Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa and Fiesta Vegetable Skillet: the benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables

Quinoa and Fiesta Vegetable Skillet recipe at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Dandelion Greens Salad

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Dandelion Greens Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Meatless Monday: The Passionate Vegetable cookbook review and a recipe for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

California Fiesta Quinoa Salad from The Passionate Vegetable cookbook

Has your family participated in Meatless Monday yet? Maybe you’re reluctant to because someone in your family thinks veggies are yucky. Or maybe you’re just perplexed on how to cook up a vegetarian dish that’s filling and will be liked by all family members. That’s why you have to check out the new cookbook by Suzanne Landry, The Passionate Vegetable. Her health inspired recipes  promise to revitalize your life whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover.

You can tell that Suzanne is a health educator, because The Passionate Vegetable is as educational as it is inspirational. The cookbook includes a simple guide to food nutrition, suggestions for healthy vegetarian meals, transition recipes for the meat lover (love this!), and a guide to remaking your pantry to be healthier and vegetarian friendly. The Passionate Vegetable contains over 145 recipes including breakfasts, salads, soups, grains and bean dishes, and entries, as well as a chapter devoted to meat and healthy treats and desserts. It also features fantastic food photography for some but not all her recipes, unfortunately. Recipes I’m looking forward to making include Ratatouille over Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese.

Summer salads

With the weather getting warmer, I’m on the lookout for recipes that require a minimum of cooking and are more on the light side. This recipe from The Passionate Vegetable for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad fits the bill, since you can make it ahead of time in the morning when it’s cooler. Quinoa makes a terrific main dish since it’s an excellent source of vegetarian protein and it’s gluten free. Suzanne suggests adding leftover quinoa salad to scrambled eggs – just before the eggs set hard, add 1/4 cup and give it a stir. She likes this egg and quinoa salad dish for breakfast, but you could make it for lunch or dinner, too!

California Fiesta Quinoa Salad

Recipe from The Passionate Vegetable by Suzanne Landry from Health Inspired Publishing

Serves 6

Salad ingredients:The Passionate Vegetable

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4  teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4  cup tomato, chopped (1 medium tomato)
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped (1 stalk)
  • 1/2  cup cucumber, seeded and chopped (1 medium cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (4 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata are the best!)

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1   teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 2   tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon sea salt


  • Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Place in boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed.  Remove from pot into a large bowl and allow to cool before adding vegetables.
  • Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch slabs and remove most of the seeds.  Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½-inch cubes.  This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces that won’t get mushy if the salad isn’t eaten right away.
  • Cut celery by slicing down the rib in the center of the stalk. If the stalk is large you might want to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Slice cucumber lengthwise into 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop these strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans, and olives.
  • Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together.  Toss lightly with salad.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.  This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe and picture used with permission.

Wine and Rosemary Quinoa

Wine and Rosemary Quinoa at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Coconut Quinoa Salad #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

Coconut Quinoa Salad

Here’s another wonderful gluten free recipe the folks at San-J sent me from Amie Valpone of The Happy Apple. It would make a terrific side dish most nights, but is perfect for Meatless Monday as a main dish since quinoa is an excellent source of vegetarian protein – just double the amounts so you have plenty to serve. 

Coconut Quinoa Salad

By Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple

Serves 6


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked shelled edamame
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup finely diced red bell peppers
  • 4 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 scallion, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the salad by combining edamame, beans, red peppers, mushrooms, scallion, dried cranberries, coconut and carrot.
  3. Remove quinoa from heat; set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa to the bowl of salad ingredients.
  4. Pour San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing on top; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, parsley, lime zest, sea salt and pepper.

Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.

Summer salads: Quinoa Tabbouleh #glutenfree #CleverElectrolux #spon

Quinoa Tabbouleh

One of the ways I love saving time in the kitchen, especially in the summer months when it’s too hot to cook, is by grilling and making a salad as a side dish. One of my new favorites is this Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe I found in the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Quinoa is a favorite grain (it’s actually a seed) with folks who are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan because it’s a complete protein and contains no gluten. Due to its protein content, you could serve this as a main dish, too.

My family loved this salad, especially my son and husband. I made a few substitutes like using mini heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s instead of cherry tomatoes and zucchini instead of cucumbers due to my food sensitivities. Play around with the recipe on your own. For example, try cilantro instead of parsley, summer squash instead of cucumbers, and dill instead of mint. Make a double batch so you have leftovers for lunch, too.


Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Based on a recipe from Bon Appetit


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 large zucchini cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 (16 ounce) container mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Follow the directions on your box or bag of quinoa to cook up 1 cup. I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa, which has you bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Then you reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6
  • Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 290
  • Total Fat: 21g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated fat: 18g
  • Sodium: 170mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Saving time in the kitchen

Having quality appliances is another way you can save time in the kitchen. Believe me, I’m suffering this now in our new home with a horrible 20-year-old stove top with only two burners.

Speaking of time saving, Electrolux induction cooktops and ranges combine the power of gas with the easy clean-up of electric, so you can boil water in just 90 seconds!1 An induction stove top is on my wish list when we do our kitchen remodel. Don’t know what they are? Then watch this video from Electrolux:

Cool, right?

What other ways can having the right appliances help you save time in the kitchen? 

110" induction burner with Power Boost, 6 qt./10" diameter pot, 1 qt. tepid water

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash with Quinoa

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash with Quinoa  from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Healthy Slow Cooker Hoppin’ John

Get the recipe for Healthy Slow Cooker Hoppin John at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. It's the perfect recipe for New Year's Day!

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Gluten free cooking with quinoa #gfcommunity

quinoaHave you ever cooked with or eaten quinoa? For those of you unfamiliar with it, quinoa is a seed not a grain, though it looks and cooks up like one. It’s high in protein and best of all is gluten free.

Here are some of the recipes  I’ve used quinoa in here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet:

Most of the time I like to have it plain with a little butter and salt or maybe some feta crumbles.

How do you like to cook up quinoa? Let’s discuss at the Udi’s Gluten Free Community or in the chat box below!

Disclosure: As a Udi's Gluten Free Community Leader I'm compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf.

Gluten Free Mango Quinoa Halwa

Gluten Free Mango Quinoa Halwa recipe at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Healthy holiday recipes: Quinoa with Pomegranate Arils and Goat Cheese #glutenfree

quinoa with pomegramates arils & goat cheeseAdding pomegranates to your holiday recipes is a delicious way to  to stay healthy during the holiday season since pomegranates are high in antioxidants. Pomegranate juice, like the kind made by POM Wonderful, is also wonderful alternative to high calorie/no nutritional value cocktails. Just add a little seltzer and maybe a squeeze of lime or some mint leaves and you have a lovely mock tail that’s yummy and good for you!

Cooking with pomegranates

I’ve been a fan of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice for years and have used it to create:

Even so, I’ve never cooked with pomegranate arils, the little “beads” that are inside pomegranate fruit. However, thanks to POM and celebrity chef Zoe Nathan, I’m inspired!

Zoe Nathan is the head baker and pastry chef at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen in Santa Monica, California. She and her husband/business partner, Josh Loeb, also run Huckleberry Café and Bakery. She created this quinoa and arils dish, which would be a perfect entree for any vegetarians at your holiday dinner table. (If there are vegans present – or guest avoiding milk products – substitute a vegan soy, rice or almond milk cheese for the goat cheese.) It’s also gluten free and would make a lovely side holiday dish with its green and red colors. (Just remember to halve the portion!)

quinoa with pomegramates arils & goat cheese

Quinoa with Pomegranate Arils and Goat Cheese

Recipe by Chef Zoe Nathan courtesy of POM Wonderful


  • 1 cup arils from 1–2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Score 1–2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  5. Remove quinoa from saucepan and spread out over sheet tray and let it cool (it stops the cooking process).
  6. Mix in the mint, pomegranate arils and goat cheese.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and some olive oil to taste. Serve.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Calories: 400
  • Calories from Fat: 140
  • Total Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated fat: 8g
  • Sodium: 1330mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Sugar: 23g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg

$1 off POM Wonderful coupon

To make your pomegranate cooking even easier and less time consuming, use POM Wonderful Fresh Arils instead of trying to remove the arils from the fruit – less messier for sure!

There’s also a $1 off coupon available on the POM website. Just click on it, fill out your email and zip code, and print it out.

Picture courtesy of POM Wonderful.

Quinoa and Venison Stuffed Pumpkin

Quinoa and Venison Stuffed Pumpkin. Learn how to make this healthy gluten free dish at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Healthy Chicken Adobo with Quinoa

Healthy Chicken AdoboWhenever I see that chicken’s on sale, I immediately think Chicken Adobo! This week at Smart & Final‘s Smart Savings, the family pack of Foster Farms fresh bone-in chicken breasts at $ .99/pound is just perfect for this easy chicken recipe.

Chicken Adobo, which we call “Pootie Chicken” (long story) was one of the first dishes my husband cooked for me. Not only is it easy and inexpensive to make, but it’s healthy, too, as long as you do a few things:

  • remove the chicken skin
  • use a low sodium soy sauce
  • serve with steamed veggies like summer squash or broccoli and quinoa instead of white rice

Healthy Chicken Adobo with Quinoa


  • 3 to 4 Foster Farms fresh bone-in chicken breasts (one per person – those with smaller appetites can split a breast)
  • 2 to 3 small onions, chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

Sides ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • water to cook quinoa per package directions
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables


  1. Remove chicken skins from the breasts. Put them in a freezer bag and save them for the next time you make homemade chicken broth.
  2. Place chicken, chopped onions, and garlic in a medium to large cooking pot. (I used my 3.5 quart  Le Creuset French Oven.)
  3. Add soy sauce, vinegar and water. The liquids should cover the chicken. If not, add a little more water.
  4. Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover and lower temperature. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. While chicken is cooking, prepare frozen vegetables and quinoa.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Weight Watchers POINTS

  • 1 ounce of chicken breast = 1 POINT
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa = 4 POINTS
  • vegetables are “free”

A healthy meal would be 6 ounces of Chicken Adobo, plus 1/2 cup of quinoa, plus 1 cup (or more) or steamed vegetables – 8 Weight Watchers POINTS.

A healthy, gluten free summer dish: Cherry Quinoa & Shrimp

After a very meat-heavy July 4th weekend, I’m looking to make something lighter. This recipe from Northwest Cherries fits the bill – quinoa, shrimp and cherries. Yes, cherries, which are on sale this time of year and oh-so-good for you.

Not only is this dish high in protein and fiber, it’s low in calories and gluten free, too. If you’re doing Weight Watchers, each serving is only 4 POINTS.

Update: I made this dish tonight and it was terrific! I doubled the recipe, substituted jalapeno peppers for the Anaheims (and used half the amount). I also used 2 tablespoons dried parsley instead of 1/2 cup fresh. It was slightly spicy, but not overpoweringly so.

Cherry Quinoa & Shrimp

From Northwest Cherries

Yield:6 servings

bowl of cherries Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Anaheim pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
  • 8 ounces small cooked peeled shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Prepared salsa, optional


  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Add broth, quinoa, Anaheim pepper, salt, and ground pepper. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 12 to 18 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  3. Fluff mixture with a fork and gently stir in cherries, shrimp, and parsley.
  4. Serve with salsa, if desired.

Nutritional information

215 Cal., 13.1 g protein, 5.5 g fat (23% Cal. from fat), 29.5 g carb., 74 mg chol., 3.3 g fiber, 596 mg sodium.

Weight Watchers POINTS = 4

This Mama’s Tips:

  • If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you could try using a chopstick or plastic straw to remove the pits. In this recipe, a few torn apart cherries is no big deal. But take my word for it, buy a cherry pitter.
  • You can make this vegetarian by using veggie broth instead of chicken broth and substituting tofu for shrimp.
  • Check out the Northwest Cherries website for the latest health information about Northwest cherries as well as recipe ideas and tips on freezing, canning and drying cherries.
  • You can learn more about cherries at Health Castle’s Food of the Month – Cherries.