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    Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper

    WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members: Journal one serving as 1/2 cup starchy foods without fat.

    With quinoa playing the starring role, nutrients abound in this full-flavored side dish. A great addition to any dinner, this dish goes especially well with a crisp salad. To make ahead, prepare as directed, except do not sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Cover and chill for up to 6 hours. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds before serving.

    1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
    2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons minced)
    2 cups cooked quinoa*
    1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    1/2 cup sliced green onions
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds

    • In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boiling. In a small bowl, combine cold water and ice cubes to make an ice bath. Add the basil to the boiling water; stir once and drain immediately. Place basil in the ice bath to cool quickly. Gently squeeze out any excess water.
    • Place basil in a food processor. Add Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Cover and process until nearly smooth.
    • In a medium bowl, stir together cooked quinoa, bell pepper, and green onions. Add basil mixture; stir to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

    *Note: Look for quinoa at a health food store or in the grains section of a large supermarket. To make 2 cups cooked quinoa, in a fine strainer rinse .2/3 cup quinoa under cold running water; drain. In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/3 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand to cool slightly. Drain off any remaining liquid.

    Yield: 8 servings

    Per serving: 123 cal., 7 g total fat, (1 g sat. fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein. Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

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