Having trouble coming up with new lunch ideas? Are you looking for new salads that keep you satisfied? If you’re looking to change up your lunch options or just need a new side dish, try this easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad! It’s refreshing, full of flavor and a tasty way to get more vegetables in your life. Registered dietitian Jamie Walker, RDN, LD, shares why this recipe is a great one to try:
This is one of my favorite go-to recipes that I like to prep ahead to save time during busy weeks. You can easily change it up depending on preferences and what veggies and spices you have on hand. Try it as side dish paired with a protein at dinner or add some on top of salad greens for a filling lunch.
Quinoa: Hard to pronounce, easy to try
Quinoa is actually an edible seed and it is classified as a whole grain. If you have been told to get more whole grains in your diet, this is a fun one to give a try. It is an excellent source of protein and it is considered a complete protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Quinoa also contains fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.
I love quinoa because it is a versatile ingredient – it works equally well in hot dishes and refreshing salads. Quinoa has a neutral, nutty flavor and it absorbs the tanginess of the dressing. If you’ve never tried it, pick some up next time you’re at the grocery store. It comes dried and it has a similar cooking method to rice. Be sure to follow the directions on the package. Some varieties require rinsing and you may need a fine mesh strainer to drain the seeds without losing them down the sink.
Chickpeas add texture and also add a healthy dose of protein and fiber which will help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This high fiber food may also improve our cholesterol levels. They are convenient to buy in a can (just give them a rinse to reduce the sodium content).
Colorful veggies not only create a beautiful presentation, they add a boost of nutrition. All the color from the vegetables and fresh herbs provide antioxidants and phytonutrients which offer protection against chronic diseases.
Enjoy different combinations in this recipe by using different chopped vegetables and different blends of herbs. If you plan on making this ahead of time, save the dressing on the side and just wait to add to the salad until ready to serve.
Consult with a registered dietitian
If you’re struggling with creating a healthy eating plan that you can stick with, a registered dietitian can help. The Lake Health Nutrition Counseling team is here to help you achieve better nutrition and help manage health conditions that can be improved with diet for long-term positive impact on your health.
Your physician might refer you to nutrition counseling to help with gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, food allergies or intolerances.