Tuesday, September 4, 2012

my go-to lunch

I am always looking for that delicious yet filling lunch and so far this one has been my favorite. I try to stay away from heavy sandwiches and wraps for lunch so I am typically stuck with salads. I can't complain because being a lover of anything green, salads are a great option. This salad I especially love because it is full of protein packed ingredients. 

One of my favorite ingredients in this recipe is quinoa. If I am going make quinoa for dinner one night then I will typically make an extra cup to throw on my salad or in a cup of soup that week. Quinoa is full of protein and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It has been shown to boost energy, help fight migraines as well as improve vision. Quinoa actually contains twice the protein in rice with all nine essential amino acids so it is considered a complete protein. It's also a great source of fiber with 5.2 grams per cup. It looks like a typical grain but it is actually a seed so it is also gluten free! If thats not enough to convince you, it is delicious and very quick to cook. You can find quinoa at most grocery stores in the bulk section or with the rice and grains. 

California Chipotle Chopped Salad
Adapted from Fitness Magazine
Serves 4

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 teaspoon chile powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
5 oz spinach
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/4 red onion (or vidalia, scallions, whatever you have)
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. To make vinaigrette: Combine 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, agave nectar and lime juice.
2. This step is optional, I think the salad is fine without flavoring the black beans but if you have time it does add a nice kick. To give your black beans that extra flavor, heat remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Saute black beans, garlic, chile powder and salt for 5 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, quinoa, black bean mixture and cilantro. Toss gently with vinaigrette to coat. 

source: power foods

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