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« chicken with cinnamon, almonds, and dates: a weekend indulgence | Main | cod with tomatoes, olives, and thyme: a weeknight fave »

black quinoa with cranberries, turkey, and lime: a delicious power lunch

I cycle, run, and weight-train six days a week so a high-protein diet is important to me. While a lot of work-out junkies munch on flavor-flat protein bars, I say skip the bars. Eat real food.

It's actually not difficult or time consuming to get the protein you need and eat deliciously. Take an hour on a Sunday, and presto, you have lunches for the week. So here it is, folks, my #1 power lunch: black quinoa with turkey, cranberries, and lime.


The color of this dish alone makes me want to nosh on it endlessly. But the bright flavors of lime, cilantro, cumin, and cranberry make this worth eating every day. Quinoa, a fiber-rich relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach, is a complete protein packed with all nine essential amino acids. The added low-fat turkey gives this dish a one-two protein punch.

For the cilantro-averse, like my good friend, Lou, replace with parsley. It's fabulous both ways.

Black Quinoa with Turkey, Cranberries, and Lime

1 cup black or red quinoa
1 medium red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, minced
1 small bunch of cilantro, minced
1 pound turkey deli meat, sliced from the deli ¼-inch thick, and diced
Juice from 1 lime
½ cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized sauté pan, heat the olive oil with the cumin seeds until seeds start to sizzle. Add the red onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 2 – 3 minutes. Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Let red onion mixture and quinoa cool completely. Toss together with the cilantro, chives, cranberries, and diced turkey. Top with the lime juice, season, and mix well.

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