Quinoa - The Superfood

Quinoa - The Superfood

[caption id="attachment_6331" align="alignright" width="292"]quinoa_superfood_vegan_vegetarian Source: NY Times[/caption] Superfood, Superfood, Superfood.  This has been all the rage lately and I'll be honest it is downright confusing to me.  Seems that everything has become a superfood, that is outside of the processed stuff at the fast food chains.  If you think about it for a second a smart diet of fruits and vegetables is going to be super.  Your micro and macro nutrients are covered in the meal and thus you will feel super.....or at least I do. This got me to thinking about how they define the term superfood.  Here are few of the definitions I found via my friend The Google:

  • A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
  • An unscientific marketing term used in various contexts. For example, it is sometimes used to describe food with high nutrient or phytochemical content that may confer health benefits, with few properties considered to be negative, such as being high in saturated fats or artificial ingredients, food additives or contaminants.
  • Foods especially rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients and zoonutrients

Zoonutrients?  What in the world is that?  Off to The Google again and here is what I found: special health promoting compounds found in meat, fish, egg and dairy products, especially whey and colostrum.  So they mean animal products?  Why not just say that instead of confusing people even more. Anyway, for me the one superfood that I love quite a bit is Quinoa.  Why is it my superfood?  Here is why: Of all the whole grains (its a seed actually), quinoa has the highest protein content, so it's perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic. Nutritionally it is ideal.  Take a look at these numbers.  For 1 serving (which is 1/4 cup) it contains 57 calories, 10g Carbs, 1g Fat, 2g Protein.  Since a gram of protein is equivalent to 4 calories you are looking at 1/7th of your calories from protein which is about 15% and that is perfect for an endurance athlete.  The carbs represent about 40 calories or about 71% of your calories and the remainder is fat. For a moment lets throw out all these numbers and focus on taste.  From that perspective quinoa cannot be beat.  It is nutty and has terrific texture.  If cooked right you can have that al dente feel that pasta has.  If you cook it a tad too long and it gets mushy no worries, toss it into some coconut milk and make a porridge out of it.  And there in lies that last reason why this is a superfood for me:  versatility.  I have used quinoa in overnite 'oat's, as part of a veggie burger, in tacos, as part of a dough to make pizza crust. Here is a recipe and some pictures from my dinner last night that included quinoa.  In addition to that there is a link from The Huffington Post on ways to use quinoa in everyday recipes.  Enjoy.

Quinoa Vegan Tacos

[caption id="attachment_6332" align="aligncenter" width="225"]quinoa_superfood_vegan_vegetarian The More Colors The Better[/caption]

Ingredients: 30g Red Bell Pepper, 30g Green Bell Pepper, 30g Yellow Bell Pepper, 20g Spinach, 20g Kale, 50g Zucchini, 100g Eggplant, 100g Mushrooms, 25g Red Cabbage, 25g Green Cabbage, 30g Avocado, 3/4c Whole Wheat Flour, 5 Tbsp Water, 1/4c Quinoa, 3/4c Water

Servings: 1

Nutritional Information: 748 calories, 116g Carbs, 26g Fat, 24g Protein (60% Carbs, 28% Fat, 13% Protein)

Directions:

  1. In boiling water add the kale and spinach and allow to boil for about 1 minute.
  2. Remove from boiling water and place in an ice bath or quickly drain and spray ice cold water on it to stop the cooking process
  3. In a separate pot add 1/4c quinoa and allow to toast for 1-2 minutes.  Add the 3/4 c of water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Quinoa is done when all the water is soaked up.
  4. In a food processor add flour and turn on then drizzle in the 5 Tbsp of water and allow the food processor to develop the dough.  It will whirl around until a ball is formed.  Remove from food processor and place on table with a dusting of flour.
  5. Cut the dough into 3 even sections and then roll out on lightly floured table.  While rolling out dough heat up griddle or pan on medium-high heat.
  6. Toss the rolled out dough onto the heat and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes per side.  You will see some char marks like at the restaurant and you will know they are done.
  7. Set aside tortillas and begin to chop your vegetables (remember avocado is a fruit so that doesn't go in here) and then toss onto the hot pan/griddle.
  8. Cook the veggies until they are at your desired consistency and by now the quinoa should be done cooking.
  9. Squeeze all the water out of your spinach/kale mixture and then chop.
  10. Assemble your tacos by placing the spinach/kale mixture, then vegetables, avocado, and finally quinoa.  Add hot sauce fold up the tortilla and enjoy.

Click HERE for an article from the Huffington Post on how to get quinoa into other recipes.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT QUINOA?

DO YOU EAT QUINOA OR HAVE YOU EVER TRIED QUINOA?

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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