For those of you that know me, you know that I’ve dropped 25 pounds in the last 2 years since moving to the Gorge. It wasn’t intentional. Since leaving Los Angeles I went into high stress mode moving away from everyone and everything I knew. I’ll be writing a series of articles that will include all the lifestyle changes I made to lose weight with the hope that maybe I can help some of you who are struggling with the same issues.
One of the biggest factors was eating more vegetarian food. I will share more recipes in blogs to come.
Eating clean means eating whole foods, like fruits, vegetable, whole grains, lean meats and good fat. It also means staying away from eating processed foods. That doesn’t mean that you can never eat them. It means that if you can eliminate most of the processed food you eat, you’re going to feel much better and have an easier time losing weight. You can make these changes a little at a time so it becomes something you can live with. I digress…a discussion for a later date.
This Red Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite dishes. I make a big batch on Sunday and have some for lunch and/or dinner throughout the week. The quinoa keeps very well in the fridge. I also make a plain large green salad at the beginning of the week. Then I add salmon, tuna or lean meat when I feel I need extra protein on those non vegetarian days.
By the way, Quinoa is considered a whole grain. It’s actually related to spinach and it contains all of the essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein. Most plant-based foods do not contain complete proteins. So it’s really good to eat and good for you.
1 Cup Red Quinoa
1 ½ Cups of Vegetable Stock (use this exact amount, it produces a perfect quinoa)
½ Tomato Cut in Chunks
2 Tbsps. Red Onion
2 Green Onions (I use Scallions, the white and green)
¼ Cup. Chopped Cilantro
½ Cup. Garbanzo Beans (or any bean you like)
½ tsp. Chopped Jalepeno
1 ½ Tbsps Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsps Really Good Olive Oil
1 Small Garlic Clove (Pushed through garlic press)
Salt and Pepper
First Rinse the quinoa in a strainer several times and let it soak in the water for about 10 minutes. Then strain again.
Heat up a non-stick fry pan on medium and toss the wet quinoa in the pan. Stir it around with a spoon to absorb the water. This will make the quinoa fluffy. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. Once the water has been absorbed take it out and put the quinoa in a sauce pan.
Add the vegetable broth and bring the quinoa and broth to a boil. Watch it closely. Once it boils, reduce the flame to simmer and put a lid on the pan. Set your timer for 13 minutes. Then open the lid and use your wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to see if the water has been completely absorbed.
The Quinoa should look like this. You should see little white sprouts like sprouted beans. If you don’t, you’ll need to add a little bit more water keeping the flame on simmer. The quinoa is ready once you see these little white sprouts.
Place the quinoa in a bowl and put it into the refrigerator to chill. In the meantime, cut up your vegetables. P.S. I’m missing the jalepeno and garbanzo beans in this picture.
After the quinoa is chilled add your vegetables, beans and toss.
Now here’s the tricky part….The dressing.. Lemon juice, fresh garlic, young green olive oil, salt and pepper. I purchase my olive oil from Navidi’s in Camas.
The trick is a balance of the salt and the tang from the lemon. So start with 1 ½ Tbsps. Lemon juice, press your garlic (use a very small clove because garlic is strong and you’ll be tasting it for hours), and start with ¼ tsp. of salt. Remember you cooked your quinoa in vegetable broth which has some salt in it too, so don’t overdo it. Then stir it together and taste it. Then add either a squeeze more lemon or a touch more salt until the flavor is to your liking.
And that’s it…. Enjoy your red quinoa salad.