According to Ayurveda, whole grains are important to the vegetarian diet because they provide a good source of complex carbohydrates, proteins, fiber and some important nutrients. They help in tissue building and strengthening properties. Among all these grains, quinoa gains much attention because it is considered a complete protein, in that, it contains all the amino acids (Otherwise, vegetarians can have a meal with complete protein by eating both grains and legumes or beans). Quinoa also provides good fiber, minerals, and several vitamins: iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. (Red and brown varieties are similar in nutritional values.)
You should eat grains combined with vegetables, dairy, nuts and seeds, according to your suitable constitution. Quinoa’s high fiber and low calories will still give you satiety, helping you to feel full. This light food will also improve your metabolism and helps with weight loss!
Even though it’s good for kapha; vata and pitta constitutions also can have this grain with proper combinations.
For kapha eat with less grains and more vegetables. If you are kapha, you could also eat small amounts of rye, buckwheat, and amaranth in addition to quinoa. Cook these grains to make them drier, bitter (dark leafy greens, or lemon or lime rind) and pungent (think spicy, like ginger) in taste and use lots of vegetables. Repeat: lots of veggies!
For vata, eat with more ghee or olive oil and some seeds. (Sunflower, sesame)
For pitta, eat with less oil and fewer nuts (almonds, walnuts) Also, if you are pitta with strong agni, you can digest brown rice, wheat, and couscous very well.
If your digestive system is not strong, you should eat less grain with more water and spices so as to make a soupy consistency.
Ingredients: Serves 2-3 persons
2-½ cup water
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped vegetable (zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli)
2-3 carrots finely chopped
½ cup baby spinach
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or black pepper
¼ tsp. Mustard seeds
½ tsp. cumin seeds
2 teaspoon minced fresh basil, mint or cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 tsp. sunflower seeds,
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1-tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
- Put the quinoa in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the grains are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, set aside measured amounts of spices and your chopped vegetables, then heat the ghee or olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the mustard, cumin seeds, ginger, cayenne pepper and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables and sauté, till cooked. Lastly, stir in the spinach, almonds and seeds.
- As soon as the quinoa is done, add the vegetable mixture and salt and stir well. Lastly add lime juice and sprinkle basil or cilantro or mint leaves and serve warm.