Quinoa, a whole grain, is a "complete protein" because it contains all eight amino acids essential to optimal human health. Tossed with lentils, fresh spinach, red bell pepper and Mandarin orange segments, then splashed with vinaigrette made with monounsaturated olive oil, this colorful side dish is low in sodium and saturated fat and high in fiber—and flavor.
3 T. sherry vinegar
2 T. water
2 T. Dijon mustard
4 t. honey
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
½ c. dry quinoa
1 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1 can (15 oz.) lentils, rinsed, drained
¼ c. diced red bell pepper
½ c. torn fresh spinach leaves
1/3 c. diced jicama
2 T. chopped scallion, white and green parts
2 T. diced seeded jalapeño chile
1 T. chopped fresh mint
1 can (11 oz.) Mandarin orange segments, rinsed
- In a bowl or vinaigrette shaker, add the vinegar, water, Dijon, honey and olive oil. Stir (or shake) and set aside.
- In a saucepan, add the quinoa and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. (The quinoa is cooked properly when all the liquid is absorbed and the grains are light and fluffy.) Set aside and let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, add the quinoa, lentils, bell pepper, spinach, jicama, scallion, jalapeño and mint. Toss. Stir or shake the vinaigrette and pour over the quinoa salad; toss to coat all ingredients. Add the Mandarin orange segments and toss lightly. Chill for 1 hour and serve cold.
123 calories; 4 g. protein; 4 g. fat (1 g. saturated fat); 18 g. carbohydrates; 3 g. fiber; 0 mg. cholesterol; 117 mg. sodium
Recipe developed by Renee Zonka, RD, CEC, CHE, dean, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, Chicago.