I already mentioned the high nutritional values of quinoa in an older post. Apart from the high iron, zinc, and calcium content it is also a very good source of essential amino acids for vegetarians. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesised by the human body itself and therefore we need to take it up with our food. Quinoa contains quite a lot of lysine which is a rather uncommon amino acid in plants and makes it so important that even the NASA is thinking of adding it to astronaut food for space missions. The Inca called it 'mother of all grains' and although it is not a grain in the proper sense because it is not a cereal but a chenopod (goosefoot) it is power food indeed.
But my presenting of yet another quinoa recipe has more than to demonstrate the values of quinoa. I rather want to send my 'pink power salad' to this month's No Croutons Required hosted by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes. It is a birthday edition and you have to choose an ingredient according to your birthday. Mine is in December, so I had a choice between pasta, root vegetables, and quinoa. Of course I choose the mother of all grains and I turned it into a a 'pink power salad':
Originally I wanted to use red or black quinoa but I couldn't get any. I became quite grumpy because of this and decided to give mother nature a helping hand. I 'coloured' my quinoa myself ! With red beets! And what I got was pink quinoa :) Apart from the colour it had the pleasant effect of becoming a bit sweetish which paired quite wonderfully with the chili and acidic dressing. P and I loved it :) and even M, famous for his dislike in vegan dishes, had to admit 'it is not as bad as it looks like'. I hope you disagree concerning the looks.
Pink Power Salad
1 cup yellow quinoa
1 small red beet
4 carrots (if you can get hold of purple haze carrots, by all means, use those), sliced and cooked
2 zucchini, cut into stripes
1 medium onion, chopped
olive oil for cooking
1 red chili, sliced
tomatoe seed oil (or sunflower oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and slice the beet and cook together with the quinoa in 2 cups of water. While quinoa is blushing, heat the olive oil and add chopped onion and zucchini, let stew for a couple of minutes (onion mustn't brown and zucchini mustn't get mushy). Add the cooked carrots, the zucchni-onion mixture, the chopped chili and chives to the drained quinoa (remove the beet and use it for something else, you wouldn't want to throw it away, I used it as decoration in a carrot soup). Pour over the dressing and let stand for 30 minutes.
I served it with a garam masala swede pie from mangocheeks' blog. A lovely recipe, worth trying out and all vegan. The 'egg' that holds the filling together was actually the mashed swede. Hilarious!