Wish Upon A Dish: Quinoa Pilaf ♥ The Little Seed That Could ≡ Week Four, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

May 14, 2014

Quinoa Pilaf ♥ The Little Seed That Could ≡ Week Four, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

While I was researching information for this post, I stumbled on a forum where their seemed to be a lively back and forth on the actual pros and cons of eating quinoa on a diabetic diet. Most diabetic recipes will call for 1/2 cup servings on grains and vegetables (exchange plan is based on 1/2 cup servings), and the carbohydrate for a serving of quinoa is on the higher side than most. With all the hoopla surrounding quinoa, I was surprised by that, I actually thought it was on the low side of the carbohydrate scale.

Kind of bummed me out, but then I did a little more research. While developing diabetic meal plans, most health professionals do not like to put all their eggs in one basket (daily allotment per meal) because they would rather you eat more bulk (to be full) of low carb foods. Except in the case of Super Foods.

Quinoa, it being a magic seed and all, is often paired with foods low on the Glycemic Index so that you will get the full benefit of all it's nutritional properties.

Below is the nutrition facts for 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.

Scallops are low in carbohydrates and through the roof in B-12, has under 120 calories per 4 large, so when I found this recipe I immediately put it on the menu. Another EatingWell recipe not on the meal plan but a great sub if you are following along with this. I subbed this recipe for the second "cook one, freeze one" Eggplant Parmesan night.

One thing I have to say, I was born with the hate cilantro gene. There was way too much in this recipe for my taste but if you love cilantro, the amount is right. It ruined the whole eating experience this time but not the concept of the dish. I will make this again, sans the cilantro, to use in the stuffing of vegetables. I loved the orange segments and the toasted almonds. I added the pea pods for even more nutrition and crunch and I marinaded the scallops in the juice that was in the bowl after segmenting the oranges.

If scallops are not your thing, steam some shrimp or king crab. Seafood not for you, poach a breast of chicken or a turkey tenderloin.

I know quinoa is on the same edge as kale from over-exposure but it is worth keeping in the rotation. I might even try a few of the breakfast ideas I stumbled on while researching.

Quinoa Pilaf with Seared Scallops
adapted from EatingWell: Jan/Feb 2014

Makes: 4 servings, about 3 scallops & 3/4 cup salad each

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 3 scallions, sliced, greens and white separated
* 1 cup uncooked quinoa
* 1 cup water
* 2 medium blood oranges or naval oranges
* 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
* 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound dry sea scallops

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about one minute.
2. And quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about one minute more. Add water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for five minutes.
3. Meanwhile, slice the ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith, discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from the surrounding membranes and squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them.
4. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl, gently stir to combine.
5. Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and a 1/4 teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
6. And the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)
7. And the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.

Per serving: 368 calories; 13g of fat (2g sat, 8g mono); 27mg cholesterol; 41g carbohydrates; 22g protein; 6g fiber; 597mg sodium; 668mg potassium.

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges:  2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 2 lean meat, 2 fat

My Diabetic  Recommendations: I know this dish is on the high side of allowable carbohydrates, the benefits of the quinoa is worth it. Just plan no carb foods for your other two meals, like my favorite breakfast of an egg omelet crepe with turkey sausage and Swiss cheese and then a lunch of low carb vegetable soup. 

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