Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's in my lunchbox?

Happy 2011!  I am back from a vacationing in Germany and Italy and hope you all had a chance to relax and enjoy your holidays.  In the coming days, I will be posting details from my trip including wines to try and a great place to stay if you are ever in Sorrento, Italy.  But for today, it was all about getting back to work and shaking off the jet lag with my latest grain obsession – quinoa.  If any of you made New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and eating healthy, this post is for you.
If you have yet to try quinoa, you must.  This tasty grain has 10 essential amino acids, is loaded with minerals and has high protein content — between 14 and 18 percent and is gluten free.  I find it very versatile (use it as an alternative to rice or couscous in recipes) easy to prepare and quick-cooking (it takes about 10-15 minutes).  Never able to just run on greens, I add a scoop to spinach salad for lunch and I am satisfied until dinner.  Quinoa would also be great for breakfast with mixed berries and a dollop of yogurt.
Here is how I ate it today for lunch:
In a medium saucepan, toast a half cup of quinoa in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and light brown.
Add a cup of water and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer.
While quinoa cooks, chop:
  • ¼ of a seeded cucumber
  • ¼ pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½  kale leaf (rib removed, chop fine)
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley (chop fine)
Add kale to cooking quinoa.
In a medium bowl, squeeze juice from one quarter of a lemon, whisk in about 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to make vinaigrette (you will need to adjust to taste depending on the oil you use, how juicy your lemon is, etc).
Once all of the water has been absorbed into the quinoa, fluff with a fork, add to the vinaigrette, add parsley and toss.
Then add chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, toss again, top with toasted almonds (if desired) and enjoy!  Do any of you have quinoa ideas or recipes to share?

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