Keeen-waaah! (aka Quinoa)

I really never thought of myself as one of "those" people. You know, the kind that eat super healthy 24/7/365. It's not like I haven't tried, it's just that given the choice between a pan fried rib eye and a bowl of quinoa....well....I'd rather the rib eye, blue-red, with maybe a slab of melted blue cheese on top, a side of creamed spinach and while we're at it...some fries. But those days are sooooooo over it's just not even funny. Whhaaaaaaaaaa! I actually made creamed spinach this week, but used minor amounts of low fat yogurt and coconut milk creamer to cream it- no butter, no flour, and no heavy cream. To my surprise, it was actually really good. But back to quinoa. I received a request to post a quinoa based recipe, and never having really taken an interest in the grain, I had to go buy some. It turns out, quinoa is pretty tasty and who can deny it's many health benefits? Not me, anymore.

Quinoa and Roasted Chickpea "Salad"

Shopping List

1 cup dry Organic quinoa (red or white) 2 cups chick peas 2 large cloves garlic (1 1/2 TB minced garlic) 3 scallions, sliced thinly 1/2 large tomato, small dice 1/2 yellow or orange pepper, small dice 3/4 cup cucumber, small dice 2 TSP olive oil 2 TSP balsamic vinegar 1/3 cup chopped flat parsley salt & pepper to taste (black or white pepper)

What & How to do it:

Start by rinsing the quinoa several times in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Boil 2 cups of water, then add in a pinch of salt and the quinoa. Let it come back to a boil, then turn down the flame down on low for approximately 15 minutes.  The package says it should be fluffy when done, but I have yet to see this stuff really get "fluffy."  Popcorn is fluffy, this is not popcorn (my favorite food!). Once the water steams out and your quinoa is ready, pour it onto a plate and let it cool off and come to room temp.

While your quinoa is steaming you can get your other ingredients ready.  This is so EASY!

In a bowl add the garlic and olive oil to coat the chick peas. Add salt & pepper to taste, then pour the mixture onto a small baking tray and roast.  I use the tray that comes with the toaster oven and then roast them on 400˚ for 30 minutes, or until they are golden. The chick peas will form a little crust on the outside but maintain a soft center, the garlic will get caramelized, and the kitchen will start to smell fabulous...then endorphins kick in and OH happy day!  Rib eye who??  Once the chick peas are golden and ready, pull them out to cool down as well.

In a shallow bowl, combine the scallions, yellow pepper, cucumber and tomato.  Season with balsamic vinegar.

In a larger salad bowl, pour in the quinoa, chick peas,  and vegetable mixture. Toss to mix, season to taste, add in the parsley and VOILA!

So yummy, so healthy.  364 more healthy recipes to go.