About seven years ago before this quinoa craze took off, I discovered it while going through my complete diet and lifestyle overhaul. I was looking for something that I could actually eat (because at that point in time, even a glass of water threw my stomach into a downward spiral of stabby-death pains.) I needed something gentle that packed a big punch. I could pretty much only eat yogurt and knew I needed to get some protein in me to keep me healthy….enter into my life, our beloved quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). The delightful, kind-of-grain from the Incas.
- 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
- 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
- 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
- 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
- 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
- A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
- 20 percent of daily value of folate (I ate it a lot when I was pregnant with Grant!)
Quinoa also contains all eight essential amino acids, the building block for protein!
(source: mother nature network – mnn.com)
So, there is your daily lesson on quinoa. Another good tidbit to know if you have never cooked with it, without flavor, it tastes kind of boring. Like nothing really, maybe a little nutty or slightly earthy-ish, but not really like anything. So it takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking with very well.
Well, I have had my eye on this little doozy for a while. Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Broccoli! (from AroundTheTableRI) So. GOOD. and EASY!
Here are some tips and recipe adjustments I made:
- The original recipe called for almond milk, but I don’t like cooking with almond milk (as I have stated before, too nutty of flavor for my liking) and so I substituted with rice milk. Still kept the fat content way down if that is something concerning to you. And since quinoa is so absorbent, I didn’t have to worry about this dish being runny (like I do my mac and cheese). It just soaked up all of the extra milk/cheese goodness and made it amazingly flavorful. It was really cheesy and creamy and the eggs helped make it a nice consistency (and not nearly as messy as eating regular quinoa!)
- I used sharp cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The mozzarella gave it a nice gooey-ness, the cheddar and parm gave it a sharp cheese flavor.
- I would double the amount of broccoli only because I love anything broccoli
- Panko. ‘Nuff said
- I doubled the recipe and we ate it as a main dish. Later on in the week I reheated it with additional cheese on top and served it as a side
- Guessing by the level of enthusiasm as this was literally shoved in mouths (some with hands, some with forks), it was a hit with both boys
- I also mixed it in with some marinara later, later in the week only for Brody to shovel in his mouth…with equal gusto as day one (good way to get even more vegetables in his little belly)