Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: We (Heart) Quinoa!

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We've heard that variety is the spice of life. But here at Whole Living, we just can't kick our love affair with our one perfect grain: quinoa. And why should we? Originally cultivated in the Peruvian Andes and considered sacred by the Incas, it's chock full of protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron. Because of its nutritional kick, NASA cited it as an ideal food for long-term human space missions, and the UN recently declared 2013 the international year of quinoa. It also happens to be gluten-free, a requirement of our Lunch Bunch meals. We know there are other grains out there; farro, millet, and spelt, we're coming, we promise. But for now, we enjoyed one more meal with our first whole grain love—two quinoa-based dishes, a salad with greens fresh from a backyard garden in New Jersey, and a sweet treat for dessert.

Quinoa and Corn Salad (adapted from this recipe)


For the dressing:

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. chili powder

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

For the salad:

3 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained

3 small ears frozen corn on the cob

2 medium red bell peppers, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 large cucumbers, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

6 scallions, thinly sliced

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 large ripe avocados

1Ž4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Let cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan to medium-high. Grill the frozen ears of corn until defrosted, turning frequently.  When corn is no longer frozen, remove from pan and let cool.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Set aside.

4. Place the bell peppers, cucumbers, scallions, jalapenos, and tomatoes in a large bowl. When corn has cooled, cut kernels from the cob, and add to the bowl. Add the cooled quinoa, and mix in the dressing thoroughly.  Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

5. Before serving, cut the avocado into large chunks, and mix into the salad. Use cilantro and lime for garnish.

Basil-Walnut Pesto with Quinoa

For the quinoa:

3 cups quinoa, rinsed

Coarse salt

For the pesto:

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, halved

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup raw walnuts

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring the quinoa and 6 cups well-salted water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until water is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Purée ingredients in a food processor or blender. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir pesto into quinoa. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and adjust seasoning.

Arugula and Strawberry Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

12 oz arugula

1 quart strawberries, reserve 2 unsliced for dressing

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp poppy seed

6 oz feta cheese

1 cup  walnuts (candied)

Mix arugula with sliced strawberries, topping with feta and walnuts.  Blend sugar, salt, vinegar, olive oil, and 2 whole strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds.  Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

One cup creamy peanut butter

One cup white sugar

One teaspoon baking powder

One egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl.

3. Beat in the baking powder. Add the egg. Mix until it is all well combined.

4. The dough will be sticky, so be prepared to get your hands messy. Roll some dough into a ball. Roll the ball into white sugar. Line a baking sheet, covered in par

chment paper, with sugary balls of dough.

5.  Bake in the oven for about ten minutes. You will know the cookies are done when they feel coherent, but still a little soft. Take the tray out of the oven and let the cookies rest for at least five minutes. Afterwards, carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. After ten minutes or so, they will have hardened and be glistening with sugar.

Makes 10 to 12 cookies.

Photography by Jillian Guyette

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