I love quinoa! It’s a superfood, super-grain and super delicious, with roots dating back to pre-Columbian civilizations. It was cultivated and consumed by the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. Quinoa is one of the few grains containing all nine of the essential amino acids. Quinoa also contains Lysine, making it a complete protein, similar to animal proteins. One cup contains 8 grams of protein.
You can prepare quinoa several ways, it’s very versatile. One of my favorites is Greek Style. This time I added sauteed chicken, but for a vegetarian option you can leave it out. I also add cucumber, tomato, and of course, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Then I simply toss it with some olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of oregano and some fresh cracked pepper.
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups Water
1 tsp. Real Salt
1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, thinly sliced (omit for vegetarian option)
3 Tbs. Olive oil, divided
1 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 English Cucumber, chopped
1 large Roma Tomato, chopped
1/2 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, quartered
3/4 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp. Fresh Cracked pepper
Salt to taste
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a sieve. Rinsing the quinoa helps to take way the bitterness that it sometimes has. Then, in a 2 qt. saucepan, add water, quinoa and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15-18 minutes. Start checking at the fifteen minute mark. If adding chicken; slice thinly, then sprinkle with salt, oregano, and lemon pepper. Heat saute pan on medium for two minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Add chicken, stirring frequently until cooked through, for about 10-15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 164° F. While chicken and quinoa are cooking, prep the veggies, olives and feta cheese. Then, combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl. Add remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, and fresh cracked pepper, and gently toss. Serve immediately, or chill for two hours to serve cold. Serve on a bed of Baby Spinach, Arugula, or other leafy green for extra nutrition.