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What’s all the talk about Avocados and Quinoa?

May 6th, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

These are two ingredients that are quite versatile and a recipe that I’m sure you will enjoy. About the two:

First, avocados are a super food, great at helping reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that simply adding one avocado to an individual’s diet each day had a dramatic effect on blood lipids—without causing weight gain. The fat in an avocado is largely monounsaturated fat and contains a group of phytosterols that reduce cholesterol production and our risk for cancer. Like many fruits, avocados ripen best off the tree. Ripe avocados yield to gentle palm pressure, but firm, unripe avocados are what are usually found in the market. Select those that are unblemished and heavy for their size. To speed the ripening process, place several avocados in a paper bag and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 4 days. Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator several days. Once avocado flesh is cut and exposed to the air it tends to discolor rapidly. To minimize this effect it is always advisable to add cubed or sliced avocado to a dish at the last moment.

Second, Quinoa, a staple of Andean culture, is an extremely nutrient-dense grain, which is rare. A good source of calcium and magnesium, it offers the majority of the essential amino acids, making it close to a complete protein. It is a good idea to rinse your quinoa first, which will remove some of the saponins (these have a laxative-like effect when consumed in substantial amounts). Quinoa is lighter than Couscous but can be used in any way suitable for rice — as part of a main dish, a side dish, in soups, in salads and even in puddings. It’s available packaged as a grain, ground into flour and in several forms of pasta. Quinoa, in the standard, raw form is gluten-free and not a grain it’s a seed and a relative of green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Quinoa can be found in most health-food stores and some supermarkets.

Source: from Epicurious.com and the Food Lovers companion

 Here is a great recipe which is colorful and makes for a great lunch the next day, when mixed with 2 cups of fresh baby spinach and 4oz of grilled chicken breast …but try it like it is!

Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS:                                                                                                             Serves 4

1⁄2 cup Quinoa

1 cup vegetable stock

1⁄2 cup red pepper diced

1 cup fresh spinach

3⁄4 cup black beans, (can) rinsed and drained

1⁄2 cup white onion diced

1⁄2 cup cilantro leaves chopped

1 clove of garlic smashed and chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

PROCEDURE: 

  1. Cook Quinoa according to package directions in vegetable broth.
  2. In a bowl toss the next 6 ingredients, blend the oil and lemon juice to emulsify. Then add to the ingredients and toss to coat. When the Quinoa has absorbed the broth completely, fluff then add to the ingredient mix when warm.   

 
 

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