Quinoa is a fascinating food. It has a really weird name, a texture like no other and can be flavored to taste like just about anything. It’s one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and it contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, meaning it provides the body with all 9 essential amino acids. It’s also a gluten free, complex carbohydrate that has a low glycemic index that won’t spike your blood sugar. Sounds pretty amazing, right!? 

I think a lot of people shy away from cooking with quinoa simply because they don’t know how to prepare it…at least that’s why I did for so long. I assumed since it had such a peculiar name and was so expensive at the grocery store that it had to be somewhat difficult to make. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I was surprised, and a little irritated at myself for not investigating sooner, that the most common way to prepare it is basically the same way you would prepare rice. Go figure. 

So for those of you who are ready to give Quinoa a try, here are some basic tips on how to prepare it:

How to Cook Quinoa

I had my heart set on making a quinoa dish that I could eat all week. I wanted it to have a kick, but also be light and refreshing since the weather is going to be pretty sunny and warm (yay!). I came across a recipe online that looked to be just that, Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa. In my usual fashion, I changed up the spice combination a little so I could cater to my own tastes, but overall, I stayed pretty true to the original

Blackened Seasoning
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 T paprika
  2. 2 T garlic powder
  3. 1 T black pepper
  4. 1 T onion powder
  5. 1 T dried oregano
  6. 1 T dried thyme
  7. 1 T salt
  8. 1/2 T cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all spices well and store in an air tight container
Adapted from Sarcastic Cooking
Adapted from Sarcastic Cooking
Live Fit. Love Food. http://livefitlovefood.com/
Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa
Serves 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 8 oz. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  2. 2 - 4 T Blackened Seasoning
  3. 1 T Olive or Coconut Oil
  4. 1 c Quinoa (measured dry)
  5. 2 cups Fat Free, Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  6. 1 bunch Cilantro
  7. 1 Lime, zested and juiced
  8. 1/4 t Cumin
Instructions
  1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken breasts. Trim the breasts of any fat if needed. Lightly coat the chicken with oil, then generously sprinkle the blackened seasoning on both sides of the chicken. Place the chicken on the hot grill until cooked through about 20 minutes, turning only once about 10 - 12 minutes in.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa, once cooked, add in the chopped cilantro, cumin, lime zest and lime juice. Fluff to incorporate and serve.
Notes
  1. Serving Size for Chikcen = 4 oz.
  2. Serving Size for Quinoa = 1/4 cup
  3. Dice up the remaining chicken breasts and toss in with the leftover quinoa for a light, refreshing, hot or cold lunch the next day!
Adapted from Sarcastic Cooking
Adapted from Sarcastic Cooking
Live Fit. Love Food. http://livefitlovefood.com/
I served up some super simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with this dish. I was even tempted to use the blackened seasoning on the sprouts too, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the hubby with my intense love of all things spicy. I have to draw the line somewhere, but if it were up to me, everything would have a nice kick to it. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 c Brussels Sprouts
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Trim the sprouts and discard any yellow or brownish looking leaves. Cut each head in half or in quarters if you like, then lightly coat with oil, salt and pepper. Spread the sprouts out on a sheet pan and roast, turning about half way through, until the sprouts are just tender.
Live Fit. Love Food. http://livefitlovefood.com/
If you haven’t had the opportunity to give quinoa a try, this recipe gives you a super simple and very flavorful way to introduce this unique superfood into your diet. 

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