Published September 15, 2010

What's for Lunch? Red Quinoa

by Helen M. Ryan

Little quinoas everywhere.

I've never had quinoa before, which is surprising considering I've been a vegetarian for exactly 30 years. I decided to try it today for lunch. (And let's face it - I haven't been shopping and was running low on food options that don't involve ice cream or crackers.)
Red quinoa has 2 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein per serving - it's gluten free, too. I microwaved it with a bit of vegetable broth (well, too much vegetable broth apparently because it was a too strong), and used it as a bed for my salad.
So what did it taste like?

It wasn't bad. A bit crunchier than my favorite (brown rice), or the cous cous I used to make for the kids, and did not have much flavor on its own without the broth. It felt a bit like eating unground smal flax seeds, but maybe I did not cook the quinoa long enough.

With the black beans, light feta cheese, spinach, tomatoes and tiny bit of olive oil I added, it made for a filling and healthy lunch. Nutritionally pretty balanced too, or at least more so than the five Jo Jo cookies I had for dinner last night. Some days I am good, some days I am "bad." Today I am good.
Will I eat quinoa again? Yes. I am always looking for healthy protein food sources. Unlike many plant sources, quinoa is a "complete protein,", which means it contains all the amino acids we need on its own so we don't have to combine it with other foods. It also contains a good amount of fiber, and the more fiber we eat, the fuller we feel and the more weight we are apt to lose.

Onward and forward to quinoa-land.

Have you ever tried quinoa?