If the shift to warmer temperatures outside has you craving all manner of cool, light eats inside, then look no further than a simple salad — but not just an everyday green salad. In addition to fresh, leafy greens, try adding other good-for-you picks, like hearty grains, beans or quinoa, a protein-packed superfood.
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”), certainly the “it” girl of the whole-grain world for quite some time now, is actually a seed, but it’s treated and cooked like a whole grain. It’s mild and delicious, with a satisfying texture, and it takes beautifully to all kinds of seasonings. It’s got a crazy-high protein count (8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa), so it’s a boon to vegetarians and vegans; it contains a nice dose of fiber. Quinoa is also gluten-free. It’s quite popular these days, but actually it was a staple in the diet of the ancient Incas because it was able to grow in the high altitude of the Andes. It also cooks up much more quickly than most other whole grains, and any of us who have stood watching a pot of brown rice take its own sweet time to become tender will appreciate that. Read more
Happy New Year! It’s a brand-new year and a chance to change something in your life that you may think needs a positivity boost. For many, the start of a new year means the start of eating more mindfully and getting in the kitchen to cook at home more and eat out less. If that’s what you and your other half have resolved to try, this month’s Party of Two recipe — easy, satisfying quinoa bowls — is for you.
Overflowing with sauteed chicken and sweet roasted veggies, like butternut squash and carrots, these bowls are chock-full of protein — chicken and quinoa — to keep you full. (You will be surprised at how satiated you feel after eating a bowl of this!) When it comes to the Greek vinaigrette, that’s optional; you can drizzle it on top of these bowls or save it for a hearty salad later. Perhaps best of all is that this recipe is ideally portioned for two people. Check out more recipes like this one by browsing past Party of Two how-tos.
If you’re looking for a go-to meatless dish but are unsure how to make it satisfying without the meat, try opting for ingredients that are naturally high in protein, like quinoa. Not only is this superfood quick-cooking — making it much more desirable for weeknight dinners (how can you beat a 15-minute cooking time?) — but it is also the perfect blank canvas for adding fresh veggies, cheeses and herbs.
Play up this grain’s versatility with Ina Garten’s Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta (pictured above) for Food Network Magazine. Ina makes this Mediterranean-inspired dish by tossing the cooked quinoa with a lemony olive oil mixture and plenty of bright herbs like parsley, mint and scallions. Perhaps the best thing about this dish is that it can be made ahead of time, which allows the citrus flavors to meld with the veggies and herbs. When you’re ready to eat, take it out of the refrigerator and fold in the feta cheese for a creamy tang.
Along with blueberries, broccoli and salmon, quinoa is a known superfood that’s chock-full of good-for-you protein and vitamins, and like kale, it’s having a bit of an “in” moment. From soups and salads to next-level side dishes, quinoa is showing up on restaurant menus everywhere, and you’ve surely seen it in go-to recipes from some of your favorite chefs. On its own, quinoa has a mild, nutty flavor, which makes it a natural pairing with many different flavors and ingredients. Spicy, sweet, crunchy and cheesy — they all complement classic quinoa dishes, most of which come together quickly and simply.
Ina Garten takes a Mediterranean staple — the tabbouleh salad — with fresh mint and parsley, and bulks it up in the form of filling quinoa. Her big-batch recipe can be made days ahead, then mixed with tangy feta just before serving.
Trying to pick a protein source that isn’t tofu for vegetarian meals can be frustrating, which is where quinoa comes in. It has a slightly nutty taste and can easily be topped with a number of seasonings, which adds to its versatility. Packed with flavor, quinoa is the ideal pick when it comes to a weeknight dinner.
In this Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Peppers recipe from Rachael Ray, the quinoa is cooked with garlic, chiles, mint leaves and basil to give it a burst of flavor and is topped with feta cheese for a tangy twist. Vegetables like eggplant and zucchini give it an additional nutritional boost, and it is then stuffed in olive oil-roasted peppers for a colorful, tender dish.
Taking a look at any package of quinoa (or even doing a simple search on the Internet) will give you plenty of reasons to join the superfood’s craze. Fitness gurus love the fact that it’s one of the most-protein-rich foods you can eat. But it’s definitely not the easiest thing to make. Many people shy away from preparing it because the process can be long, and getting the right texture and flavor balance can be difficult. The good news: There are plenty of ways to enjoy quinoa that require no effort on your part at all.
Recently more and more quinoa-based products have been hitting supermarket shelves across the country. Think tortilla chips, pastas, baked goods and more, all made with the ancient grain. While it’s totally acceptable to treat yourself to some classic potato chips every once in a while, it couldn’t be simpler to swap in a quinoa creation.
Just last week on an all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts took to FoodNetwork.com to find out which three ingredients were most searched by fans, and it turns out that when it comes to home cooking, simplicity and health reign supreme. Chicken, the ultimate family-friendly dinner, leads the way in searches, followed by good-for-you kale and quinoa, so Marcela combined these picks into one simple dish: Chile-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Kale, Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad. Instead of featuring all three ingredients on one plate, FN Dish is breaking them down, showcasing three of the best recipes for each chicken, kale and quinoa on FoodNetwork.com; read on below to find must-try soups, salads and all-in-one suppers alike for these fan-favorite ingredients.
3. Chicken Piccata — Quickly coated in flour and cooked until tender, Giada’s easy chicken dinner is topped with a classically bold sauce of lemon and capers.
2. Easy Chicken Pot Pie — Thanks to Sunny’s shortcut of using store-bought dough as the pastry topping, this creamy, hearty pot pie can be on the table in less than 45 minutes.
1. Perfect Roast Chicken (pictured above) — Stick with Ina’s no-fail method of buttering the bird and roasting it with lemon and herbs to turn out a juicy, flavor-packed chicken every time.
Many vegetarians struggle to track down filling sources of protein, since it’s most often found in meat. But maintaining a meat-free diet doesn’t mean that you have to gulp protein shakes in order to get enough of this essential food group. Quinoa is a go-to grain that’s packed with protein and easy enough to make on a weeknight.
Melissa d’Arabian makes a five-star Lentil Quinoa Salad (pictured above) that works well as a hearty side dish or a brown bag-ready lunch option. After combining tender quinoa with smooth lentils, she tosses the mixture with green onions and fresh cilantro and dresses it with a light mustard vinaigrette. Watch this video to see how Melissa prepares this simple-to-make salad.
Similar to other healthful grains like bulgur, barley and farro, quinoa is a blank canvas that can be dressed up with your favorite ingredients. Check out more quinoa recipes below, and experiment with different combinations of vegetables, cheeses, crunchy nuts, simple dressings and more to find what your family likes best.
New Year’s healthy eating resolutions are all the rage right now, and countless conversations suggest how we should eat to start 2012 on a wholesome note. Included in many good-for-you lists is one tiny food that packs a huge healthful punch: quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah), which is loaded with protein, fiber and magnesium.
Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior. However, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch. When using quinoa, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly before boiling, as it’s often coated with saponins that are bitter and need to be removed.
After cooking in liquid — water or chicken broth are most common — quinoa becomes light, fluffy, nutty and the ideal canvas to showcase intense flavors, rich textures and your favorite veggies, meats and sauces. Give this super seed a try, using Food Network’s five best quinoa recipes and let us know what you think of it.