uinoa, sometimes called the supergrain
for its health promoting benefits, is fast becoming a staple in the healthy weight management diet of many who have undergone weight loss surgery. Quinoa contains more high quality protein than any other grain. The National Academy of Sciences calls it "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom." In fact, quinoa stands alone as a complete protein. That means it provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern and easily digested form. Most WLS patients who enjoy quinoa report it is more comfortable in the gastric pouch than other grains, when enjoyed in carefully measured portions. And unlike other "health" food quinoa has a delicate and delicious nutty flavor that stands alone or provides the perfect canvas for all manner of preparation.
Gluten-free and wheat-free quinoa is low glycemic which is good news for people carefully managing their blood glucose levels. Quinoa is sold on the grain aisle. Look for traditional quinoa that is pre-washed and cooks in 10 to 15 minutes. A 1/4 cup serving of cooked quinoa provides 40 calories, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, and 1 gram dietary fiber. If you haven't tried quinoa before be sure to measure your portion and avoid overeating as it can be easy to out-eat the pouch causing discomfort. A good starting point is a 1/4 cup serving.
Recipes shared with permission from Whole Foods Market
Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds
This quickly prepared pilaf is a great replacement for heavier bread-based stuffings served for Thanksgiving dinner. The combination of fruity cranberries and nutty almonds keeps the dish visually appealing and delicious.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and serve.
Nutrition: Serves 6. Per Serving:220 calories, 6 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
This may fast become your new autumn classic as the roasted vegetables marry nicely with the nutty quinoa. Serve warm or at room temperature: ideal for a buffet-style meal.
2 yellow beets
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 carrots, chopped
3 parsnips, chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups gluten-free vegetable stock or water
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub beets all over with 1 teaspoon of the oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil, place on a small baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, until beets are tender. Allow beets to cool and then peel and chop them. Meanwhile, toss carrots and parsnips in remaining 3 teaspoons oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Put quinoa, lemon juice, stock or water and thyme into a small pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool to room temperature. Put quinoa, roasted carrots and parsnips into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add beets, onions, parsley, salt and pepper, mix well and serve.
Nutrition: Serves 6-8. Per Serving, 260 calories; 8 grams protein; 7 grams fat; 42 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams dietary fiber.
Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
Mushrooms roasted in a simple oil-free pear balsamic dressing are delicious tossed with quinoa, spinach, green onions and almonds. Serve this dish warm, room temperature or cold, as a side dish or the main event.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove, halved
2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills scraped out
1 cup red or white quinoa
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 475°F. Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork. Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.
Nutrition: Serves 6. Per serving, 280 calories; 12 grams protein; 7 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrate; 7 grams dietary fiber.
Other Vegetable Side-dish Suggestions:Oven Roasted VegetablesGreen Beans with Carmalized Onions