Monday, July 28, 2014

Quinoa Bowl -- Endless Possibilities

Recently I've become a little obsessed with my Quinoa bowls for lunch.  I love to eat salads at lunch. They are good for you so long as you don't add certain salad dressings and fried croutons.  There are so many ways to make salads to keep your lunches varied.  One way is to add quinoa.

There is a food truck that is outside of my office building that makes Quinoa Bowls.  After the first time I bought one I knew I could easily make it, make it healthier and make it cheaper.

The basic recipe:

Salad greens of your choice: romaine, field greens, etc.

Salad toppings of your choice: cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, etc

Quinoa:  I usually cook it with some veggie or chicken stock for more flavor.

The quinoa toppings: roasted red pepper, black beans, grilled chicken, crumbled cheese like feta or goat cheese.

Salad dressing.  Keep it simple, keep it healthy.  An olive oil based dressing is best but you can use your favorite store bought dressing.  I use the following recipe from Beachbody's Ultimate Reset.  It is healthy and delicious:

Greek Dressing:
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs balsamic vineger
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp your favorite herbs - dill, etc
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Blend ingredients until smooth.  Store in refridgerator but hold at room temperature if the dressing solidifies.

The assembly:

I like to put the salad on the bottom and add the warm quinoa (1/3 to 1/2 cup), red peppers and chicken (about 2 ounces) (or whatever toppings you like) on top of the salad.  Then I pour 1-2 Tbs of dressing, making sure I get it on both the greens and quinoa.

It makes a salad a little more satisfying and interesting.  It is also a different way of using Quinoa.  If you still haven't eating Quinoa it is time to give it a try.  Although it is often referred to as a grain, it is really a seed.  It is a complete protein (usually you only get complete proteins in animal products), and has high levels of calcium and iron.

This could easily be a Meatless Monday meal by leaving out the chicken.  If you add black beans or other beans for extra protein, just keep in mind that they are protein rich but they are also considered a carb.  So just balance out the proportion based upon your nutritional needs.

You should give it a try.  Enjoy!

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