Enjoy the Tasty Benefits of Quinoa With a Vegan Falafel Buddha Bowl
7 minute read
A vegan diet can be more than just a way of life. While most people opt for vegan diets for ethical, religious, or personal reasons, there are nutritional benefits to eating the vegan way.
Vegan meals also don’t have to be boring. The recipe below shows you one exciting way to get delicious taste and nutrition all without any animal products.
When it comes to vegan diets, what matters is replacing the nutrients lost when you cut animal products from your diet. The good news is that there are a number of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables that provide all you need to stay healthy.
Quinoa is one such food product that is popular on vegan menus. Often found in buddha bowls, its versatility and nutritional value make it the perfect addition to any vegan dish.
The Power of Quinoa
Quinoa is one of the most popular health foods on the planet. Naturally gluten-free and one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, quinoa is great for vegans and everyone else too.
Although it is technically a seed, we use quinoa as a grain, and it delivers essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to boost your health in numerous ways.
1. Powerful Plant Compounds
Quinoa contains two powerful antioxidants known as quercetin and kaempferol. Both compounds possess anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. These are the two ingredients found in high amounts in quinoa and when included in your diet helps to promote optimal health.
2. High in Fiber
Quinoa contains more fiber than most popular grains. While most of the fiber is insoluble, there is enough soluble fiber to deliver important benefits.
Soluble fiber helps to reduce blood glucose levels, lower your cholesterol, and increase fullness to help you avoid overeating and weight gain.
With the recent increase in gluten-intolerance and gluten allergies, gluten-free foods are more popular than ever. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that offers substance to a meal commonly lost when you have to cut out other staple foods.
Opting for quinoa over other gluten-free options increases your antioxidant intake, which makes it the more beneficial option when avoiding gluten.
4. Essential Amino Acids
Quinoa is high in protein and delivers all nine of the essential amino acids you need to stay healthy. Most plant foods are deficient in at least a few of these, but not quinoa. In fact, this grain provides more protein and amino acids than other grains, and is a valuable alternative to meats.
5. Better Blood Glucose Control
The glycemic index measures how quickly foods raise your blood sugar levels, and foods high on this index are dangerous to your health. Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which means it protects you from diabetes and heart disease.
Take care, however, because quinoa is high in carbohydrates, so may not be a good option for those following a low-carb lifestyle.
6. Important Minerals
Many people are deficient in minerals like magnesium and iron, and thankfully quinoa is full of both. That said, quinoa also contains phytic acid, which binds these minerals together and reduces their absorption rate.
| Related: 10 Signs & Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency |
The good news is you can prevent this by soaking the quinoa first before cooking to reduce phytic acid content and improve bioavailability of the minerals you need.
7. Helps You Lose Weight
Quinoa has several properties that support weight loss. The high protein content increases metabolism and reduces your appetite. The fiber keeps you feeling full for longer so you avoid overeating. The low glycemic index also helps to reduce overall caloric intake.
The combination of these properties makes quinoa a great option for a healthy and efficient weight loss plan.
8. Improves Metabolic Health
When your metabolic function is running smoothly and efficiently, you are protected from metabolic syndrome, which is linked to serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Maintaining optimal metabolic rates and function is essential for good health and longevity. Because of its ability to reduce blood sugar, triglyceride, and insulin levels, quinoa can improve your metabolic function.
For the salad:
100 g quinoa
1 pack of Cauldron Falafels
50 g baby kale
1 avocado, halved, de-stoned, peeled and sliced
40 g ready-to-eat edamame beans
½ carrot, grated
¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
For the crispy chickpeas:
200g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing:
1 avocado, halved, de-stoned and peeled
10 g fresh parsley
10 g fresh coriander
1 tbsp lime juice
50 ml water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Set aside and leave to cool.
2. To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with the smoked paprika, salt and oil. Transfer to a lined baking tray, along with the falafel and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the falafel from the tray and shake the chickpeas, then return the chickpeas back to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
4. To assemble the Buddha bowls equally, divide the quinoa between two bowls. In sections, top each bowl with the falafel, kale, avocado, edamame beans, carrot, and red cabbage. Scatter the roasted chickpeas over the top and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Drizzle over the dressing to serve.
The Bottom Line
Vegan diets are great for anyone. While there is a lot of nutritional value in meats and other animal products, the vegan lifestyle can offer a lot too.
When you add a grain like quinoa to your meal, you get satisfaction, nutrition, and variety to your diet. Even if you have no plans of giving up meat, you can try a few vegan meals every now and then to keep your menu interesting.