You know you want it.

Breezy orange-cilantro quinoa

Delicious...and nutritious!
Delicious...and nutritious!
Packed with fresh veg, like carrots, scallions, cilantro, and ginger root.
Packed with fresh veg, like carrots, scallions, cilantro, and ginger root.

I’m a bad, bad girl.

While I try to do mostly the fat-protein-carb balance that paleo/Zone offers, I’ve been more into portion control and overall nutritional balance. So that means that some days (okay, many days), I eat maybe one serving of a grainy (i.e., whole-grain) food. That, along with the drastic decrease in dairy and refined sugars has made me and my finicky tummy much, much happier.

But, like I said, I’m still eating these things in uber-moderation. As in, not completely cut out.

So I was perusing some recipes, and I started reading about quinoa, which is apparently some sort of miracle food. High in protein and in antioxidants, this caviar of grains is actually a SEED. No, seriously. It’s a seed.

I was floored.

So, then, quinoa is, like, totally paleo-okay, right?


Well, apparently this is debatable. Apparently, while quinoa is discouraged because of it’s carb-density(although foods like sweet potatoes are carb-dense, yet still paleo-okay), it’s also discouraged because it contains saponins, which may rip your stomach lining and may be considered toxic. HOWEVER, (a) potatoes also contain saponins, and (b) the saponins that are a naturally occurring pesticide on the outside of the seed must be rinsed off before cooking, otherwise your quinoa will have a nasty, bitter flavor.

So following this logic, I am still not convinced of the evils of quinoa, especially if it’s a seed. (I’m also not convinced of the evils of the banana, either. Sorry, guys.)

If you disagree, you might want to stop here. If not, then please carry on!

I haven’t done tons of cooking with quinoa because I’m honestly pretty unfamiliar with the “grain.” So for a trial run, I made this orange-cilantro quinoa as a hearty side-dish. The original recipe was sort of bland, so in this incarnation, there is a little more salt. You might also trying other spices, like cayenne or garlic. Yum!

Orange-Cilantro-infused Quinoa

You know you want it.
You know you want it.

2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup uncoooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is translucent and tender, about 15 to 17 minutes. Drain off any remaining liquid.

While quinoa cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, scallions and ginger; cook over medium heat, stirring, until carrots are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Stir in quinoa; cook, stirring, until well mixed.

Remove from heat; stir in orange juice and cilantro and serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

For my WW friends, this delightful side is 4 p+ per serving!


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Exuberant photographer, artist, writer, designer, wannabe chef, and Crossfitter.

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