A few years ago, my oldest daughter and her step mom decided to go vegan. She was 16 and perfectly capable of making her own decision.
My only concern was that she got enough iron and protein, because she was prone to anemia and she was working out al lot, P90-X and all that jazz.
So to appease me, she did a thorough search of what foods would give her enough protein to replace meat and began incorporating them into her diet - with the help of her step mom.
*for the record, I loved her step-mom and was really sad for my kids when she filed for divorce - although not really surprised,*
One of the foods my daughter started raving about was Quinoa.
It has 6 grams of protein per serving, with all 9 amino acids, so its considered a 'complete' protein. Plant based proteins are actually easier for our bodies to absorb than meat based proteins. And it has 12% the daily recommended amount of iron.
It comes from Bolivia. They call it 'The Mother Grain'. It's naturally gluten free and the brand I've found in organic and non-GMO.
She brought me recipes with really weird ingredients and got a little pushy about it.
The trouble was, I couldn't find quinoa in my grocery store. And I wasn't about to drive 30 miles to the nearest Trader Joe's or Whole Foods just for one silly grain.
Well it took a couple years but my grocery store caught up with the trend and by that time I was good at incorporating vegetarian meals into our weekly menu, so I bought some.
I also forgot how to pronounce it and for 3 days, my daughter didn't know what I was talking about.
*She got to laugh at me for a change*
When I finally decided to make it, I just followed the directions on the box, which was like making rice; 2:1 water:grain ratio.
Added a little salt and served it. The grain was slightly translucent - or at least more so than when it started and the germ had curled around the outside.
According to the box, that meant it was done.
It tasted like bird seed.
No one would eat it.
Then I looked up a recipe or 12 and noticed, hot or cold, quinoa is always added to food that has a lot of flavor....Ahhhhh *light bulb moment*
So in my fridge, I had a big old bowl of quinoa and a half a bowl of The Renaissance Man's pico de gallo from Taco Tuesday,
*but I had no tortilla chips because the kids ate them all*.
So I dumped the pico in with the quinoa and mixed it up.
It was a hit!
*and it didn't taste like bird seed, anymore*
Everyone loved it except my oldest, who wouldn't even try it because his sister promoted it.
*gotta love sibling rivalry*
I've since tried other varieties; different herbs and vegetables but this pico mix is our favorite.
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 jalapenos diced
- 3 medium slicing tomatoes diced
- handful of fresh cilantro chopped
- lime juice
- salt to taste.
Directions: Cook quinoa according to directions. Let Cool. Mix diced vegetables with chopped cilantro. Add a few splashes of lime juice (1- 2 tablespoons maybe) and salt to taste. Mix well and let sit in refrigerator. When the quinoa is cool add to the pico de gallo and mix.