Friday, January 18, 2013

Step 3 for a Healthier 2013 - Try a New Healthy Food + A Delicious New Recipe!

One of the best ways to create a healthier you in 2013 is to expand the number of fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts and herbs you eat in your regular diet.

In fact, I recommend that each of my patients try 1 new food every week or two!  

I have found through the years that many people eat a very limited number of foods on a regular basis.  Often this happens because we fall into a rut . . . or because our children, spouse or partner's a picky eater . . . or because we eat for convenience and comfort . . . or because we "think" we would not like something.

Even the pickiest eaters, when willing to try, can find many new, healthy and delicious new foods to add to their weekly shopping list.

When I wrote my cookbook, OMG! That's Allergy Free?, I devoted the entire first chapter to the top 30 foods that I find the most healthy, delicious and nutritious.  So I'm committed to finding or developing 30 new recipes to share with you to help you on your quest to create a healthier 2013!

To kick it off I chose to introduce a new recipe using quinoa.  Quinoa was voted the most nutrient dense new food in 2013, so when I found this recipe I had to share it!  It's so satisfying, and offers the flexibility to add any roasted veggies you like, so you can customize it to fit your personal tastes.  If you like zucchini and tomatoes, add those; if you like eggplant and red peppers, add those.  Be creative - you might even want to add a new veggie as well!

Because quinoa has a complete protein profile, this dish is really flexible.  You can serve it as a one dish meal, as a main dish with a fresh salad and your favorite wheat-free crusty bread, or as a side dish along side your favorite grilled fish or poultry.

Bon Appetit,

Dr. P

Quinoa is a nutritious seed that comes from the Andes region of South America. While it cooks like a grain, it is actually more nutritious than most grains because it is high in protein, iron, and calcium. Quinoa is also gluten-free.
For many years, the only quinoa I saw in stores was the traditional white quinoa. Recently, however, I am seeing red and black quinoa, as well. I made this salad with black quinoa, but you can use any variety that you like.
Quinoa seeds are naturally coated with a bitter substance that needs to be removed before cooking. You can easily accomplish this by putting your quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinsing thoroughly with warm water before cooking.
For this quinoa salad, you cook the quinoa just as you would cook brown rice- 1 cup quinoa to two cups water. Bring to a boil in a small pot on the stove, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until water is absorbed. Quinoa cooks fast, so this only takes about 15 minutes. When it is done cooking, turn the heat off but leave it covered for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
black quinoa salad
You don’t have to use grilled vegetables in this salad. If you like the idea of the zucchini and the eggplant but don’t feel like firing up the grill, you could roast them instead. Or you could use chopped tomatoes, cucumber, peppers…lots of combinations would work here, and they’d all be delicious.

black quinoa salad with grilled vegetables, basil, feta and pine nuts

Yield: serves 6-8 as a side dish
Use organic vegetables whenever possible.


For the salad:
*1 large zucchini
*1 large eggplant
*1 cup raw quinoa, cooked to equal approximately 4 cups cooked quinoa, and then cooled
*1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil
*approximately 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I like French feta made with sheep's milk)
*1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted for a minute or so in a hot skillet
Dressing Ingredients:
*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
*1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and minced
*1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
*1/2 teaspoon organic sugar or honey


1. Preheat your grill. Sliced the eggplant and zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in grill basket over high heat and grill until tender. Remove and allow to cool before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
2. Combine the chopped grilled vegetables with the cooked quinoa and the basil in a large bowl. Add most of the crumbled feta cheese. Mix well.
3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and then pour over the salad. Mix well and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
4. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and the rest of the feta. You can sprinkle a little more basil on top too, if desired.
black quinoa salad

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