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After all of the heavy eating of the holiday season, there’s something incredibly cleansing for mind, body and kitchen to embark on healthier dietary choices in January. One of my favorite ways to transition to a heathier diet is to introduce winter salads like this Quinoa Salad. This version makes good use of winter-safe ingredients like dried apricots, pumpkin seeds and fresh pomegranate.
Quinoa is a wonderfully versatile and healthy ingredient for a winter salad. There are several reasons I love using quinoa this way. Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber but doesn’t have a lot of flavor. This makes it a great salad base because it soaks up the dressing and flavors from other ingredients and actually improves over time. Quinoa is also filling making the transition from calorie-laden holiday food to cleaner, healthier foods a little easier.
This Quinoa Salad is easy to make, delicious and colorful. It’s a great vegetarian meal or can be served with your favorite protein like grilled chicken or salmon for a heartier dinner option.
This fully prepared Quinoa Salad will last in the refrigerator for up to five days.
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Quinoa is an ancient pseudo-grain from South America. While not technically grain, it is eaten in the same way as grains like wheat. Quinoa is actually the seed of a Chenopodium quinoa plant. It comes in many colors the most prevalent of which are red, black and white. White is the most commonly found form in the supermarket.
Quinoa is considered a super food due to its high nutritional content. High in protein and fiber, quinoa is also rich in antioxidants and minerals like Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Folate, Copper, Zinc and Iron. Many people add quinoa to their diets to fight high triglycerides and cholesterol. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Because it makes people feel fuller than wheat or rice, quinoa can be used in weight loss meal plans. It’s also a great food for gluten-free diets.
If you enjoy batch cooking, quinoa is an excellent choice. A large batch of quinoa can be prepared early in the week and used throughout many meals from breakfast to lunch, dinner and even snacks. In addition to holding well in the refrigerator, plain quinoa freezes beautifully. It also travels well making it an excellent ingredient for a picnic, potluck or on-the-go meal.
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I am a food photographer, educator, and recipe developer, sharing my passion for bringing flavor to life through stunning visuals.
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