I steep a pot of green tea every day. Whether it’s white, green or black, sipping it is so relaxing; it takes the edge off of the day. Although I grew up among big time coffee drinkers (my grandmother always had her coffee pot on and would drink java morning, noon and night), I still enjoy a good cup of tea. The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is where white, green, oolong and black tea originate, have been thoroughly researched. It turns out that there are a ton of medicinal benefits in tea leaves . From cancer prevention to bone and heart health, the flavanoid compounds in tea leaves hold the health key.
Many times I will steep a pot and use it as the liquid for making quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), rice, bulgur, barley and couscous. If you think about it the grains absorb all of the vital nutrients from the tea. It’s a win-win, you get the whole grain goodness coupled with tea’s super powers – it’s a great nutritional marriage!
For this recipe, I am adding an Asian flair to quinoa with a hint of sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, lemon or lime juice, cilantro and diced carrots. Quinoa’s nutty flavor accents the subtle Asian flair of the dressing. I love getting the protein from quinoa in this dish as there’s no need to add meat, chicken or fish. (Although, this would be really tasty with pulled chicken or small bits of grilled salmon).
I love using bold red quinoa, especially in lettuce cups as the colors pop. If you use brown quinoa you could always jazz it up with colorful bursts from tomatoes, sriracha (hot chili sauce) or red peppers. The beauty of this dish is that it will never be bland as the produce possibilities are endless.
Green Tea Quinoa Asian Lettuce Cups
Serves 2 (2 lettuce cups each)
1/2 cup, quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups green tea, steeped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 lemon or lime, squeezed for juice
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
1/4 cup carrots, diced
4 Romaine or Bibb lettuce leaves, washed and air-dried
Steep green tea for at least 3 – 4 minutes. Place a small pot over medium-high heat and pour in quinoa and tea. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa can be fluffed easily with a fork. Remove from heat.
In the pot with the quinoa stir in the oil, soy sauce, lemon or lime juice, cilantro and carrots. Toss together and spoon into lettuce cups. Pick up and eat immediately (no utensils required).
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 246, Total Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 293 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 8 g
Enjoy eating simply,