Quinoa with Calamari Salad

Quinoa is one of my favorite “grains” to eat! You can make savory and sweet dishes using quinoa. This seed is less starchy
than rice or wheat, which makes it a great choice for people watching the quality/quantity of carbs they eat. It is an excellent source of plant-based protein as well as gut-friendly dietary fiber.

One of the most important steps when cooking quinoa is to rinse it under cold water. This step is essential to get rid of the compound ‘saponins’ which actually protects the seeds from natural predators but has an unpleasant bitter flavor.

There are various types of quinoa such as red, black, white or golden. They all have similar nutritional profiles, however, the black and red variety seem to have higher levels of flavonoids or antioxidants than their white or golden counterparts.

Here is an easy, delicious and nutritious quinoa with calamari recipe, perfect for the summer!

Ingredients     (Yield: 6-8 Servings)

•           2 cups of quinoa, rinsed under cold water

•           3 cups of vegetable broth OR water

•           1 lb. Calamari (tubes and tentacles) cleaned and tubes cut into slices

•           2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

•           1 12 oz. can, artichoke hearts, cut in halves (discard the liquid)

•           3 garlic cloves, minced

•           2 Tbsp. olive oil (1 + 1)

•           6-8 large fresh basil leaves, washed and roughly chopped

•           1 bay leaf

•           Salt and pepper

Step 1

In a medium saucepan, combine vegetable broth or water, bay leaf and rinsed quinoa. Bring to a boil with lid on. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let it rest.

 Step 2

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat

Step 3

When the skillet is really hot, add 1 tbsp. of oil (make sure oil coats the bottom of the pan) and immediately after add the calamari on a single layer. Cook for 1 ½ minute. Remove from heat and place on a shallow plate, previously placed on top of ice cubes. This will stop the cooking process.

Step 4

In the same skillet you cooked the calamari and over medium-heat, add the remaining oil. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds stirring with a wooden spoon.

Step 5

Increase the heat to medium-high; add tomatoes and artichokes. Cook for about 2 minutes or until tomatoes start to render their juice.

Step 6

Add cooked quinoa and season with a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Cook for about 2 extra minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 7

Mix in reserved calamari and chopped basil. Serve immediately.

Suellen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in the Rochester, NY area.  Connect with her at suellenpinedaRDN@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @Suelle

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