Healthy Recipe: Cherry Quinoa

This healthy recipe from Northwest Cherries is an exciting sweet and tangy entree that uses quinoa, a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.

But don’t forget the healthy eating power that cherries are packing! Cherries may be small by comparison to other fruits, but they deliver a powerhouse of antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E, which promote heart health and help fight certain cancers. Another valuable nutritional benefit found in cherries is Melatonin which has been linked to pain relief in arthritis and gout sufferers.

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped Anaheim pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries
8 ounces small cooked peeled shrimp
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Prepared salsa, optional

Saute onion and garlic in oil; add broth, quinoa, Anaheim pepper, salt and ground pepper. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 12 to 18 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff mixture with a fork and gently stir in cherries, shrimp and parsley. Serve with salsa, if desired.

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