Quinoa has recently become well known as one of the world’s healthiest grains. It is a high fiber, naturally gluten-free grain with 5 grams of fiber in 1 cup, about 20% of your daily value. Great news for vegans, quinoa is also a great plant source of protein, 8 grams in 1 cup, containing all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein like meat or dairy products. This super grain is also rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc, and in vitamins including B-1, B-2, B-6 and folate. For a balanced meat-free meal and heart-healthy antioxidants, try this protein-packed grain.
Vitamins in Quinoa
Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps the body's cells convert carbohydrates into energy. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system. Thiamin also plays a role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works in conjunction with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates. Riboflavin also has antioxidant properties.
Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (vitamin B6) is involved in more than 100 biochemical reactions as a coenzyme. These reactions include the metabolism of glycogen and amino acids, the synthesis of nucleic acids, and the synthesis and metabolism of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. B-6 is also involved as a coenzyme in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, histamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid. Vitamin B-6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body.
Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifid a.
Yield: About 6 servings
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (1 3/4 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups water (or chicken broth if not making vegetarian)
- 1 (7 oz) can diced green chilies
- 2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used one dark red, one light red)
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is hot add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sautéing.
- Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked quinoa, water (start with 1 1/2 cups then add more later if desired), green chilies, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, paprika, sugar, coriander, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot and allow to simmer 30 minutes.
- Add in all beans, corn, cilantro and lime and cook until heated through.
- Serve warm with optional toppings and sides (cheddar, sour cream, diced avocados, saltine crackers or tortilla chips).