Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain; it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy and subtly flavored.
Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:
- Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
- Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
- Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
- Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
Quinoa has other qualities that make it an ideal “grain”:
- Quinoa acts as a prebiotic that feeds the microflora (good bacteria) in your intestines.
- Quinoa is easily digested for optimal absorption of nutrients.
- Quinoa is gluten-free and safe for those with gluten intolerance
Ingredients makes 4 servings. Each serving has approx 30 grams of healthy carbs.
- 4 bell peppers (I used multi colored because the peppers bring different flavors)
- 12 oz cooked chicken breast (these were grilled to add more flavor)
- 1 cup dry Quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans of diced tomato (Del Monte Petite Cut Garlic and Olive Oil used)
- salt, pepper to taste
- sauteed diced onion and mushroom (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F
In medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup Quinoa. Bring back to boil, lower to medium heat and cover. Let cook for 12 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff and let stand for 15 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, dice or shred your chicken.
Wash your bell peppers. Cut tops as shown in picture and pull the core out. Clean out the rest of the membrane (cut or just pull out with your fingers) and wash away the rest of the seeds. I also cut the bottom of the peppers to make it more level when cooking and plating. Be careful not to cut too much off and leave a hole in your pepper.
Once quinoa is ready, reserve 1 cup quinoa. In a bowl, add remaining quinoa, chicken, salt, pepper, 1 can of diced tomato (and optional sauteed mushrooms and onion). Mix together. **Note** in the picture, I only used 1/2 can of tomato. You may also add any other spices you wish to this mixture. Italian seasoning or some heat would also be good.
Stand peppers up in a casserole dish. Spoon quinoa mixture into the peppers…to the top.
Place on middle rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes for a firmer pepper or 40 minutes for a softer pepper. **Be sure to place top rack as high as you can so you don’t bump the top of your peppers on the top rack like I did** LOL. Ooops.
Once done, place a pepper on a small bed of quinoa and top with more tomatoes. Or you can cut them in half and then add tomatoes. Enjoy!!
**NOTE** You can also easily use brown rice in lieu of quinoa!