Yummy & healthy quinoa salad

Today, I was inspired to fix up a healthier pasta salad than normal.  Since my quinoa patties turned out to be a hit, I wanted to use quinoa again.  Quinoa is one of the super foods / grains out there.  It turned out quite pretty too! Don't you think so? Scroll down for recipe.

Here are some benefits of quinoa according to an article in Forbes magazine:

  1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
  2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and may help you to lose weight (it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense,” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food).
  3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron; it aids in neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and energy metabolism.
  4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.
  5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.
  7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals. 
So basically, it has a positive influence in reducing the risk of: 

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Colon cancer
  • Obesity.
On top of that, quinoa has a subtle nutty flavor that's quite good. Add a little lemon zest/juice in the mixture, it brightens it up, that's if you plan on eating plain quinoa. Why would you do that, when it's just as easy to chop up some fresh veggies and add it to the mix for a hearty and healthy meal? Here's the recipe for the above colorful and yummy quinoa salad with chicken sausage.

Servings: about 4

Ingredients for the dressing:
  • 1-2 TBS of EVOO (1 TBS standard, but if you prefer a 'wetter' soak of dressing, then add another TBS of EVOO)
  • 2-4 TBS of lemon juice (same concept. standard is 2 TBS)
  • dash of chili pepper (more if you prefer a little more kick)
  • Salt & Pepper 
Ingredients for the salad:
  • 1-1/4 C of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 C of uncooked quinoa
  • 8 oz of pre-cooked chicken sausage (I like the All-Natural Alfresco Breakfast Chicken Sausages), chunky cuts
  • 2 TBS of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 1 small zuchini, diced
  • 2-1/2 C of frozen corn kernels 
  • 1 medium red or orange bell pepper (or about 6-7 mini tri-color bell peppers), diced
Recipe Method:
  1. Cook quinoa in chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorb. It's about 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. In the mean time, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the sausage chunks, cook until browned. Stir occasionally. Remember these are pre-cooked. You're just browning them to help the flavors along. Transfer to plate.
  3. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and then add the onions. Cook until softened, and then add the zucchini and corn.  Cook until the veggies are about just right, tender, but still a little firm. 
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.  Add the quinoa, sausage, veggie mixture from the skillet, and then add the bell peppers.  Mix it all up and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.   I kinda like it just warm enough for dinner, so I served it right after the 30 minutes and wah-la! The leftovers also tastes just as good the following day. 

Enjoy and hope you like it. 



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