Last month we presented a series of tips to create exciting food bars for entertaining (links below). You can do smaller versions for the family dinner table.
A few days ago, we discovered a delicious and nutritious quinoa bar at Fresh&Co., a fast-casual, seasonal and organic restaurant concept for health-conscious people who care as much about the quality as the taste. The company currently has eight locations in New York City. For menus and location information, visit:
Quinoa is perhaps the most nutritious food on earth—a complete protein with more protein per serving than milk! So today’s tip is: for a healthy menu that’s fun and tasty, call on quinoa.
Fresh&Co Executive Chef Jeremy Leech shared tips for creating a quinoa bar party at home (below); but here are the popular choices at the restaurant which provide a list of ingredients for your own quinoa bar:
The Burrito Quinoa Bowl. Photo courtesy Fresh&Co | NYC.
Asian Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, smoked tofu, kale, daikon, red bell peppers, edamame, roasted brussels sprouts and scallions with sweet chili sauce
Bangkok Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, thai-spiced turkey, daikon, napa cabbage, carrots, broccoli, scallions and cilantro with soy ginger sauce
Burrito Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, roasted corn, tomatoes, kale, red beans, cilantro and tortilla strips with chipotle vinaigrette
Ginger Seitan Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, kale, kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes and chickpeas with roasted garlic vinaigrette, with grilled shrimp
Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, kale, seitan, white cabbage, carrots, daikon, broccoli, scallions, pickled ginger and cilantro with soy ginger sauce
Chicken, smoked tofu, thai-spiced turkey and jumbo shrimp are options for any of the salads.
The quinoa bar at Fresh&Co. Photo courtesy
Fresh&Co | NYC.
TIPS TO CREATE YOUR OWN QUINOA BAR
Use fresh and locally sourced products, whenever possible.
Have all your ingredients pre-cooked and prepped before guests arrive.
Provide a good variety of produce and meats.
Make vegans/vegetarians happy with a variety of fresh veggies, as well as some meat substitutes such as tofu or seitan.
Don’t be afraid to throw in less common ingredients, such as daikon and napa cabbage.
Offer a variety of vinaigrettes and sauces. Make or buy fun options such as chipotle vinaigrette, roasted garlic vinaigrette and sweet chili sauce.
Suggest combinations, like the ones served at Fresh&Co.
High in the Andes Mountains, quinoa has been cultivated by the Incas for some 5,000 years. Along with corn and potatoes, it was the foundation of the Andean diet.
Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa or KEE-noo-ah, is an exceptionally nutritious supergrain (in fact, it’s the Quechua/Inca word for “mother grain” or “super grain”). It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain; it is not a member of the true grass family. Rather, it’s a broad-leafed, annual herb. The seeds—the part we eat*—are white, red or beige in color.
Quinoa contains more protein—and higher-quality protein—than any other grain. A complete protein equivalent to milk, it contains all eight essential amino acids and a portfolio of vitamins and minerals: calcium, fiber, iron, lysine, magnesium, vitamins A, B and E and zinc. Everyone should eat more quinoa.
Cooked quinoa is delicious and extremely versatile; it may be used in the place of almost any other grain, including rice, to make everything from appetizers to desserts (make quinoa pudding instead of rice pudding). It has a slight nutty flavor (red quinoa is the nuttiest), which makes it a good substitute for couscous or bulghur. It has a unique texture as well. When cooked, the thin germ circlet falls from the seed and remains crunchy while the pearly grain melts in the mouth.
*The spinach-like leaves are equally nutritious and tasty, but they are rarely found outside of their growing area.
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