5 Weeks To Healthier Eating Challenge. Week 2: Quinoa

 

Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   However, the secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all of the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

If you missed week 1, “Hail to the Kale”, click HERE.

 

Week 2: Get Keen on Quinoa

The first thing you should know about quinoa is how to pronounce it. Repeat after me: KEEN-WAH. Yes, that’s it, keen-wah! The next thing you should know is that quinoa is packed with good nutrition. In our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, my smart and witty co-author, Susan, devotes a whole chapter to quinoa (p. 267). Here are some interesting facts taken from there:

1. One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, which is similar in calorie count to white rice (242 calories per cup). However, as you will see below, quinoa is much richer in nutrients and therefore a healthier choice. Try serving your next stir fry on a bed of quinoa!

2. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the building blocks necessary for cell growth and function.

3. Quinoa contains ZERO cholesterol. (Did you know that only food from animals….meat, eggs and dairy…contain cholesterol?)

4. It contains 5 grams of fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily allowance, or RDA. (Did you know that meat, eggs and dairy contain ZERO fiber?)

5. One cup of quinoa gives you 15% of the RDA for iron, which is necessary for healthy blood; 19% of the RDA for folate, which is an important B vitamin; 58% the RDA for manganese; 28% of the RDA for phosphorus; and 30% of the RDA for magnesium…all of which are important for strong bones.

So there you have it, five good reasons to make quinoa a part of your healthy eating plan. Now here are five of my favorite ways to eat it (Remember to always RINSE quinoa well before cooking it):

1. Cheesy Mexican Fiesta Casserole

quinoa 2

If you have a taste for Mexican, you will love this casserole! The sauce is so cheesy, you will never believe that it is dairy-free. I use the leftovers to make quesadillas, served with guacamole and salsa on the side. This is my favorite quinoa recipe.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 3 tablespoons flour of your choice avoid white flour and experiment with healthier choices like chickpea flour or brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne careful not to make it too hot!
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

(Here’s a cheat: rather than combine these spices, you can use a package of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning)

  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast. If you are making the switch to plant based eating, this is a necessity in your cupboard!
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, or plant based milk of your choice
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 19 oz. can well rinsed black beans

Directions

First cook quinoa: bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed (as you would cook rice). Transfer to large mixing bowl. Next sauté onion, garlic, green pepper and tomato in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with quinoa and add cooked black beans. Stir all ingredients.

Now it is time to make your cheese sauce: Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add flour, spices, and nutritional yeast, stir to combine. Add in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.

Add your cheese mixture to the bowl of ingredients and mix well.

Transfer to a casserole dish, top with a sprinkle of paprika, and bake for 20 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with salsa and/or guacamole!  Use leftovers to make quesadillas.

2. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

quinoa 1

Eat quinoa for breakfast? You sure can!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar OR honey OR pure maple syrup for sweetening (for overall good health, ditch the white sugar)
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries or other berry of choice, organic if possible

 

Directions

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar, or honey or pure maple syrup over each serving.

 

3. Best Veggie Burger In The World

quinoa 3

Yields 8 burgers

One of the things I missed most when I switched to mainly plant-based eating, is hamburgers. I tried various veggie burgers, but could not find one I really liked….until I met the quinoa burger! Trust me, even the carnivores in your life will love this one!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa if you can’t find red, white will do
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • •1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (Add other seasonings of your choice to spice it up the way you like it…unlike meat burgers, you can try the mix “raw” and season to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 flax egg mix one tablespoon ground flax seed, with one tablespoon warm water and allow to set 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans toasted, then finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one) To toast, put in oven on 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes, turining once
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared salsa OR organic ketchup OR barbeque sauce

Note: If mix is too soft, add a little flour so that it can be made into patties.

 

Directions

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Prepare flax egg. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, nutritional yeast, pecans flax egg, and oats; stir to combine. Scoop 1/2-cup portions of the mixture and shape into 8 patties, about 3 inches wide. Roll the burgers in flour to hold them together for cooking.

Heat olive oil in frying pan, and fry the patties, about 5 minutes per side OR bake for 30 minutes on greased sheet, turning once, OR cook on BBQ as you would regular burgers.

4. Sweet and Sour Neatballs

quinoa 5

(I apologize, I don’t have a more appetizing picture…this is a pic I took myself…trust me, they taste better than they look here!)

“Neatballs” are my version of meatballs. You might notice that the recipe for making them is exactly the same as my burger recipe, but you form them into balls rather than patties.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa if you can’t find red, white will do
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (Add other seasonings of your choice to spice it up the way you like it…unlike meat burgers, you can try the mix “raw” and season to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 flax egg mix one tablespoon ground flax seed, with one tablespoon warm water and allow to set 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans toasted, then finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one) To toast, put in oven on 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes, turining once
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared salsa OR organic ketchup OR barbeque sauce

Note: If mix is too soft, add a little flour so that it can be formed into balls.

 

Directions

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Prepare flax egg. Add the quinoa, mushroom mixture, nutritional yeast, pecans flax egg, and oats; stir to combine. Form mixture into balls, and roll in flour to hold them together.

Heat olive oil in frying pan, and fry the balls for about 5-7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Here’s how to make the sauce:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • Thicken with 1 tablespoon corn starch or tapioca starch dissolved in 1/4 cup of water

 

Directions

Bring water to a boil. Add honey, vinegar, and ketchup. Stir until combined. Stir in corn/tapioca starch mix and stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour over neatballs. Bake 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees.

 

5. Honey Quinoa Salad

quinoa 4

No tribute to quinoa would be complete without a quinoa salad. There are lots of quinoa salad recipes out there, but this is my favorite. I like it cold, but it can be served warm.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • juice of one fresh orange (or 3 tablespoons orange juice)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cups quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. (In the same way you would cook rice) Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add honey and gently toss to combine. Set aside and cover for 10 minutes allowing honey to soak. Add all remaining ingredients. Transfer to serving bowls and serve warm or chilled.

 

So there you have it folks, 5 great recipes to choose from to get you back on track with your healthy living plan.

 

If you like these recipes, and you would like to learn more about eating for cancer prevention, please sign up for the Free 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart Program.  Just click below.  Bon Appetit!

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2 thoughts on “5 Weeks To Healthier Eating Challenge. Week 2: Quinoa

  1. Hello Florence!

    I am writing to pass on details of an interview series I am organising which starts Sept 22nd.

    It’s called Healthy and Powerfully Feminine and I am interviewing 10 women with unique experiences and expertise in this area. I thought it would definitely interest your audience.

    I myself had breast cancer and I am also interviewing Susan Gonzalez, a nurse, certified in plant-based nutrition, and a stage III breast cancer survivor. She advocates for health and wellness with a focus on cancer prevention and the use of holistic healing for cancer survival. She has an Amazon best-selling book, “100 Perks of Having Cancer plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It”, and an award winning blog, “The Savvy Sister: Simple changes for healthy living”, providing valuable tools for those wishing to live a happy and healthy life.

    Plus many more wonderful women talking about health from not only a physical but also emotional level. More details can be found herewww.healthyandpowerfullyfeminine.com and I would so appreciate it if your community could be passed on the information.

    If you need more information or promotional material, please ask me.

    Also, I am doing a survey on Life After Breast Cancer for women whose treatment has finished.

    Are you able to pass on this link to your community? It’s just a five-minute survey :

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZXR2H8T

    Again for more details or material just let me know.

    Thank you for your help and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best wishes,

    Mireille Parker

  2. Thanks for doing this Florence. I am sure that many people will really appreciate this. Several of the recipes look delicious. Can’t wait to try them.

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