As I write this I am juggling the kids homework, washing is waiting to be hung out, updating social media and emails coming in about work. Let’s face it, life is busy for all of us, and a quick lunch is often what’s needed. I do my best to have breaks from it all (technology & multi tasking in particular) but a lot of the time I feel like a whirling dervish. As a result some of my meals have to be easy and quick to make to fit in with my life, but still be healthy and nutritious. As much as I love cooking, I find it relaxing and satisfying, I don’t always have the time to make elaborate meals, and often I throw things together with whatever is in the cupboard and fridge, and today’s lunch was such an occasion. I make sure I always have a well stocked cupboard with jars of cooked black beans, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, olives and capers and a good variety of nuts and seeds. Things like tahini and  miso paste are also great for making tasty salad dressings. This insures that with some groovy grains, salad, a few veg, egg or some fresh fish you can create a very quick healthy and nutritious meal. Today I also had some left over cooked quinoa from the night before, which was really handy, so I could literally bring it all together super quickly. As I quite often make quick, easy, healthy meals I’ve created a new tab where you’ll be able to find all my Quick Meals.

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Back to today’s lunch, which is a protein rich salad of turmeric quinoa, with black beans and red onion, served with leafy salad and artichoke hearts. Quinoa is a protein dense food, rich in minerals and vitamins, as well as antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol which have anti-inflammatory benefits. I love cooking it with turmeric and black pepper, making it a lovely golden colour and of course with added anti-inflammatory goodness. Combined with some awesome black beans rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6 and again rich in protein, mixed together with the spicy / sweet red onion makes for a delicious, kick-ass nutritious bit of lunch or light dinner to tuck into. Artichokes are a great digestive aid as they stimulate the flow of bile ensuring our food is well digested ready for absorption. Aside from this, they are a good source of folate, dietary fibre, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants and quite surprisingly are number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list. Lets not forget antioxidants are super important to include into our diets now more than ever, as we live in a world full of pollution, sprayed foods, chemicals and toxins, we need all the help we can get to mop up all the free radicals which scavenge our bodies.

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Black Bean Quinoa Salad

(serves 2)

1 cup quinoa
1tsp turmeric
pinch of black pepper
pinch of himalayan salt
1 pack of pre cooked black beans
1 small red onion
1tbsp hemp seed oil (or Olive Oil)

Additionally:

1 tin of Artichoke hearts in water
Mixed salad leaves
Seeds to garnish

Place you quinoa in a pan covered with water in the morning and allow to soak. When you’re ready to cook your meal, drain and discard the water and rinse with some fresh water. Quinoa is high in saponins which if not washed off can give it a slightly bitter taste. Place in a pan and cover with 1 cup of water and add the turmeric. Stir and cook for 10-12 minutes until soft adding more water if necessary. While the quinoa is cooking, chop up your red onion and drain and rinse the black beans, placing them both in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. When the quinoa is ready transfer it from the pan to the mixing bowl and stir together with the oil of your choice for a lovely warm salad.

While waiting for the quinoa, you can prepare your leafy salad and drain a tin of artichoke hearts. Put it all together and serve with a sprinkle of hemp seeds / pumpkin seeds / sunflower seeds.

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ENJOY!!

Love,

Daniela

 

Further Reading:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/amazingly-delicious-healthy-artichoke

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/289934.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142