Ever since I discovered quinoa a few years ago, I've been in love with it! Hailing from the Andes, the Incas believed that quinoa was a sacred grain, calling it 'chisaya mama' or the mother of all grains. As an excellent source for plant protein (12-18% protein content thanks to its balanced set of essential amino acids), iron, magnesium, potassium and lysine, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse! The South American grain can be substituted for rice, couscous and other refined starches in just about any recipe. As a vegetarian and being on a quest to eat more whole grains, I've been eating more and more quinoa lately.
If you make a big batch of this salad on the weekend as a I did, it will be perfect for a few days of delicious, nutritious lunches. Chickpeas and almonds add additional protein, while the shredded carrots pack in beta carotene and the cranberries vitamin C and fiber. Despite my trepidation about curry powder (it just seems like cheating somehow to this Indian girl!), it serves as a perfect seasoning in a salad like this. Enjoy it!
QUICK & EASY QUINOA LUNCH SALADMakes 4 lunch servings
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 to 1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons green onions or garlic chives, chopped (optional - make sure you brush your teeth afterwards if you use them, otherwise your co-workers might not be very pleased!)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
4 tablespoons chickpeas
2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds
1. Place quinoa, water, curry powder and salt in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until all the water is absorbed (as per package instructions).
2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and let it cool. Add all of the remaining ingredients and toss. You're done!