Graziella Baratta Ventura
Quinoa Bowls Made Easy
Quinoa bowls have become quite the trendy meal lately, and for good reason. The base of quinoa makes for a good source of plant- based protein that is naturally gluten- free and high in fiber. It also provides a great canvas for a wide array of ingredients and flavors. They're an excellent pack-able lunch that's healthy and easy to prepare. Heck, even an easy dinner! Here I’ve created a Greek- style bowl with some traditional ingredients like humus, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and parsley, but the possibilities are endless. I'm going to break down the quinoa bowl into a few easy steps that will make your lunch or dinner meal- prep super easy, and yummy!
1) Always rinse your quinoa in cool water very well, and allow the water to run clear before cooking. If you can, soak the quinoa prior to rinsing as well for a few hours. This gets rid of the sometimes bitter taste quinoa can have from lectins (gut- irritating, anti-nutrients).
2) The best quinoa bowls are layered with flavors, starting right from the quinoa.. so you'll want to cook your quinoa with some flavor such as chicken or vegetable broth, a dash of garlic powder and olive oil. Cook according to package directions with all liquids and seasoning you decide to use.
3) Variety is the spice of your bowl! Include several different ingredient components such as creamy (here I used humus), crispy (cucumbers), savory/umami (onion, garlic, soy sauce), fresh (herbs and other fresh produce).
4) Include a protein star, like here I used the humus, or you can use any kind of beans, even peas if you're staying plant- based, or of course some grilled chicken, salmon or sliced beef. Canned wild salmon also works really well too.
5) The best ways to pack the bowls to- go are to add a moderate amount of quinoa to your container of choice, but leave ample room for the toppings. Then layer anything that is of similar texture to the quinoa on top, but pack crispy and creamy toppings separately in ziplock bags or to- go ramekins (like restaurants use).
6) Use your palms as what I like to call "portion-izers," giving you the appropriate "serving sizes" customized just for YOU!
QUINOA BOWL FLAVOR IDEAS:
Greek: humus, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and dill.
Italian: grilled eggplant, cannellini beans, tomato sauce, basil, roasted garlic, grated pecorino
Asian: grilled chicken, Jicama, shredded cabbage and carrots, black sesame seeds, tamari/ginger/ sesame dressing
Mexican: guacamole, grilled steak strips, black beans, sweet corn, salsa, cilantro and tomato
International: pumpkin seeds, carrots, peas, chick peas, shredded red cabbage, fresh spinach, tahini & honey vinaigrette.
oil & vinegar
any fresh produce
As you can hopefully see by some of these suggestions, the possibilities are endless! I hope you enjoy making your quinoa bowls, and please share your creations with me!