Quin-what? The magic grain
This week I set out on an adventure into uncharted dining territory: dinner at Bob’s. During the swim season, I am limited to/privileged enough to dine solely at Dana for dinner. Since my “release into the wild” I have been able to explore new avenues, one of them being the salad bar my friends have told me is much improved since last year.
I unfortunately don’t recall the exact set-up of last year’s salad bar, so I can only offer some insight on my newest favorite additions. This Sunday, I didn’t have time to eat the chicken romano or the baked mac ‘n cheese, so I loaded up a dinner sized salad. In the salad bar I found standard lettuce of the romaine variety, spinach, broccoli and red onions. To my delight there was what appeared to be organic carrots, freshly cut and locally grown. As if this colorful arrangement wasn’t comprehensive enough, the staff at Bobs was kind enough to include parmesan in the evening’s spread. No, I’m not talking about the shaker cheese stuff, but a bin full of sharp and dry freshly shredded Parmesan... yum.
While my salad was looking tasty, it wasn’t ’til I crossed the soup station that I truly entered a new realm. The assortment of toppings caught me totally off guard. “Are those lentils?” my stomach asked my eyes. “cannellini beans?” my tummy grumbled in both anticipation and fear. Finally, I thought to myself, “what is that stuff?” When I heard the girl behind me say, “Quinoa,” I said, “I’m sorry, can I help you?” “No,” she said, “the brown stuff you’re putting on your salad is quinoa” Unfortunately, she couldn’t offer me any more information on what it was. As I asked my health-conscious vegetarian friends, I found very few of us know much about quinoa.
A relative of spinach, believe it or not, quinoa is commonly referred to as a grain. High in protein, it offers a uniquely fluffy then crunchy consistency. Originally grown in South America, it is even referred to as “Incan Gold.”
The grain is a complete protein (meaning it provides all the essential amino acids), which sets it apart from other grains. It is also a great source of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
I found this quinoa to be an excellent topper to my beautiful salad.
Showered with a splash of Bob’s own balsamic vinaigrette, my salad was the perfect the blend of nutrition, crunch and that brown stuff that I now know is called quinoa. Remember Colby, quinoa is actually really healthy, and what doesn’t kill you, makes you fatter.