Thursday, November 5, 2009

Close encounter of the protein type

One of the first questions that I get when people know that I’m a vegetarian is: “So, where do you get your protein from?!?!” (Don’t forget to read it with surprise and a little bit of panic). At the beginning of the process I was as panicked as them and I really didn’t know what to say. My first answer was: “Cheese!” (Like if I was smiling big time for a picture LOL). At that point I knew that I would have to do something about it not only to have a good answer but for having good health. I started reading and finding out that there were plenty of ways to get protein in a vegetarian and delicious way.

I’ve been eating a lot of legumes and nuts like lentils, beans, almonds, walnuts and peanut butter. But this week I decided that it was time to go further and start experimenting with totally new ingredients. So after hearing a lot about this pseudocereal I decided it was time to finally welcome quinoa to my diet. Quinoa’s nutritional value is so rich and special that even the NASA and the UN are including it in their projects under the label of “super food” and “super crop”. It has more protein than any other grain (between 12% to 18% compared with 7.5% for rice) and contains a balanced set of essential amino acids.

I got it from my regular market and found it in an organic version which made it even more attractive. Since this was my first close encounter with this pseudocereal I decided to go with a really easy recipe and cook it just like rice. Instead of the recommended amount of water, to give it a little bit more flavour I decided to put half water and half organic vegetable stock. I like to mix as many vegetables as possible to try to get as many nutrients as I can so while cooking it I added some chunky home made salsa roja (with onions and chiles) and some corn. Thirty minutes later I had a delicious and really healthy meal. It looked pretty much like couscous but with super powers!

The flavour is so similar to rice while the texture is a funny and almost unbelievable combination between soft and crisp. Definitely a versatile main dish that will become a favourite in my food repertoire.

It’s funny to think that only because you decided to eat in a different way to the majority of people you should put more attention to what you eat. The truth is that everyone should do the same. Not because you eat meat means that your health is in good shape. Usually meat eaters consume very little vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds making it a less balanced diet. So be adventurous and try this “super food”. I can’t guarantee you’ll get "super powers" but at least you’ll feel suuuper good!


  1. Hola Dulce, me encantó esta entrada. Seguro que este alimento lo voy a incorporar en la alimentación de mi familia. Gracias por compartir tus conocimientos de nutrición. Un beso. Ale VG

  2. Yo le doy a V quinoa todo el tiempo. Una amiga me recomedo que despues de cocerlo lo pongas en un sarten con un poquito de aceite para darle un poquito de crunch. Y luego le agregas lo que quieras! Sabe rico con sweet potato y esparragos. Besos