Simple And Healthy Meals For Young Professionals

Searching for fresh, healthy and simple meals for the busy work week?  As a young professional, I find it a weekly challenge to cook. I am always on the search for new recipes to keep variety and convenience in my daily meals.

QuinoaLately, I’ve been on a quinoa kick. I’ve been making a batch at the beginning of each week and using the ancient grain in a different way each day. Top with salsa, sautéed veggies, beans or nuts and you have a satisfying meal. I’ve also been topping my salad greens with quinoa to add a nutritious punch to carry me through an afternoon at the office and an evening workout.

Not only is quinoa easy to make, but it is also packed full of nutrients. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids that are the body’s building blocks for muscle. It also contains magnesium which helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and other minerals, such as manganese, that act as antioxidants to help vend off cancer causing free radicals. Referred to as a “mother grain” and grown in the high Andes, quinoa was considered a sacred grain in the Inca tradition (source: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/quinoa-march-grain-of-the-month). It has certainly made a comeback in recent years and is used in a wide range of products, from beverages to baked goods.

On top of all these benefits, quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option for those who have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance.  What I like most about quinoa is its versatility; it can be used in so many recipes! Below are a few ideas to get you started.

Black Quinoa Asian Slaw

INGREDIENTS
For the slaw:

  • Black Quinoa Asian Slaw8 ounces black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup snap peas, bias cut
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup scallions, bias cut
  • 1 mango, diced small
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Sesame seeds, toasted, to garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse black quinoa under cold water until water runs clear.  Place black quinoa in boiling water and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl combine orange juice, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha sauce.  Slowly whisk in sesame oil to create an emulsion.  Set aside to incorporate flavors in dressing.
  3. In a large bowl combine black quinoa, red cabbage, snap peas, carrots, scallions, mango, and cilantro.
  4. Fold in dressing and let chill in fridge. When ready to serve, garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Quinoa-Spinach Bake

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive-oil cooking spray
  • Breadcrumbs, for baking dish (Udi’s Whole Grain Bread)
  • 1 pound spinach leaves, picked and washed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked quinoa), made according to package directions
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with olive-oil spray. Coat with breadcrumbs and set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice and water, set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add spinach, blanch until bright green for about 10 seconds. Transfer to ice bath. When spinach is cold remove it from ice bath. Squeeze out all water  and finely chop,set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes, and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a medium bowl.
  4. Add spinach, quinoa, cottage cheese, pepper, and eggs to the onion mixture and stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and place in the oven. Bake until set and edges are brown for 60 to 70 minutes. Slice, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Quinoa “Oatmeal” Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • Quinoa Cookies6 tablespoons dairy free/ soy free margarine (may substitute with butter)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soft silken tofu (may substitute with 1 egg)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. gluten free vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Arzu Original Flavor
  • 1/2 cup raisins (may substitute with dried cranberries)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream margarine, brown sugar and tofu (or egg).
  3. Add quinoa flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute on high. Add vanilla and Arzu. Mix well. Add raisins and gently mix in.
  4. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Cool before storing in air tight container.

Do you have any fabulous quinoa recipes to share? Would you try any of the recipes above?

2 Responses to “Simple And Healthy Meals For Young Professionals”

  1. Deb A. says:

    What would be a good “Arzu” substitute? I don’t remember seeing it at all around where I live and prefer not to have to order online. I’d love to make the cookies. Then again I love recipes that actually *don’t* call for a ton of sugar. Kinda windin’ down on using that as much as possible. :)

  2. Rosemary Wilcher says:

    The Spinach Bake casserole dish sounds like it would be delicious! But getting
    those ingredients sounds like it could be a problem!

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