Gluten free, Grains, Lunch, Main courses, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetables
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Chicken & Avocado Quinoa Salad

IMG_7007

Serves 2

I love this salad, its my new favourite!! A classic combination of chicken and avocado flavoured with all the great tastes that burst out of a guacamole!! Not being a great avocado fan, (I know….isn’t everyone supposed to love them!!) but knowing how good they are for me, I am so happy to discover a way I can really enjoy eating them.  The flavour is so fresh and clean, I’ll be enjoying this one all year round!!

A complete meal, packed full of goodness, this is the second recipe that formed part of the first module on my Diploma in Culinary Medicine and again I have included the supporting information to show the health benefits of the main ingredients in supporting the body against diabetes, obesity & metabolic syndrome. This salad is easy to transport so you can take it with you for a healthy lunch on the go which beats a sandwich and has the advantage of being gluten free! I’ve also made it without chicken and added a good handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds which made a great vegetarian alternative.

100g quinoa

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 small red onion

1 cooked chicken breast

2 tomatoes

1 ripe avocado

1 red chilli

grated rind and juice of 2 limes

2tbsp olive oil

2 large handfuls baby spinach, washed

small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped (about 4-5tbsp)

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and place in a saucepan with 275ml water, a little salt and the whole garlic cloves. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir with a fork and leave covered for a further 10 minutes to absorb any remaining liquid.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion, cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces. Quarter the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds and finely chop. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone, scoop out the flesh and cut into small pieces. Mix the prepared vegetables and chicken together in a large bowl.

IMG_6995To make the dressing, de-seed the red chilli and finely chop. Mix with the grated rind and juice of the limes, (about 2tbsp) the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Roughly chop the spinach.

Remove and discard the garlic cloves from the quinoa. Add the quinoa to the avocado mixture with the dressing, spinach and coriander. Mix well to combine and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve piled high!

This keeps well in the fridge to enjoy the next day. Simply store in an airtight container.

 

Health Benefits

 This super tasty lunch is a perfect combination of protein, vegetables and fat, the ideal composition for a meal to help reduce the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

 Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids the body needs to make our own protein. It has the added advantage of having a low Glycaemic response. This means it will release its sugars slowly and won’t cause blood sugar spikes. When combined with other protein and fat sources you get a perfect slow release meal. This will help insulin receptors in the cells to work efficiently as they can become unresponsive when continually bombarded with a meal that is high in fast release sugars such as white bread, pasta, white rice and processed foods.

Chicken

Chicken provides a good lean source of protein, important in the diet to provide essential amino acids, the building blocks we use to make our own proteins. Combining this with the quinoa and avocado we achieve the ideal slow release meal maintaining efficient functioning of the insulin receptors, avoiding sugar spikes and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Avocado

Avocado offers many great health benefits. A good source of fat, they help to reduce the glycaemic impact of a meal thereby increasing the time it takes to digest, with the beneficial outcome of slowly releasing the sugars and avoiding sugar spikes. The essential fatty acids (omega 3) found in avocado regulate the structure and function of cell membranes and allow the insulin cells receptors to function efficiently therefore helping to manage blood sugar levels. Omega 3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation which many diabetics can face, particularly within the cardiovascular system.

Olive oil

The olive oil increases the amount of good fat (omega 3 fatty acid) in this recipe. Fats are essential for transporting fat soluable nutrients around the body, regulating the cell membranes and facilitating effective metabolic functions.

 

 

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