Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah.” is thought to be a grain, but it's actually the seed of a grain-like crop from the chenopdodium family. Considered a ‘pseudo-cereal’ because it can be consumed the same way as a grain or grass. Its origins are in the Andean region.
Quinoa is very high in protein and also packs complete protein, meaning it includes all 9 essential amino acids, a distinction usually reserved for animal protein found in meat and dairy foods. The vegetable protein found in quinoa is much easier to digest than meat protein. The slow releasing carbohydrates help maintain blood sugar levels and keep you fuller longer. Quinoa is a great way for those who struggle with anemia to get some extra iron. Additionally, it is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, B vitamins, B6, Niacin and Thiamine. It is high in calcium – making it a great selection for vegans or those who are lactose intolerant. It also has good amounts of phosphorous, iron and fibre. Higher in monounsaturated fats than wheat and grain, quinoa is very heart healthy. It also contains small amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.
Another good thing to know is that quinoa is gluten-free and is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be substituted in for a recipe that calls for a whole grain. The flavour is mellow enough that it can accompany many flavour profiles. Quite simply, quinoa is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!
2 big red peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and hollowed (make sure to leave the stems on)
1/2 c. quinoa1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. diced zucchini
1 c. diced eggplant
1/4 c. corn
2/3 c. thick salsa
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat oven at 350° F (180C).
- In a large pot filled with boiling water, parboil peppers for about 3 minutes or until they are tender, yet still crispy.
- Drain and set aside.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain (this will allow to remove the bitter layer that covers it).
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
- Add quinoa and stir to coat well.
- Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed and the grains are tender.
- Add the zucchini, eggplant and corn.
- Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring gently.
- Add the salsa, oregano, chili powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
- Fill each pepper-half with quinoa mixture and put them into a lightly greased oven dish.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until both the peppers and mixture are hot.
- Put under broiler for a couple of minutes until cheese is golden.
*You can also substitute the quinoa with brown rice.