Quinoa Stuffing for Vegetables

Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)

Quinoa is not a true cereal grain but a seed in the goosefoot family. Other members of this plant family include spinach, beets, and lamb’s quarters. In its natural state, quinoa has a bitter, resinous coating that foams up like soap when the seeds are rinsed with water. Most of this resin is removed after harvest, but the seeds should be rinsed to ensure the complete removal of this natural compound before cooking. This nutrition-packed stuffing can be used for a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers (see variation), tomatoes, and zucchini.

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut or olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup (250 mL) corn kernels
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon (15 mL) lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) dried dill
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried thyme
Pinch of black pepper
Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Stir in quinoa and salt, reduce heat to low (just below boiling), cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook onion for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Stir into the cooled quinoa along with the corn, red pepper, sunflower seeds, lime juice, basil, dill, thyme, and pepper. Stir to mix and adjust the seasoning.

Per cup (250 mL): calories: 240, protein: 8 g, fat: 11 g, carbohydrate: 31 g (2 g from sugar), dietary fibre: 5 g, calcium: 57 mg, iron: 4 mg, magnesium: 125 mg, phosphorus: 250 mg, potassium: 485 mg, sodium: 181 mg, zinc: 2 mg, thiamin: 0.4 mg, riboflavin: 0.2 mg, niacin: 4 mg, vitamin B6: 0.3 mg, folate: 66 mcg, pantothenic acid: 1 mg, vitamin B12: 0 mcg, vitamin A: 29 mcg, vitamin C: 29 mg, vitamin E: 5 mg, omega-6 fatty acids: 5 g, omega-3 fatty acids: 0.1 g

Percentage of calories from protein 13%, fat 38%, carbohydrate 49%