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Quinoa Stir Fry

Quinoa Stir Fry

If you’ve never tasted quinoa (keen-wah), or aren’t in the loop about the awesome flavor and health benefits of this miracle grain/vegetable, let me start with a moment of education.

Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy and hearty texture, and almost a nutty flavor when cooked.  Although commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of plants in the “goosefoot” family, which includes spinach and chard. Quinoa has the highest protein content of any grain and is ideal for after a workout or anytime you are trying to eat healthy but get a lot of food and flavor for your caloric buck. (I definitely prefer it to brown rice.) And to me, the very best thing about quinoa is that it’s extremely easy and fast to cook (pretty much the same process as cooking rice), so it has become a staple in my kitchen.

After overdoing it at the incredible carbs-bonanza that is Thanksgiving, Dave and I have been logging some extra miles on the treadmill to ease the bloat. By this Saturday we were both feeling ravenous but still a bit guilty, so we decided to cook up a great little quinoa dish that left us full and happy, and not at all heavy — Quinoa Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry. Give it a try — it may easily become a part of your weekly repertoire.

Quinoa Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry
Makes 3-4 servings
Approx. 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus value
Cooking time: About 25 minutes

3/4 C quinoa, well-rinsed (I like Ancient Harvest but any brand will do)
1.5 C low-sodium chicken broth (you can use the package directions to cook the quinoa but I find this combination works great)
1 pinch salt
1 lb lean raw chicken breast, cut into strips
1 egg or 1/4 C liquid egg substitute
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (try two colors, like red and orange)
1 box frozen chopped broccoli
1 box frozen peas
1/4 C low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 TB sriracha sauce, divided
1/4 C scallion, chopped
1 TB sesame seeds, toasted
Cooking spray

1) In a small sauce pot, add the chicken broth, salt and quinoa, and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until all the broth is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. While this is simmering, cook the vegetables and chicken (directions in steps below). When the quinoa is done, there will be no liquid remaining and the grains will be soft but slightly “al dente” in texture. Uncover, fluff with a fork and turn off the heat. See more article here

2) To cook the rest of the dish, place a large nonstick skillet or fry pan over medium heat, and add cooking spray. Add the garlic and let it saute for about one minute. Once  it just begins to brown, add the chopped bell peppers, stirring to combine with the garlic and not letting the garlic burn. While this cooks, defrost the broccoli and peas in the microwave for about 4 minutes with a bit of water. Once these are thoroughly defrosted and drained, add into the same pan with the peppers along with half of the soy sauce and sriracha, and let everything cook together for another minute or two. Add the toasted sesame seeds, stir a bit more and turn the heat on low just to keep it warm.

Quinoa Stir Fry

Quinoa Stir Fry

3) In a separate nonstick pan over medium-high heat, use cooking spray and add the sliced chicken, along with the remainder of the soy sauce and sriracha. Cook until the chicken begins to brown and is no longer pink inside, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked chicken into the pan with the vegetables so you have one empty, warm pan where the chicken was cooking.

4) Place the cooked quinoa into the empty pan and slowly add the beaten egg or egg substitute, stirring to incorporate until everything is combined, about two minutes. Add the quinoa/egg mixture into the larger pan with the vegetables and chicken, along with the chopped scallion. Stir to combine and let everything cook together for another minute or two. Serve in bowls and enjoy!