Mighty, Tiny Quinoa
By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, and Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC
What you need to know about this mighty food in a tiny package

Quinoa was known by the Incas as the “mother of grains,” even though it’s actually a seed. But it acts like a grain in cooking—and is actually the highest in protein of any cereal-type food on the planet. Legend has it that the Incan armies frequently marched for days at a time eating a mixture of quinoa and fat known as war balls, and at planting time, tradition demanded that the Incan leader would plant the first quinoa seed using a gold shovel.

If you’re a vegetarian and have wondered whether you’re getting enough high-quality protein from nonanimal sources, here’s a perfect dish for you. In fact, even if you’re like me—decidedly not a vegetarian—this dish is still a great way to get your protein fix. Animal protein sources, such fish and meat, offer a lot of things, but one of them is not fiber. Not so this dish. Beans, a staple in the vegetarian protein arsenal, are fiber heavyweights, with all the accompanying benefits—blood sugar control, digestive health, and a lowered risk of many illnesses. It’s probably no accident that in all the areas of the globe where people live the longest—dubbed the Blue Zones—beans of some kind are a staple in the diet.

— Dr. Jonny

Southwest Style Quinoa*
Serves 6

Quick and hearty, this dish tastes just as good reheated the next day as it does when you first make it.

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-oz. jar high-quality prepared salsa

¼ cup chopped chives, optional

½ cup cilantro, chopped

½ cup toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

  1. In a medium saucepan, dry toast quinoa for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and nearly all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. When quinoa is tender, add beans, salsa, chives, if using, and cilantro, stirring gently to combine well. Cover and cook for 1 minute or until dish reaches desired temperature. Fold in sunflower seeds, and serve.

PER SERVING: 263 CAL; 12 G PROT; 7 G TOTAL FAT (1 G SAT FAT); 41 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 815 MG SOD; 11 G FIBER; 6 G SUGARS

*Adapted from The Most Effective Ways To Live Longer Cookbook by Jonny Bowden and Jeannette Bessinger




Related Articles: