We are starting a new series on favorite vegetarian recipes with educational fun facts about each, and invite you to share yours. The first is a wonderful light salad that is certain to be a crowd pleaser. Let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you Happy Holidays!
Holiday Quinoa Salad (Kroger) – Serves 4
1 cup tri-colored quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 & ½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 orange, zested
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup salted pistachios
4 cups mixed baby salad greens or arugula
- In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and ½ tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until water is absorbed 15-20 minutes.
- As quinoa cooks, make dressing. In large bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, orange zest, cinnamon, pepper, and remaining ¼ tsp salt. Add hot quinoa to bowl with dressing and cranberries. Toss to coat. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate up to 3 days.
- Just before serving, toss salad with pistachios and arugula. Serve at room temperature, refrigerating any leftovers.
NUTRITION AND HEALTH FACTS ABOUT THIS RECIPE
Olive oil is composed of good fatty acids (MUFA: oleic acid, an omega 9); (PUFA’s: linoleic acid, an omega 6; and ALA, an omega 3), among others, most of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil also contains small amounts of vitamins E and K1. MUFA = monounsaturated fatty acid, PUFA = polyunsaturated fatty acid.
Quinoa is a seed that contains protein, carbohydrates, MUFA and PUFA fats. 3.5 ounces of cooked quinoa, considered a protein substitute for rice and pasta, represents only 120 calories, 4.4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fat (palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid). Most carbohydrates found in quinoa are composed of starch and insoluble fiber, plus a small amount of sugar (maltose, galactose, ribose). Micronutrients include manganese, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Quinoa is a source of flavonoid antioxidants. Quinoa is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. It is best to soak quinoa before cooking it to reduce the small amount of any undesirable plant compounds naturally contained in the seeds.
Arugula is a cruciferous leafy green vegetable that has a peppery taste along with high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, 22 mg vitamin K1, 32 mg calcium, plus a small amount of vitamin C (antioxidant) per cup. Each cup provides 0.5 grams of protein and 0.13 grams of fat. Cruciferous veggies like arugula are a good source of glucosinolates that may also contribute to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.