It goes without saying that cooking your own meal at home is much healthier than eating out. When you cook at home, you are in full control of every ingredient that makes up your meal. So why is it that most people choose fast food over homemade meals? Well, the considerable amount of time it takes to prepare a homemade meal can frankly be a valid deterrent. However, did you know that there is a plethora of nutrient-rich, easy homemade recipes you can put together under half an hour? When it comes to quick easy healthy recipes, Quinoa Tabbouleh passes the test by a wide margin.
What is Quinoa?
For those who don’t already know this, let me tell you that quinoa is the new sexy whole grain in town. Quinoa is commonly considered a grain, but this amino acid-rich seed is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and beets. For those of you who care about a little history, quinoa was once considered “the gold of the Incas”, and has been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia for over 5,000 years; but is relatively new in North America. So don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it before. Chances are, many of your friends haven’t either.
Why is Quinoa so Healthy?
Quinoa is packed with enormous nutrient value. Not only is it high in protein, it is a complete protein; which means it contains all nine amino acids. It is also jam-packed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential in the repair and growth of tissue. This super food also contains generous amounts of phosphorus, folate, and magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, and aides in preventing the constriction and rebound dilation – leading characteristic of migraines. Magnesium is also essential to heart health. Consumption of whole grain products and dietary fiber, has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack, which is also good for the heart.
The list of the benefit of Quinoa could go on and on. It is wheat and gluten free, so it can be enjoyed by many. It is excellent for people with diabetes and atherosclerosis. It is versatile like rice, and can be prepared in the same way, boiled in water or vegetable broth. It is fluffy, and has a slight nutty taste. It is a great alternative to couscous or rice. And can be eaten on its own, for breakfast (with honey, berries, and nuts), as a salad, or sautéed with vegetables.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe
If you want to get creative with the many uses of quinoa, I suggest you try the quinoa tabbouleh, which is a delicious recipe that can be served at room temperature or cold. It can be served on its own, with wedges of pita bread as a light appetizer, as a side dish. This salad tastes even better the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to settle in, so making it a day in advance is recommended. Pair quinoa tabbouleh with chicken marbella; it makes a tasty dish.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Ingredients:
Makes about 7 cups, enough for 4-6 people
- 1 cup of dry quinoa
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch parsley (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 bunch mint (about 1/2 cup)
- 8 ounces feta
- 1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- extra lemon juice to taste
- salt to taste
Homemade Quinoa Tabbouleh Directions
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Lower the stove to medium-low flame, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy and chewy.
Cut the tomatoes in quarters and squeeze out the seeds. Dice the remaining tomato into small pieces. Finely mince the garlic, parsley, and mint. Meanwhile, dice the half a red onion and put it in a bowl covered with water and a pinch of salt to soak.
Empty the quinoa into a large bowl and allow it to cool at room temperature. The quinoa should feel just barely warm to the touch.
Once it has cooled, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and a healthy pinch of salt. Pour it over the quinoa and stir until the grains are evenly coated. Add the parsley, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mint, and stir to combine. Crumble the feta over the top and gently stir it in as well. Taste the salad and add more lemon juice or salt as desired.
Congratulations! You have just made yourself a yummy tasting quinoa tabbouleh recipe. I hope you enjoy this as a healthy, easy light meal or side dish.
Guest post by Kodjo Hounnake who is a home fitness enthusiast that believes the average person can get and remain in great shape right at home. See the hundreds of home workout videos and health tips on home fitness blog.