I discovered Quinoa when searching for a gluten free product to use instead of noodles. Quinoa is a grain or cereal that was first eaten as a staple by the Aztecs. Legend has it that because is has to be hulled and rinsed to remove it's bitter flavor, the Spanish ignored it and focused on the Aztec's maize or corn. Quinoa has a much higher nutriend content. It also cooks up quickly, you boil it like rice and it only takes about twenty minutes or less.
One of our favorite Quinoa dishes is a cold salad. We take this for lunch or on picnics. The Quinoa is packed with protein (18%) and is filling. The veggies add color, flavor and fiber. If you have time, make it a day ahead of when you want to eat it to let all the ingredients chill together and the flavors to blend.
2 cups cooked chilled quinoa
1 chopped red sweet pepper
1/2 chopped red onion
1 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup julliene cut carotts
1/4 cup shopped fresh parsley
Toss all ingredients together and drizzle dressing over each serving - makes two satisfying lunches!
Dressing: 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar (or wine vinegar); 3/4 cup sesame oil (or olive oil), pinch of salt, pinch of sugar - whisk or blend in a blender.
Serve with wedges of pita bread.