It’s that dreaded time of year: tax time. As many of us hurry to get our taxes filed by their April 15 deadline, we could probably use some stress relief. And since we need to eat, why not combine the need for stress busters with healthy food? One of my favorite recipes contains ingredients that will help reduce your stress level while pleasing your taste buds—it’s my “Quinoa Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce.”
There are a few powerhouses in this recipe. I often see quinoa on those lists of “foods you should be eating.” It’s a whole grain that’s full of fiber and protein. Complex carbohydrates prompt the brain to make serotonin, a “feel good” chemical, and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable.
The veggies in this recipe help with stress, too. Broccoli contains folic acid and B vitamins, which help reduce stress. Peanuts have protein to build muscles, and as a bonus I’ve found that the peanut sauce makes me thirsty, so I drink plenty of water or milk with the meal. (You want to avoid dehydration, especially when you’re feeling stressed.)
I recommend serving this meal with a glass of low-fat milk and orange slices. Oranges, with their abundance of vitamin C, help strengthen the immune system and are thought to reduce stress hormones. You could also serve kiwi, strawberries, or tangerines. Milk is high in calcium and B vitamins, so it helps build strong bones and is good for your nerves.
I hope that those of you who don’t have family members with peanut allergies like this recipe, and that it helps you keep your stress in check during tax season.
Quinoa Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
1 cup quinoa
Your choice of veggies: broccoli, carrots, pea pods, mushrooms, onions, garlic, water chestnuts, red bell peppers, etc.
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
½ Tablespoon chopped garlic
½ Tablespoon chopped cilantro
¼ cup cold water
¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
¼ cup chopped peanuts
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and whisk them until creamy. Cook the quinoa per package directions. Slice and stir-fry your favorite vegetables. Place the desired amount of cooked quinoa, stir-fried vegetables, and peanut sauce in a bowl, toss together, and serve. (Note: if you have leftovers, I suggest storing the sauce separately from the quinoa and vegetables. When reheating, warm the quinoa and vegetables, and then add the sauce and toss.)