formation and carries oxygen from one cell to another.
Another reason why I love quinoa is because it is wheat-free and also gluten free!
Here’s an easy recipe that I make frequently using Quinoa Penne Pasta- just 2 oz contains 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber!
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 small cup mushroom (any variety will work), sliced in half
- 1 box Gluten-Free Quinoa Penne Pasta (From Whole Foods or Sprouts)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. Shaved Parmigianino Reggiano (made w/ raw milk) from Trader Joe’s
- 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
- Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Once the water comes to a boil, blanch the asparagus by adding it to the pot and allow to cook for three quick minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside in a glass bowl. Then bring the same water back to a boil. Always cook your pasta according to package instructions. (I’m using Quinoa Penne Pasta for this recipe).
- In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over a medium heat and add fresh garlic sautéing till the garlic is fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
- Next toss the mushrooms and asparagus into the pan with the oil and garlic and season with sea salt and pepper. Cook for about four-to-five minutes and then toss the cooked quinoa pasta into the pan.
- Give everything a good shake, shake, shake and mix! Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pasta.
- Finally, top off with the fresh shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano parsley.
What’s your fav quinoa recipe? Share it with us!