Jan 16, 2014 8:00 AM

Author: Brenda Lisette Routa

​It's flying off the shelves at super markets across the nation and has become a new food obsession. It's called quinoa and pronounced \kēn-,wä\. Quinoa is considered a super food because of its many benefits. "It is suitable for some of the most troubled of tummies because it is a gluten free complete protein that our bodies can absorb," says Kelly Miller, RD, at the Health and Wellness Center.

It is native to the Andes region including Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. This multipurpose seed ranges in color from red to yellow and, because of its versatility, is delicious as a cooked breakfast cereal or in a casserole for dinner.

"According to the USDA, vitamins and minerals abundant in quinoa are vitamin E, folate, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and even a small amount of calcium" stated livestrong.com. A helpful cooking tip; if pre-rinsed, it can cook in about 10 minutes!

Here is a simple, healthy recipe from the pair at "Our Best Bites" that works great as a main or side dish.

Mango Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa* at room temperature, or chilled

1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium mango, peeled and diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

*Quinoa can be cooked in water or broth. Using vegetable or chicken broth can enhance flavor, but plain water works great too.

Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro. In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and pour on top of salad. Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

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