This is one of my absolute favorite dishes, I could eat it every day. Not only is it delicious and beautiful, but its's a nutritional home run. Quinoa, parsley, beets and walnuts are all great sources of plant iron. As you may know, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world, much more common than protein deficiency, so it's good to pay a little attention to your iron intake.
Plant iron isn't as easily absorbed as iron from animal sources, but there are things we can do to boost absorption. An easy trick is to add a source of vitamin C to your meal when eating iron rich foods. Adding a bit of vitamin C to a meal can increase iron absorption up to six-fold. Who knew? So what we have here is a dish that contains a complete protein (quinoa), lots of iron, loads of vitamin C, plenty of fiber, and a wide array of other important micronutrients. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, AND this looks beautiful on a holiday table. Enjoy!
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
1 thumb sized nub of fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
4-5 cups mixed citrus - tangerines/oranges/grapefruit
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries (preferably sweetened w/apple juice)
1 cup chopped parsley
1 beet - cut into matchsticks or shredded
- Place quinoa and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to very low and let simmer for 15 minutes. It'll release its little spiraly tail and become soft, but not mushy.
- While the quinoa cooks, smash and mince the ginger and place it in a large mixing bowl with the juice of one lemon
- When the quinoa's ready, stir it into the lemon and ginger and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Peel and rough chop the citrus - 2 oranges, 4 tangerines, and 1 pink grapefruit.
- Add the citrus, walnuts, parsley, cranberries, and chopped beet to the quinoa and mix well.
This will serve 6-8 as a side dish and keeps well in the fridge for up to three days. If you want to prep it in advance for a holiday dinner, mix everything together but the walnuts and parsley, adding them just before serving. You could even fold in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach~