Always looking for a good quinoa salad. In this summer heat, I just find myself wanting salads over heavy meals, and quinoa is such an elevating addition to any salad. Also happens to be one of the more beneficial grains out there to be adding to your salads.
This pseudo-grain, which is actually a seed has made its way into all supermarkets worldwide over the years, and for good reason. This little seed is a nice source of plant based protein, packing in 8 grams of protein per cup. The distinguishing factor that makes quinoa a “superfood” plant based protein is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. These are the 9 amino acids (out of 20) that our bodies do not know how to produce on their own but desperately need to proper hormone function, enzymatic activity, structural function and a lot more crucial metabolic functions. So when we examine a protein, we are always looking to get a complete protein, i.e a protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Animal protein is one of the best ways to get these complete proteins into our bodies, but it is very difficult to find a plant based source of complete protein. Brown rice for example is not a complete protein, and often is paired with lentils to complete the missing amino acids. Most other grains are missing one or more of these 9 essentials, so quinoa is really a superstar player in comparison.
Other benefits of quinoa include its high fiber profile, its rich source of vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and folate to name a few. Another great perk of quinoa is its low glycemic index, making it an excellent source of complex carbs to keep blood sugar levels stable and provide the body with sustainable energy.
For Your Picky Eaters…
This salad has a lot of layers and components to it, which makes it a lovely summer afternoon lunch, and makes a great Shabbat afternoon side (just drop the cheese). But the other great thing about this salad is that the quinoa itself is bursting with flavor. I make a huge pot of this “yellow” quinoa each week and keep it in my fridge to add to salads, or as a side to any dinner or lunch. My picky eater loves it a) because its majorly flavorful from all the spices and b) because she loves that we change it to “yellow” quinoa. Little changes to food really get kids excited. Ask them if they want to help you turn your quinoa yellow next time you make it. You’ll be so surprised to see how excited they’ll be to try it! You can totally use the same spices to morph your rice or any other grain for that matter. It’s really one of the best tools to get your picky eaters more interested in trying. And added perk is that turmeric in general has great nutritional benefits (a really great anti-inflammatory! mood booster and immunity fighting little gem!)
Nothing too out of the ordinary in this salad. Every ingredient can be found in your local supermarket, but there is one ingredient that I personally like to buy on iHerb and really elevates this dish. Truth be told you can make your own Italian seasoning blend, but I love Simple Organic’s Italian Seasoning blend, and I find this spice super useful whenever I am making Italian dressing, marinating chicken, making a pasta salad or even just topping a fresh Caprese salad. So find this a worthy ingredient to have around.
If you end up making this salad, I’d love to hear how it went over with your family! Feel free to send Fresh Sabara an email, IG DM or FB message.