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Well and Good: Low-Calorie Quinoa

When the weather turns crisp and we finally have to get out our boots and sweaters, it’s natural to start longing for hearty soups to help keep us warm.

It’s a good idea. Not only is soup a comforting and warming food, it is a great thing to eat if you are trying to lose weight.  It is hot so you have to eat it slowly and if you fill it full of veggies you will not be skimping on your vitamins.  Especially if you have added the grain quinoa (pronounced kee-wa).

This grain was a staple in the Incan diet.  Quinoa has a wonderful balance of the amino acids cysteine, methionine and lysine, a critical amino acid missing in the common grains like  corn, rice and wheat.  It is also high in protein, and contains vitamin C and thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and B-6.

It is a fast-cooking grain but needs to be rinsed well first to make sure its protective covering of saponin is removed.  A 5-minute soak followed by a good rinse should take care of it.

One of my favorite ways to cook auinoa in the winter is to make a stew.  The following recipe is made in a crock pot and needs just 15-20 minutes of prep time.  Done in the morning and left all day to simmer and cook, it is ready after a busy day of work or play. Enjoy!

Organic Quinoa Stew
6-8 servings

2 cup organic quinoa
8 cup water
1 large organic onion, chopped
3 medium organic potatoes, cubed
2 stalks organic celery, chopped
2 organic tomatoes, chopped or 1 (16 oz) can organic diced tomatoes
1 1/3 cups organic corn kernels
1 (16 oz) can organic black beans
6 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 tsp dried chipotle flakes
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
1 Tbs ground cumin
Sea salt, to taste

Soak quinoa in water for at least five minutes. Rinse and drain.

Place all ingredients in a crock pot turned on low and let cook all day.  Just add a salad and hearty roll and you are ready for your feast.