One of the most common questions that people seem to ask vegans/clean-eaters is ‘how do you get protein?’. It is a common misconception that we can only get protein from meat or fish- there is actually a great deal of protein in non-meat foods.
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. Known as the ‘mother grain’, it has better quality of protein than meat. Quinoa is actually technically a fruit; it is rather unique, containing more protein than a grain, and more essential fat than fruit. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals providing almost four times as much calcium as wheat, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E. Iron is often deficient in non-meat eaters, giving us another reason to consume more quinoa.
Healthy-eating gurus often advise to ‘eat the rainbow’. This means picking one daily serving of fruit and vegetables from each of the four colour groups – red, orange/yellow, green, and purple/blue.
Many of the naturally occurring chemicals (phytochemicals) responsible for giving fruit and veg their colours can help keep us healthy and free from disease. Research shows that phytochemicals of various colours offer different health benefits, hence we are encourage to eat of a range colourful fruit and veg to increase our intake of different phytochemicals.
So, I have devised a quinoa salad that contains a rainbow of vegetables with different coloured phytochemicals.
N.B Quinoa can keep for about 3 days in the fridge so this can be made in advance. I make this at the beginning of the week and then have it for lunch for a few days.
4 cups water and vegetable stock
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup raw peanuts
2 shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatos
2 diced cucumber
1/2 cup soya beans
For the dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, puréed (optional)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons mustard
1. Bring water to a boil in saucepan and add vegetable stock. Add quinoa and bring back to boil. Then simmer for 20mins or until fluffy
2. Drain and cool for at least 10 mins
3. Add chopped vegetables, peanuts, mint, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, make dressing by whisking together lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, balsamic and olive oil.
5. Dress quinoa just before serving.