Our favorite whole grain is quinoa because it smells so good when it's cooking. It's a complete protein (contains lysine, an amino acid missing in most grains), and is a good source of riboflavin, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and fiber (which we all don't get enough of!). Quinoa is so fun and versatile to cook with as you creatively mix and match seasonal vegetables and taste preferences with this nutrient-packed base that the whole family will enjoy. Move over rice, we're all about quinoa — try it, you'll love it! Serve this yummy recipe warm or cold.
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups water (or use low sodium vegetable or chicken broth)
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup walnut pieces, raw
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Torn fresh basil leaves (optional garnish)
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Place quinoa in a small bowl, add water to cover, and swish to rinse. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and drain well (it's important to rinse quinoa).
- Heat oil in medium skillet. Add quinoa. Toast, stirring, over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, constantly stirring for 1 minute. Add water and heat to a boil. Cover over medium heat and let cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- When quinoa is cooked, add spinach and tomatoes directly to skillet. Stir-fry over medium heat until spinach is almost wilted and tomatoes are warmed, about 1 minute. Stir in walnuts and cheese. Garnish with basil leaves. Serve warm.
Stacey Antine, MS, RD, is founder of HealthBarn USA.
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