Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meatless Protein

Sometimes you just don't feel like cooking or eating meat so you look to other foods that will give you the protein that you need.  Beans and grains are good sources for that.  I love beans in almost every form.  Also, a great little grain that cooks so quickly and simply is a complete protein.  It contains fiber, calcium, iron and amino acids.  Now what more could you ask?  You can cook this and serve it in so many different ways and not even mess up your stove!

So, the other night, I decided to cook up a couple cups of red quinoa and you know it puffed up and made quite a bit....more than two people could eat in one meal or even two.  I took the leftover and put it in the refrigerator.  The next night I just wanted a nice crisp salad but also wanted to use the quinoa because I really like the taste and consistency of the quinoa and it had a nice color.

Here's what I did...

I started with 1 can of black beans, to it I added 2 cups frozen corn, (still frozen); to that I added 1/2 cup of finely diced red onion.  I stirred this up.  Then I cut up an avocado into little chunks and added that to the veggie mixture.  I added a small amount---maybe a 1/4 cup of homemade dressing that I had in the refrigerator.  I folded this together very carefully so as not to mash the avocado.

Now, I took the qunioa and tossed it with a small amount of olive oil, zest of one lime and a dash of salt and pepper.  At this point you can add some chopped cilantro or parsley whichever you like the best.  You can also add small grape or cherry tomatoes or any other veggies you enjoy to add some crunch or color.

The final product ended up with a nice bed of spring greens as the foundation of the dish, adding a half cup of red quinoa next and topping off the dish with the bean and veggie mixture. 

This was such a beautiful and colorful fresh salad loaded with protein from the beans and the quinoa with no fat!