Balanced Living

A Quick Quinoa Salad

Posted by Arja on July 16 in Salads

This summer has been a hot one so far and it’s hard to keep up your motivation to cook something when you’ve been cooked yourself during the day.  Ice cream may seem like the only thing you want to eat for dinner, but even if the heat is killing your appetite it’s important to still eat balanced meals in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Your meals don’t have to be big and heavy, or even warm for that matter!  So, how do you pull together a meal on a scorching summer night?  Stick with simple ingredients that will refresh and satisfy you.  Don’t always feel like you need to cook either!  Why not have a picnic that includes bean dips, grilled pita wedges, chopped veg, olives, smoked fish, nuts, or other items that don’t need to be cooked?

If you want something a bit more, then whip up a satisfying grain salad like this quinoa and mango salad that can be eaten warm, cool, or at room temperature!  Here’s why it’s not only tasty but also very good for you:

Quinoa – Commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to swiss chard, spinach and beets.  It is wheat and gluten-free, and very hypoallergenic.  Quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium and a great protein source.  It contains all of the essential amino acids making is a great addition to any meat-free meal.

Black Beans – These common beans are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fibre, and are also a very good source of folic acid.  High in antioxidants, B vitamins, and magnesium they contribute to good cardiovascular health and disease prevention.

Cilantro – Cilantro is the more common name for the fresh leaves of the coriander plant.  Though its most powerful essential oils are actually found in the seed, cilantro has antianxiety actions, antimicrobial properties, and some anti-inflammatory properties.

Flax Oil – Flaxseed oil is made from flaxseeds and should be cold-pressed, and stored in the refrigerator in opaque bottles.  It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and one of the most abundant sources of plant lignans.  Plant lignans can bind to estrogen receptors and increase sex-hormone-binding-globulin, both important factors in regulating estrogen levels and decreasing the risk of estrogen dominant cancers.

Bell Peppers – Very low in calories but high in nutrients like vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, and vitamin B6, these juicy, sweet vegetables are a mainstay in salads and on veggie platters.  Bell peppers support good cardiovascular health and have a preventative effect against heart attacks.  Red peppers, due to their lycopene content, can offer protection against heart disease and cancer.

Eat up!!

Mango Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 14oz can black beans
1 medium mango, diced (or 1 cup frozen, defrosted and chopped)
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp flax oil or extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper

Step 1 – place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add all chopped and sliced ingredients.

Step 2 – in a small bowl combine vinegar, oil, and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth and pour on salad.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Tastes even better after sitting, so make sure you take some for lunch the next day!

Consider eating this alone as a meatless meal, or use it as a side dish for grilled meat or fish.  Either way, it’s healthy and satisfying!

arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.