Recently, for health reasons, I have started cutting out meat in my diet. This is a big deal for me and somewhat sacrilegious having been born and raised in Texas. I tend to think it’s not a meal if there’s no meat. But I am choosing a new path and am now on the lookout for protein-filled, meat substitutes. My first find—quinoa.
For some reason I have always shied away from this mysterious grain, mainly because I was not sure how to pronounce it. Is it KWIN-WAH or KWIN-O-A? More research concluded that it’s pronounced KEEN-WAH. Why is KEEN-WAH such a good meat substitue?
- Nutritional Value: Quinoa is packed with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and something called Riboflavin (B2), which produces energy for metabolism. It’s an all around healthy, appetite-filling meat substitute.
- Easy to Make: It only takes fifteen minutes to make quinoa. The preparation is similar to rice, with the ratio of quinoa to water being one to two. Put both in a pan, bring to a boil, and let simmer (covered) until fluffy. I often prepare a big batch on Sunday and mix it with different ingredients throughout the week.
- Varied Recipe Options: Quinoa is versatile and can be made for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can mix it with fruit, walnuts, and brown sugar. You can add it to a salad for lunch, with tomatoes, avocado, spinach, feta, lemon juice, and olive oil. For dinner, you can trim off the top of a bell pepper, take out the core, and fill it with a mixture quinoa, a can of diced tomatoes, black beans, and cheese. Then bake it in the oven for thirty minutes at 350 degrees and you have quinoa stuffed bell peppers. These are a few of many options for quinoa recipes.
With so many ways to include quinoa in your diet, beware not to overload and get tired of it. You have many options for meat substitutions including lentils, any type of bean, and tofu. Yes tofu. Don’t be scared, it absorbs the flavor of whatever you cook it with and can be mashed up so that you don’t even know it’s part of the meal.
I’m always looking for more meat substitute recipes. Do you have any tips for meatless, protein-packed recipes? Send them my way.