Highlights

Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, which helps to build new red blood cells.

Without enough folate to make healthy red blood cells you may feel weak or tired and find it hard to concentrate. Folate keeps both the blood vessels and heart healthy, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and reduce the risk of some birth defects.  Folate often gets depleted in people with inflammatory arthritis taking methotrexate, a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Keep in mind that although eating high-folate foods is essential, it won't be enough to replenish the folate you lose from taking methotrexate. Talk to your healthcare provider for guidance. 

Asparagus is also a source of vitamin A and vitamin C.

Nutritional information (per serving*):

Calories: 450; Total Fat (20g); Saturated Fat (1g); Monounsaturated Fat (6g); Carbohydrates (40g); Fibre (5g); Sodium (665mg).  

Prep Time: 10 minutes   
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
*Servings: 4 (1 thigh and ¾ cup of quinoa)

Rosemary Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless skiness chicken thighs (approx. 1-1.5 lb total)
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Trim excess fat from the chicken, if any.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, rosemary and orange juice. Add chicken and coat it well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven at 425°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place the chicken thighs in the baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F or until fully cooked and the juices run clear.

Quinoa and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 15-20 thin spears asparagus (one bunch), ends trimmed, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Wash the quinoa in warm running water a few times to eliminate its slight bitter taste.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil in medium heat, add onions, garlic, and asparagus, cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove asparagus and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add broth, quinoa and salt and black pepper. Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes and cover.
  4. Mix asparagus with quinoa, cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until liquid had been absorbed. Total cooking time 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, toss and fluff with a fork. Mix in chopped basil leaves.

Extra tips:

  • Meal prep: place each chicken thigh and ¾ cup of cooked quinoa into 4 airtight containers for lunch or dinner. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Chicken thighs are considered dark meat due to its slightly higher fat content compared to chicken breast. Its tender and soft texture makes it a great alternative for people with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and swallowing difficulties. 
  • For extra high-quality plant-based protein, add ½ cup of thawed edamame to the quinoa at least 5 minutes before finish cooking.
  • For a 100% gluten-free meal, use gluten-free soy sauce to marinate the chicken.  
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