Amino acids are the building blocks that comprise proteins. Twenty different amino acids are required for the body to synthesize protein. Eleven of the twenty are produced by the human body and the other eight we must obtain through the foods we eat. These nine amino acids we must have as part of our diet are referred to as the “essential amino acids.” In order to be considered a complete protein a food must contain all none of the essential amino acids. Food such as meat and other animal products contain complete protein. However, other than a few exceptions such as quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, blue green algae, and soybeans plant-based foods must be eaten in certain combinations in order to ensure complete protein is included in one’s diet. One of our favorite plant-based complete proteins is quinoa a relative to spinach which originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America. Rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals, quinoa is an incredible alternative to rice or bulgur wheat and makes and incredible tabouli. Our Quinoa Tabouli recipe below is a great way to get a fresh side salad rich in protein and refreshing herbaceous flavor.
1 Cup White Quinoa
8 Cherry Tomatoes (Halved)
2 Green Onion (Minced)
1 Bunch Curly Parsley (Minced)
1 Bunch Cilantro (Minced)
1 Lemon (Juiced)
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos
2 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Sea Salt or to taste
Wash quinoa thoroughly and soak overnight in water.
In a medium saucepan, add just enough cold water as to just barely cover the quinoa.
Bring to a boil uncovered. The whole of the quinoa should be boiling for this step, and you may need to stir the quinoa once or twice to ensure the heat is distributed evenly.
Cover the saucepan and turn down to low. Let simmer for 8 minutes or until water has completely evaporated and the quinoa is light and fluffy.
Set quinoa aside to cool.
In large salad bowl combine the onion, cilantro, parsley, lemon olive oil, coconut aminos, black pepper and salt. Stir until well mixed.
Gently fold in the tomatoes.
Serve on the side of your Lamb with Spring Mint, along-side Hummus and your favorite grilled vegetables.