From our friends at nutritiontwins.com
Whether you’ve fallen into a recipe rut and want to spice up your weekly meal routine, or you’re on the hunt for a healthy meal that takes minutes to make, this Moroccan Chickpea & Veggie Quinoa is your savory solution.
Featuring a handful of ingredients that are likely already in your kitchen, and requiring two super simple steps, this delicious dish couldn’t be any easier to prepare–making it a great option for those busy weeknights. You can even pull it together a day or so before you intend to enjoy it so you have it on hand when you need a quick, tasty and healthy meal. We whip up a batch almost every Sunday when we do a lot of our weekly meal prepping—and definitely when we do a lot of our veggie chopping.
If you’re following a gluten-free or a dairy-free diet, this recipe is for you! And if you’re vegan, just opt to use tofu to make the vegan version. We love how the quinoa and chicken or tofu seem to soak up the spices even more after a day or two in the fridge.
But here’s the best part:
This entire filling dish is just under 350 calories per serving and it’s LOADED with nutrition, including:
Fiber We all know we should be eating more fiber (national consumption statistics suggest that only about five percent of Americans are eating enough…yikes!). But if you’re fuzzy on why, here’s the skinny: Eating a diet rich in fiber nurtures your gut microbiome by feeding its’ good bacteria, keeps your GI tract moving smoothly by preventing constipation, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and reduces your risk of developing serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer.
Thanks to the quinoa, chickpeas, peppers and carrots, this dish serves up nearly 10 grams of fiber. For reference, women should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should strive for 38 grams (for those over the age of 50, the recommendations decrease slightly–21 for women and 30 for men).
Protein We can’t decide whether we like this dish better with shredded chicken or with tofu. But the good news is, we don’t have to! Both ways, one serving of this Moroccan Chickpea & Veggie Quinoa delivers a healthy dose of protein (24 grams with chicken; 20 grams with tofu). The quinoa and chickpeas contribute a good amount, too. This is great because protein isn’t just crucial for building and retaining muscle, it also helps us feel satisfied, which can prevent overeating.
We love that we can mix up the ingredients in this meal and still be confident we’re giving our bodies the protein we need. And our vegan friends and clients love that they can enjoy a hearty meal without falling short on nutrition.
Iron & Vitamin C We put these two together because they have a unique relationship. Iron is important for so many reasons–it plays an essential role in oxygen transportation in the blood, it helps maintain energy levels, and it supports GI function, the immune system and body temperature regulation.
Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in your body, and is a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps block damage caused by free radicals. It’s also an important part of collagen—yes, for helping with elastic skin and wrinkle prevention!
But that’s not all: Vitamin C also helps maximize the absorption of iron in the body. You can increase absorption of non-heme iron (iron in plant sources) like the chickpeas and spinach in this dish, when you eat them with a source of Vitamin C, like the bell peppers and lemon in this dish. So pairing foods rich in vitamin C with iron-containing plant foods is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your iron intake.
In this recipe, we’ve combined iron-containing chicken, chickpeas and spinach with vitamin C-packed bell peppers and lemon for a tasty combo that piles on the nutritional benefits.
Vitamin A & Carotenoids The paprika in this recipe does more than just lend a punch of flavor and beautiful red color. It also dishes out vitamin A, which helps preserve vision and plays a role in healthy cell development; and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent harmful light rays from damaging the tissues in the eyes. (Heard the term “carotenoid,” but never quite understood what it is? Think of it as a precursor to vitamin A–your body can use it to convert it to vitamin A).
Anti-inflammatory Properties If you know anything about us, it’s that we have a slight obsession with turmeric. A potent spice that lends flavor to curries and other savory dishes, turmeric has long been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to combat inflammation. And countless studies have confirmed its anti-inflammatory powers. Since chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and even obesity, including inflammation-fighting foods in your diet is a great preventative measure.
In this dish, turmeric pulls double duty as a source of delicious flavor and a powerful inflammation fighter.
Ready to dig in to a meal that’s equal parts easy, delicious and healthy? Here’s how to make this Moroccan Chickpea and Veggie Quinoa: