All hail the quinoa!

Hello, hello!  Excited to share this recipe with you today because the flavors are a bit different than those in previous recipes.  Again, its a really satisfying dish, and fits nicely into a vegetarian (or in our case a ‘Weekday Vegetarian’) lifestyle.  Of course, we’ll be using my trusty Instant Pot® (IP) again!  Hope you enjoy!

*Instant Pot Veggie Fried Quinoa
Serves 4-6

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Ingredients

6-7 ounces extra firm tofu
1 cup dry quinoa (this will make ~3 1/2 cups cooked) (I used tri-color quinoa in the picture above, but there are 120 varieties of quinoa out there!)

12 fluid ounces water* OR vegetable broth
(*if water is used, then you’ll also need a pinch of salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 large eggs beaten
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 teaspoon miso paste
3 tablespoons tamari (this is a sauce very similar to soy sauce)
Optional ‘toppings’: Additional tamari, crushed red pepper, chopped green onions

Instructions

  1. Remove tofu from packaging and place block in between paper/regular towels.  Place the tofu/towels to the side, we’ll get back to that later. (The point of doing this is to try to remove as much moisture as possible).
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer for a few minutes and place the quinoa, water (and salt) or broth into the IP.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the IP and set to cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
  4. When the cooking time is over, allow the IP to naturally release.
  5. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
  6. Remove quinoa from the IP and rinse out the IP pot.
  7. Remove the tofu from the paper/regular towels and cut the tofu into cubes.
  8. Put the IP pot back into place. Set IP to Sauté.
  9. Add olive oil and heat for 1 minute
  10. Add in onion and sauté for 4 minutes.
  11. Add in carrot and sauté for another 4 minutes.
  12. Add in garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
  13. Add in sesame oil, and then the beaten eggs.  Stir until eggs are firm/scrambled into the mixture.
  14. Add in the tofu and peas and only mix to incorporate.
  15. Add in the quinoa.
  16. Mix the miso paste into the tamari.  Add this mixture into the IP pot. Mix to incorporate.
  17. When serving, an extra splash of tamari and/or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper can both be delicious.

Yet again, we have a really hearty, standalone dish that really doesn’t need much more to round it out.  That being said, it would be nice to have a quick salad on the side, or, in the case of what my children enjoy, some grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas.

Let’s get to our Nutrition Highlight.  Today, we’ll talk about. . .

QUINOA

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Firstly – and perhaps most shockingly – did you know that quinoa is NOT a grain?!  Crazy, right?!  Turns out it’s a seed, and it’s actually related to beets, spinach and swiss chard. Quinoa is known as a ‘pseudo-cereal’ which means it is prepared and eaten like other grains, but is not actually a cereal grain. Another cool nutrition fact is it is one of the very few plants that provides us with all 9 essential amino acids.  We refer to a protein source like this as a ‘complete protein.’  We typically see this kind of complete amino acid profile in animal products, but not so much in plants.

Quinoa contains:

Antioxidants: protect cells from damaging molecules (‘free radicals’)
Copper: Involved in antioxidant function and critical for growth of connective tissue, energy production, metabolism or iron and neurotransmitter function
Fiber: improves digestion and/or decreases blood cholesterol
Folate: critical in the synthesis of genetic material (i.e. DNA) and cell division
Iron: used to make hemoglobin and myoglobin which are critical for oxygen transport throughout the body; also required for many hormones and the structure of our connective tissue
Magnesium: helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and is involved in bone, DNA and protein synthesis
Manganese: critical component of enzymes involved in antioxidant function, bone development, metabolism, and wound healing
Phosphorus: critical part of cell membranes, DNA & RNA, important in bone-mineralization, energy production, cell-signaling and body acid/base balance
Protein: building blocks for blood, bone, cartilage, enzymes, hormones, muscle and skin
Zinc: helps the body fight off infection and with wound healing, helps make protein and DNA

So, that’s all for now.  Please feel free to ask questions about my experience with the IP, Weekday Vegetarianism, quinoa, general nutrition or whatever!  See you next time!

References:
1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/quinoa
3. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper
4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/
5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
7. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese
8. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/phosphorus
9. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods-nutrients-health
10. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

*Recipe adapted from here: https://www.simplyquinoa.com/pressure-cooker-fried-quinoa-with-tofu/

Disclaimer:
Any content you find on Sunny Seeds Nutrition Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

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