Update Dec 2019
A few years ago, no one had heard of quinoa. Fast forward to today and it looks like it’s here to stay and with good reason, it’s both delicious AND nutritious 🙂
Today, it is one of the world’s most popular health foods.
Quinoa is a grain crop; otherwise known as a grain-producing plant. The two main types of grain crops are cereals (wheat, rice etc) and legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils and peanuts). Quinoa is grown for its edible seeds and therefore not technically a cereal grain, but is considered a pseudo cereal. Long story short, it’s basically a seed like sesame, chia and flax seeds are.
Nevertheless, quinoa is highly nutritious. One-cup (250 ml) of cooked quinoa has:
- 8 g protein
- 5 g fiber
- 58% of your daily manganese
- 30% of magnesium
- 28% of phosphorus
- 18% of copper
- 14% of your recommended iron intake
- 13% of zinc
It also has a smattering of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and small amounts of calcium, B3 and vitamin E. All for only 220 or so calories. This salad is a great way to get more quinoa nutrition into your diet.
Blueberries, cranberries, mango and more
Both fresh and dried fruit offers a hit of flavour and sweetness.
Because dried fruit is dehydrated, the size of a fruit is reduced. As such, the actual size of the fruit is smaller (no kidding right?). It still has the same amount of fiber and naturally occurring sugar but it’s just more concentrated. When it comes to dried fruit, a little goes a long way. This salad for two only has 1/4 cup of dried cranberries or craisins.
For extra flavour and nutrition, mango and fresh blueberries round out the salad and provide a nice balance of sweet to the cranberries’ tartness.
Many think of cucumber as filler. I was one of those people. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, cucumber is actually a fruit. This really is a quinoa fruit salad !
Cucumbers are known for being low in calories, but believe it or not, offer up some important nutrients. A medium cucumber (300 g or 11 ounces) has 14% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of vitamin C, 62% of K1, 10% of magnesium and 13% of the RDA for potassium – not bad for 45 calories. Cucumber aren’t just for picking up dips or hummus.
- 1/2 cup quinoa washed
- 1 cup water
Salad ingredients (minus the quinoa)
- 1 mango cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 medium cucumber cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon orange marmalade
- 10 Basil leaves chopped finely
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the water in a medium skillet, then add the quinoa. Turn heat down to medium, cover the skillet and let simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat and let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Combine the fruits and cucumber in a medium bowl. And whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, except the basil.
When the quinoa has cooled, combine the basil with the dressing and mix half of the dressing into the quinoa. Combine the quinoa with the fruits and cucumber mixture and serve immediately with the rest of the dressing.