I recently discovered much I love to eat quinoa! Quinoa is an ancient grain that has been around for thousands of years and cultivated in the Andes. It is a high value crop where it is not only nutrient dense but provides long lasting energy and stamina. Indigenous people of the Andes know it as the “Gold of the Incas”.

Some interesting facts about Quinoa
Quinoa is an edible seed that feels and tastes like a grain. It is nutty and has an incredible flavor. There are over 120 varieties, but the most popular and widely sold and known are the white, red and black variety.

Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids (see list below) and is a good source of minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. When proteins are digested, amino acids are left. Amino acids and proteins are the foundation to overall good health.

Quinoa has twice the amount of fiber than any other grains. It helps to keep you fuller longer, can help prevent you from overeating and promote weight loss.

Quinoa is rated low on the glycemic index and does not cause spike in blood sugar levels. This is especially important with people living with diabetes.

It is important to eat a balance of essential and nonessential amino acids every day. The body uses amino acids to:

• Digest and break down food
• Grow
• Repair body tissue
• Perform normal body functions

Amino acids are broken down in three groups.

• Essential amino acids – these cannot be made by the body so they must come from food sources. The nine essential amino acids are:

o Histidine
o Isoleucine
o Leucine
o Lysine
o Methionine
o Phenylalanine
o Threonine
o Tryptophan
o Valine

• Nonessential amino acids – our body can produce these and they do not have to be from a food source.
• Conditional amino acids – are usually not essential, except in times when it is needed (sickness or stress).

A one-cup cooked serving of quinoa provides 12-18% daily value (DV) for protein, more than any other grain.

Quinoa and Vegetable Recipe

Here is a recipe that I have created that requires a minimal amount of oil and salt. This is a complete meal. This recipe is full of flavor and is nutrient dense. It can be eaten at room temperature, warm or hot.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Recipe can be doubled or tripled


1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 cups Brussels sprouts, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 cups of cooked meat or seafood


In a medium saucepan, add quinoa, 2 cups of cold water, salt and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cook for another 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for another 30 minutes with the lid on and set aside. (This can be made the night before and put in the refrigerator.)

While the quinoa cooks, cook the vegetables.
You may use any vegetables you like, but I happen to enjoy eggplant, zucchini and Brussels sprouts. You need about 1-2 pounds chopped vegetables total. Because each vegetable has a different cooking time and also uses different amount of oils, I chose to cook each vegetable individually.

  • Heat a large skillet until hot, then coat the bottom of the pan with oil and add 2-3 crushed garlic cloves.
  • Add chopped eggplant, stir, and cook until tender (about 5-7 minutes). You may need more oil to prevent the eggplant from sticking. Set aside.
    Add the Brussels sprout, add more oil as needed, and sauteed for 8 minutes (Alternatively, you can roast the Brussels sprouts under the broiler at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes). Set aside.
  • Add sliced zucchini and add more oil as needed and sauteed until tender (about 5 minutes).

Combine the quinoa, vegetables and 1-2 cups of cooked meat or seafood in a large bowl and mix well. Since I like to embellish my dishes, for this one, I like to add some chopped fresh celery, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries and a little of chopped cilantro.



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