Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Most of us know that quinoa is a wonderful, nutritious gluten-free grain. It is much higher in protein than most gluten free grains containing ~5g per 1/2 cup cooked, which is about double that of brown rice. Since it is naturally higher in protein than brown rice, it is also naturally lower in carbohydrates, increasing satiety and stabilizing blood sugars. It also contains about 3.5g of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked, 70-80% of which is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is wonderful at bulking up stool and increasing transit time. If you struggle with constipation or struggle to fully evacuate, then consider enjoying quinoa more often.
However, I find that often many of my clients haven't found a groove with this fiber rich and nutrient dense pseudo-grain. Also unfortunately, many fad diets exclude grains altogether. With Paleo, Carnivore, and Keto diets on the rise, many folks are missing out on this gut friendly and delicious grain. So, unless you have a sensitivity to quinoa, I urge you to reconsider and try to incorporate this little seed into your diet routine more often. Your gut microbes and your belly will thank you for it.
If you have been on a diet that restricts grains, I suggest starting with a small serving, and gradually increasing from there. The body always needs some time to adjust to new dietary changes. To avoid digestive distress, consider cooking your quinoa with more liquid or making a quinoa porridge. A quinoa porridge is a great alternative to oatmeal and can be a wonderful way to add some variety to your morning routine.
Turmeric Quinoa Porridge with Berries
1 cup milk (your choice)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Sprinkle turmeric (cinnamon or cardamom also works well)
1/8th tsp sea salt
Raw cranberry chutney (recipe on website)
In a small saucepan heat 1 cup of your choice of milk (I really like unsweetened plain soy milk with this) until simmering. Add the cooked quinoa, sprinkle turmeric, sea salt, and stir until combined. Cook one minute or until the milk becomes golden from the turmeric. Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and heat together until hot. If you want to increase the protein content you can add some collage powder to it as well.
Transfer the porridge to a bowl and stir in your toppings. I added 1-2 T of raw cranberry chutney, blueberries, and chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with maple syrup for added sweetness if desired. Feel the cozy with every bite and hopefully the sweet relief later!
Do you struggle to incorporate quinoa into your regular routine??
Hopefully now you have a tasty way to do so!
I craved this meal EVERY day the last seven days. The colors, the flavors, and the ease made it my go-to lately. It is satisfying, filling, and rich in gut friendly fiber and polyphenols. Plus, it is easily adaptable to what you have around, another huge benefit to this meal. In general, I aim to have one plant-based meal per day, and this has been one of my favorites.
If you don't usually eat beans daily, then I suggest gradually incorporating more beans into your diet. If you go from null to WHAM, then you may have some tummy discomfort. For most people, 1/2 cup of beans or lentils per day is a great goal to shoot for. Not only are beans rich in prebiotic rich fibers called galactooligosaccharides, they are also a great source of plant protein. They are also an excellent source of molybdenum a nutrient that falls short if beans/legumes are omitted fro the diet and sulfur intake is high. Unfortunately, many current fad diets shun beans and legumes unnecessarily. Individuals with gut inflammation or IBS/SIBO may not tolerate beans and legumes until inflammation subsides or SIBO is treated. However, just because you cannot tolerate them now, doesn't mean you never will, nor that they are "BAD" for you. Beans and legumes can be a wonderful dietary staple, that are cheap, nutritious, and microbiome friendly. If you are on a SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet or a Low FODMAP diet, 1/2 cup canned brown lentils are often well tolerated. However, same rule applies here too. If you haven't eaten many beans or legumes, start slow!
FeedME! Belly Bowl
I am calling this bowl, FeedME! Not only am I fueling myself with nutritious food, but I am also feeding my good gut bacteria a wide variety of prebiotic rich plant compounds and fibers. For the veggie base, you can use whatever you have on hand. I have used chard, spinach, zoodles, etc. For the beans/legumes, I change it up with whatever is in the fridge or pantry. Lately, I have been making my own beans/lentils in the InstaPot after a 24 hour soak. It's cheaper and there is less waste. But canned and rinsed beans are just fine too. I would recommend Eden's brand if possible. If you have leftover ground meat you can use that in place of the tofu if you like. Pretty much you can use whatever you have available.
Time: 10 minutes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 - 3oz serving extra firm sprouted tofu - crumbled by hand
~1/4 teaspoon curry powder (or any spice/herb blend you like)
1/2 cup cooked beans/legumes
1/4 cup leftover cooked quinoa or rice
Cilantro, basil, or parsley
Veggie Base (dark leafy greens, zucchini)
Salt & Pepper
Corn Tortilla (crispy taco shells or chips work too)
Fermented veggies for good gut bug (lately I have used fermented beets)
Broccoli Sprouts (or any kind of sprouts)
Pecorino/Parmesan/Feta (or any kind of salty cheese) - can replace with dukkah if dairy free.
Over medium-low, heat a small pan and add a little splash of olive oil. Once hot add a serving of crumbled tofu (I simply break it up in my hands until it's in small "ground" pieces). Season with your choice of spice blend (I typically use curry powder), salt and pepper. Sauté the tofu for 1-2 minutes, then add the beans, leftover cooked grain, and fresh herbs if desired. Stir until combined, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Meanwhile, heat another small pan (I use cast iron) over medium low and add a little splash olive oil. Once hot add a corn tortilla and cook two minutes, then flip sprinkle with salt, and cook another minute or two or until the tortilla is crispy and little bubbles form. Once done, roll the corn tortilla up and let rest in the warm pan on the outer flap to seal in a cylinder if desired. Alternatively, you can bake corn tortilla shells in the oven per package instructions, or serve with a handful of chips.
In a bowl add a handful of your veggie base (whatever you want), heat briefly in the microwave for 60 seconds until wilted ( or leave raw if desired), and drizzle with olive oil. Then top with your tofu/bean mixture. Add your favorite sides and sprinkle with salty cheese. Serve with a crispy corn tortilla and dig in!!
Are you craving this belly bowl too?? Let me know what you and your belly bugs think :)
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.