The quinoa tiny seed is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. It is high in protein, around 12–18%, an unusual occurrence among plant foods. In fact, the protein in quinoa is considered to be a “complete protein,” as it contains all eight essential amino acids which are needed for building and maintaining muscle in humans. Just four ounces, about ½ cup, will provide a child’s protein needs for one day.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 oz. reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup light raspberry-walnut vinaigrette dressing
1. For the salad, in a heavy sauté pan, toast the quinoa on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to boiling, then carefully pour water into the quinoa. Add salt to taste; cover, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl; let cool.
3. Add blueberries, feta cheese, walnuts, parsley and bell pepper; mix gently. Drizzle dressing over salad; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition facts per serving: 166 calories, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 265mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 7g protein.