Last week I had an amazing time leading a cooking demo and workshop at a company in Manhattan. We had a great turnout and an enthusiastic crowd, asking great questions from how to stave off sugar cravings to healthy snack options while at work. We even had a film crew there, and I felt right at home in front of the camera.
As a part of the cooking demo I wanted to create something that was easily replicable. Something healthy and delicious, but something that anyone could create. We decided on quinoa salad. There’s a lot of talk about quinoa these days but it’s rare that people have actually prepared it, and only a handful had tried it eating out.
Here are some reasons I LOVE quinoa:
- It is a COMPLETE protein source with all 9 amino acids!
- It’s gluten-free, so easier to digest!
- It contains nearly twice the amount of fiber of other grains, so is great for keeping you regular 😉
- It’s full of iron, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, calcium, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese.
- It’s great for endurance, and sustained energy throughout your day!
And here is a trick! Some people think quinoa can have a bitter taste to it. This is because it is coated in a natural toxin called saponin. Saponin is there as a natural protectant of the grain against insects, but it can be unpleasant to consume. The good news is there is a simple solution to this: Soak your quinoa. You can soak it over night, and rinse the water off the next day. You’ll notice it has a soap-like look to it! If you soak it in the daytime, drain the water, and leave it over night, it will begin to sprout little tails! Boom– you’ve got SPROUTED quinoa! If you’re short on time, even sprouting it for 1 hour will help rinse some of that saponin off.
Here a recipe I LOVE. It’s adapted from Jennifer Aniston’s favorite quinoa salad, and is a guaranteed home run!
Quinoa Avocado Salad
- ½ cup quinoa
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of 2 limes (fresh!)
- 1 bunch curly parsley, washed and chopped (thick stems removed)
- 4 Persian cucumbers, peeled in strips, seeded and diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 ripe but slightly firm avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a small saucepan bring water and salt to a boil.
2. Stir in quinoa, cover and lover the heat to simmer.
3. Cook quinoa for 15 minutes.
4. Put quinoa into a medium-size mixing bowl and cool.
5. Add parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, lime juice and oil.
6. Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Source: Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Quinoa Salad in Nov 7, 2011 USA Weekend