Sometimes it’s nice to have a dinner or side salad that is comprised solely of whole, plant-based ingredients. Not everyone eats animal proteins, nor should you have to at every meal to get the protein you need. Our bodies often need a rest from digesting meat, or any processed foods that might sneak into your day. The best way to do that is by eating a meal made up of vegetables or plant-based grains, like quinoa. Of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is also gluten-free. Because it is a complex carb, it actually eases the progress of food through your digestive tract, so you may find adding it to your diet will keep you constipation and bloat-free. It’s high in Vitamin B and folate, as well, which can aid your liver in eliminating wastes from your body. It’s a great thing to make in big batches because it save beautifully in the fridge, and it’s quite the chameleon with other ingredients. You can go fruity, Asian, Greek… the sky is the limit with this super grain!
- 2 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth or water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup pineapple-mango salsa (Trader Joe’s)
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed
- 3/4 cup sliced grapes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced and halved zucchini
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil (optional)
- 2 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Cool. Toss with a fork and add salsa through carrots. In a small dish, combine oil (if using) and vinegar, and toss into quinoa. Before serving, top with avocado, almonds, salt and pepper. Serves 4, or 8 side dishes.