Green Quinoa and Turkey Atamalado

Atamalado is a way of preparing quinoa as a stew. This recipe called for turkey meat, both white and brown, but seeing as how it’s February and the only turkey available to me was either a full turkey or ground turkey, I choose the latter. I think it turned out fantastic.

I started eating quinoa about twelve years ago. Yes, this is my subtle way of saying I was into quinoa before it became a “thing.” I’m a quinoa hipster. I was 23 and had recently had my first ever full physical. You know the kind, the one that in addition to weighing you and the basics, you also get a full blood screen to check for any abnormalities. I was still in college and living the college life. That is to say, I was not exactly eating healthy, or really do anything healthy. When it came time for my results, my doctor said that everything looked great and it was some of the best blood work he’d ever seen. His exact words were “So keep doing whatever you’re doing because it’s working out great” I replied “I eat fast food and drink Starbucks daily, smoke, drink alcohol, and don’t work out.” I remember him sighing and saying “I normally wouldn’t encourage that behavior but it seems to be working for you. But maybe cut back on the smoking and drinking and eat a vegetable every once in a while.” So with that in mind, I decided to work on my diet. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me my lifestyle was unhealthy but I apparently did need his judgement to motivate me to do something about it.

I went to the grocery store and started buying actual food that wasn’t sandwich meat, didn’t come in a can, didn’t require cooking in a microwave, and didn’t have “Instant” on the label. It was hard. I was in the pasta section when I saw a little turquoise box labeled “Quinoa: A Complete Source of Protein.” A complete source of protein in a box? Please continue! I read the box and learned that it was an ancient grain that was regarded as a superfood. This was in the time before smartphones so I had to go by what was on the box, I couldn’t Google it. Because I’m an advertisers dream and constantly fall for flashy words and packaging (and because all it required was being boiled in water) I bought a box.

And I never turned back.

I actually enjoyed quinoa and because it was so easy to make and paired well with almost everything, I ate it regularly. Then it became the most popular food on the planet and the price skyrocketed. I don’t eat it as often now because I’ve learned how to cook other foods but I still like it a lot.



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