Quinoa Salad

Move over cous cous, move over taboule… make room in your diet for quinoa. Quinoa (keen-wah) is basically a “super grain”, packed with tons of natural protein and vitamins. Referred to as “gold to the Incas”, quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids (and iron and magnesium). Its a great way to get more plant-based protein into your diet.

Recently I’ve been a little, ok a lot obsessed with the bulk section at my grocery store. The local chain up here, Wegmans, has an exceptional selection. I got spinach for a massive salad (about 4-6 cups worth) for $0.28, and that is not a joke. Comparable to $2-4 for the pre-packaged variety, not to mention, it never seems to last as long as I think it will. I’ve been stocking up on dried fruit, granola, and banana chips as cheap snack options and also to top some plain non-fat Greek yogurt with for breakfast. My most recent purchase was about 2 cup of dried quinoa for a whopping $0.76! I don’t think a box of quinoa can be that cheap, even on sale… and I even mixed the white and red varieties together for some added color.

I cooked up the quinoa and added some sautéed veggies and tempeh for a protein and fiber packed lunch to get me though the long work day. Paired with an apple, this lunch kept me full throughout the afternoon, and warded off that 4 o’clock low blood sugar slump. And boy did I need it; it was in the mid-90’s today. All that complaining about it being cold a few weeks ago… I take it back. On a side note, I did go swimming in Seneca Lake today… it was cold, yet refreshing, given I’d been out collecting water sample in the direct sun for 8 hours.

I picked up this great little Tupperware container a few weeks ago that is perfect for just about anything… it has the little compartment in the middle to hold sauce, dressing, or dips. I’ve used it for carrots and humus, apple slices and peanut butter, some left over corn and black bean salad and some salsa. Today I packed up my quinoa salad with some hummus.

Quinoa Salad

Serves 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups of spinach

½ of a bell pepper, diced

¼ of a small onion diced

½ cup of diced tempeh

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

Crumbled cheese, like feta (optional)

Prepare the quinoa as per the directions provided. It’s usually about 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. As the quinoa simmers away on low, chop the veggies. Heat a skillet to medium heat, add oil then peppers, onions and tempeh. Cook about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add in the spinach, let it wilt, about 1 min. Then add in tomatoes and cheese. Transfer the veggies from the skillet into the cooked pot of quinoa, stir to incorporate the veggies. Eat warm or refrigerate and enjoy for lunch the next day.

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