High in anti-oxidants and essential amino acids, quinoa is also known to help with hypetension and migraine headaches!

Welcome to the April 2012 edition of Chef’s Corner, brought to you by our Executive Chef, Martin Smetana. Read on to discover the health benefits of quinoa as well as a tasty recipe for preparing it at home!

This refreshing recipe is great for any occasion.  Use the salad as an appetizer on a crostini, a starch for your entree, or just pack it in your lunch box!

2 cups water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
1 cup quinoa seeds
½ cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup chopped tomato
¼ cup chopped scallion
1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh Mint
½ cup Greek yogurt (optional)


  • Place the water, olive oil and salt into a small sauce pan and bring to boil.
  • Add quinoa seeds and stir well. When boiling, turn off heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 15 minutes, and then refrigerate to cool down.
  • Meanwhile, dice cucumber, tomato, red onion, and scallion, and place into a bowl.
  • Slice mint thinly and mix with Greek yogurt. Set aside.
  • When cooked quinoa cold, mix it in a bowl with chopped vegetables. Add yogurt and mix well.
  • Serve chilled and keep refrigerated until needed. Enjoy!!

There are many ways to use and prepare quinoa. Here are some tips for you:

  • Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge
  • Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups
  • Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes
  • Use quinoa flour to make a gluten free pasta

Here is a little more about Quinoa grains

  • Quinoa is gluten free! It is available in your local food stores throughout the year.
  • Quinoa is actually the seed of a plant that is related to beets, chard and spinach. These amino acid-rich seeds are not only very nutritious, but also very delicious
  • Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet slightly crunchy. They have a delicate, somewhat nutty flavor. While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black.

Health benefits

A recently rediscovered ancient “grain” native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Help for Migraine Headaches

If you are prone to migraines, try adding quinoa to your diet. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers. Quinoa is also a good source of riboflavin, which is necessary for proper energy production within cells.

Cardiovascular Health

Quinoa is a very good source of magnesium, the mineral that relaxes blood vessels. Since low dietary levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias, this ancient grain can offer yet another way to provide cardiovascular health for those concerned about atherosclerosis.

Antioxidant Protection

Quinoa is a very good source of manganese, a mineral that serve as a cofactor for the superoxide dismutase enzyme. Superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant that helps to protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage created during energy production as well as guard other cells, such as red blood cells, from injury caused by free radicals.

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