Cajun Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Veggies

Another quinoa salad recipe! The price of quinoa has gone significantly down, so I am once again inspired to use this nutritious ingredient. At Mother Earth’s we have quite a wonderful selection of bulk spices. I tend to use the same ones over and over again, so I figured it was time to add some new seasonings to my recipes. I created this recipe at work this weekend and my first tasters were two little girls. I was a bit skeptical that this would be something they would enjoy, but much to my surprise they loved it! They said they wanted a whole buffet. Wow! Great endorsement. The seasonings are pretty mild, so if you like more spice, feel free to add more. As it is summertime, I looked for veggies that were local and/or in season. They added a nice freshness to the dish.

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa—rinsed
2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube—I like Rapunzel brand (or 1 tsp. salt)
2 tsp. Cajun spice blend
1 tsp. chili powder (blend)
1 cup seeded & chopped tomatoes
1 cup seeded & chopped cucumbers
¼ cup chopped scallions (or spring onions)
2 Tbs. olive oil

Put water, bouillon, Cajun spice and chili powder into a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add quinoa. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until done (approx. 15-20 minutes). Set aside. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Put the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions and olive oil into a bowl—and stir together. When quinoa is cooled, add veggies and stir to combine. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Although referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is pronounced keen-wa.

  1. High quality protein with the nine essential amino acids, the protein balance is similar to milk. At 16.2 to 20 percent protein, it has is more protein than rice (7.5 percent), millet (9.9 percent) or wheat (14 percent).
  1. Great source of riboflavin. Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
  1. Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery time by eating these quinoa seeds, making it a truly ancient powerfood.
  1. Antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America.
  1. Only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 of the calories from protein and only 12 from sugars, the rest are complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats). Not fattening!
  1. Gluten-free. Since it is not not related to wheat, or even a grain, it is gluten-free.
  1. Alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.
  1. Smart Carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar.
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