Quinoa is the topic today and Tia Sima should be the one to pay…(tribute to, that is, so we can get a little rhyme going here!). Every time I make quinoa, I think of two things…Tia Sima and Bolivia. Tia Sima because she is the queen of taking this lovely grain and transforming it into so many yummy recipes from salads to stuffed grape leaves, and Bolivia because that’s one of the countries that produces and exports this super-grain. I got to live and work with the families that planted and harvested Quinoa many years ago as a graduate student working on a project with the University of Missouri’s agricultural research station high up in the Bolivian Altiplano. Check out the harvest photos in the web link provided for an idea of the harvesting process, growing environment and the people that produce this power-packed grain.

Quinoa is loaded with protein and essential amino acids, is high in iron and fiber, has a low glycemic index, and is gluten free. It’s great for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike and it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. Below is a savory version for this recipe, and I hope you will enjoy the delicious raw add-ins I included. The cabbage wraps are another healthy way to eat this delicious grain and add to the crunch factor, minus all the processed carbs from bread or soft tortillas. They look pretty, taste divine and are a satisfying and healthy meal for lunch or dinner. Pair them with a side of sauteed greens, such as beet greens with a splash of red wine vinegar, cranberries and walnuts, and you have yourself a meal! Enjoy!! Thanks Tia Sima for this meal inspiration!!!

Quinoa Wraps
2 cups of cooked quinoa.
1 cup of raw, shredded beets (I used red).
1 cup of raisins or cranberries.
2/3 cup of chopped nuts (your own favorite).
1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill or cilantro).
1 diced cucumber.
1 cup of cooked beans (garbanzo, lentil or any other you may like).
1-2 Tbls. olive oil.
3-4 Tbls. fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice.
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.
salt and pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients* together in a bowl, toss and adjust seasonings to your taste. A splash or two more of lemon juice and/or hot sauce may be added depending on how intense you like the flavors. This mixture tastes even better after a few hours to let the flavors marinate together. Scoop into whatever leaves you have in your fridge. I used cabbage leaves, but you could also substitute kale, collard and any other thick leafy green minus the stem. Enjoy!!!

*Disclaimer – you all know by now that I cook by throwing a little bit of this and a little bit of that into my recipes. The ingredient list has approximate measurements. Use your taste buds to guide you on how much of each ingredient to add. Also, don’t forget to use your imagination…any and all add-ins taste great with this grain!