Q U I N O A
Cooked like a grain, [think brown rice or oats], but actually a seed, this stuff is versatile AF… and is a complete protein! A what? A complete protein - meaning it contains all 20 amino acids. It’s actually super challenging to find a plant-based complete protein, so quinoa is considered a superfood for that reason. 1 cup of cooked quinoa will nourish your body with 8g of protein - that’s 3g more than a cup of cooked brown rice [at just about the same amount of calories]. Now I’m not saying to forget about brown rice! But quinoa is a great option to substitute for brown rice a few times a week to add some more protein into your meals and switch up the nutrients you’re getting. Oh, and here’s the best part: it takes just 15-20 minutes to cook. Less than half the time of rice!
Personally, I prefer cooking quinoa to rice, [mostly because it’s a HUGE time saver], but also because I find that I’m more creative with it. There are TONS of One-Pot Quinoa recipes on the internet that are SO tasty. And like I mentioned before, I can easily prep it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it works like a charm! Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
That Mexican Chili is amazing! I’ve used it:
as pictured above
as a side with grilled chicken
on top of a bed of raw greens [as a healthier alternative to taco salad]
topped with an egg for breakfast
as a chip dip [WAYYY healthier than an overly cheesy/creamy option]
As I mentioned above, you can throw quinoa into a salad to add texture AND protein to your lunch/dinner. And you can add eggs on top of THAT to make a killer breakfast bowl!
Whenever I cook plain quinoa, I always set 1 cup of it aside before I dress it for whatever meal I’m cooking. Then I have plain quinoa on hand so that I can throw 1/4-1/2 a cup of it into my oatmeal during breakfasts the rest of the week! I love the unique texture it makes & it pumps me up to know that I’m adding more protein to my meal. Sometimes though, when I’m really not in the mood for the mushy-ness of oatmeal, quinoa porridge is the perfect switch up! I’ll take 1-2 - 1 full cup of quinoa, add just enough almond milk to give it moisture, & then finish prepping it exactly as I would oatmeal - warm it, then throw on whatever flavors & toppings I’m in the mood for that day, & enjoy!