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Michele Promaulayko is the former editor-in-chief of Women’s Health and author of 20 Pounds Younger.
By now, we’ve all heard about—and maybe even tried—the exalted quinoa grain. But until I started tapping into the great minds of nutritionists like Keri Glassman, R.D., one of the Life Stylists featured in my upcoming book20 Pounds Younger, I didn’t realize how incredibly versatile this ancient grain is. These days, I even eat it for breakfast! And why not? It’s delicious and filling and totally unprocessed.
What’s more, it’s a great source of protein for when I don’t want meat or dairy. It’s what they call a “complete protein,” one of the few sources in the grain family, because it contains all of the essential amino acids, just like eggs do. And like eggs, I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My trick is to make a big batch on Sunday night so I have it on-hand several days in a row. Give it a try. Experiment with add-ins to develop your favorite recipes. To get you started, here are some terrific quinoa recipes—one for each of the main meals. You can even put your holiday leftovers to good use!
Sweet and Spicy Quinoa Hash
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp coconut oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cubed sweet potato
1/3 cup chopped kale
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
Warm coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and sweet potato, then sauté for about five minutes. Stir in kale, garlic, and salt. Sauté until kale has wilted, about three minutes. Add quinoa, and heat through.
Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 425.5 calories, 10 g fat (5 g sat), 71 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 206 mg sodium, 8.5 g fiber, 14 g protein
In a hurry? I toss a half-cup of cooked quinoa with almond milk and mixed berries when I’m on the go.