By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a whole grain but it is really a seed. Quinoa is high in protein and dietary fiber. It contains more high quality protein than any other grain. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all the 9 essential amino acids. It does not contain any gluten. Quinoa is a perfect food for vegetarians, vegans and people who are lactose intolerance. Quinoa can be served hot or cold. It can be served as a side dish, in soups, as a pilaf or as a breakfast cereal. One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, iron, selenium, calcium, folate and vitamin E. I typically use quinoa in the place of rice or couscous. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to cook. I typically cook a batch and store in the refrigerator. It can be stored up to 4 days. I use it in soups and as a base for stir fry vegetables.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 443 calories, 25 grams protein, 7 grams of fat, 61 grams of CHO, 19 grams dietary fiber, 1868 mg sodium.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup cooked quinoa*
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large sweet potatoes, shredded**
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 eggs or 4 egg whites
- 2 cups of medium salsa
- 2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped as garnish
Cook quinoa according to the package. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” X 9” casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix cooked quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, ½ cup cheese, chili powder, cumin & salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs and the salsa. Pour the salsa mixture over the vegetables and beans. Then pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top & bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- ground cumin
- chili powder
- medium salsa
- fresh cilantro
*You can substitute whole wheat couscous.
**You can substitute fire roasted red pepper and garlic instead of the sweet potatoes.
Image from: Jerry Miller.
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition. The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers. Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues. Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHealthWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.