For those who aren’t familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), the following recipe, featured in this week’s Weight Watchers weekly meeting handout, will serve as a good introduction to this popular super-grain.
Quinoa originated in the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador and has been eaten there for over 3,000 years. Because of its high percentage of both protein and essential amino acids, it has been the staff of life for Andean civilizations from ancient times to the present. Low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition, what took it so long to catch on here in the U.S.?
You have to ask? Imagine ordering quinoa at the drive-thru: “I’d like a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and a large quinoa to go.” See what I mean? Doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it?
But no matter. Quinoa is now easy to find (Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are just a few stores that carry it), equally easy to prepare and a delicious non-meat protein alternative. This WW recipe is pretty bare bones. We all really enjoyed its tangy citrus flavor and the crunchiness of summer’s last fresh corn. I suggest that you consider making it your own by adding some black beans or chickpeas and/or some cilantro or fresh basil, like this recipe. Think of quinoa as a blank slate, ready for your creative culinary inspiration. If you’re not yet inspired, you can find more recipes by typing “quinoa” into the Search box.
Quinoa — until the next trendy super food comes along, it’s what’s for dinner.
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ear of fresh corn, kernels removed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. toasted, chopped almonds
Boil 2 cups of water over medium heat. Add quinoa and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes; cool to room temperature.
Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the corn, bell peppers, lemon juice, orange juice and zest, oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and serve.
WW Points per each 3/4 cup serving: 4