Tag Archives: quinoa

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.

Shrimp Puttanesca with Quinoa

Shrimp Puttanesca with Quinoa

The folks at The Wine Bar recently hired me to create a recipe inspired by their wines. I told my contact there that I love Malbecs, Zinfandels and was open to a suggestion on a white wine, since I hadn’t made up my mind to create a beef or seafood dish. Soon a package arrived in the mail with three wonderful wines:

  • Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio (2011) –  Imported from Italy, this wine has tropical fruit overtones with a lemony finish. Slightly chilled, this would go well with light dishes from salad to seafood.
  • Dynamite Vineyard Zinfandel (2010) – Cellared and bottled in Sonoma, California this wine features smooth, fruity flavors that go well with boldly flavored foods.
  • Stark Raving Malbec – Imported from Agentina, this wine has soft notes of berries combined with the smokiness of bacon.

While I enjoyed all three of the wines, the Stark Raving Malbec was my favorite. Immensely drinkable, this wine goes well with food or for sipping while preparing dinner. I’ll be on the lookout at my favorite liquor store for more wines from Stark Raving for sure!

What to cook? Must play well with wine!

When figuring out what I was going to make, I thought that I should use one of the wines directly in the dish. I also wanted the food to go with at least two if not all of three of the wines. In addition, the recipe had to be healthy, gluten free, and easy to make on a weeknight.

After having a wonderful meal out with my family at a local Italian restaurant, I thought that recreating that night’s dinner – shrimp puttanesca - would fit all the above requirements, especially since it takes about 30 minutes to make. Shrimp puttanesca is also the embodiment of the healthy Mediterranean diet – olives, seafood, tomatoes, garlic, wine and onions. In addition, I love puttanesca for its combination of spicy and salty.

While it’s usually served on spaghetti, I decided to do something different by serving the puttanesca on quinoa since I know many kids are fussy about shrimp. Most of the time they won’t eat them, which means two things: more shrimp for the adults (score!) and no protein for the kids. By serving the puttanesca on quinoa, the kids will still get a good serving of protein even if they won’t touch the shrimp. However, if you don’t have any quinoa in the house, feel free to serve the shrimp puttanesca on your favorite whole wheat or gluten free pasta.

Now, about the anchovies. I adore them, but feel free to leave the anchovies out if they’re not your thing. With the shrimp, you can use precooked, shelled, deveined, tail off shrimp from the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery or warehouse store – much more convenient! As for the grated cheese, even though I specify Pecorino Romano, you can use any type of Romano style cheese you like. But please, none of that “sprinkle cheese” from the green can! As Liz Lemon would say, “Blaarg!”

Shrimp Puttanesca with Quinoa

Shrimp Puttanesca with Quinoa

Based on recipes from Allrecipes.com and FineCooking.com

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients for the puttanesca:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper paste or 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio)
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 25 Kalmata olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined with tails removed (if using frozen shrimp, defrost before cooking)
  • 4 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden. (If your garlic starts to turn brown, lower the heat!)
  3. Add the onion, oregano, pepper paste (or flakes), and wine and simmer until the wine has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes along with their juice, olives and capers. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower to maintain a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile cook the quinoa. (See below.)
  6. After the sauce has thickened, add the shrimp and (optional) anchovies. Stirring occasionally, cook shrimp until they start to turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. (If using precooked shrimp, cook until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.) Do not overcook the shrimp or they’ll get rubbery!
  7. To serve, place quinoa on plates and spoon sauce and shrimp on top. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. For a more casual serving style, add quinoa and 1/4 cup of grated cheese to the skillet. Stir well to blend with the sauce. Serve in bowls with the rest of the grated cheese on the side.

Ingredients for the quinoa:

  • 2 cups vegetable, chicken or ham broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

Directions for the quinoa:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce temperature to low and cover with lid.
  4. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until quinoa is cooked and liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Wine and Rosemary Quinoa

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

On the Udi’s Gluten Free Community website, one of the naturally gluten free foods my fellow community leaders and I like to recommend to members is quinoa. It’s a terrific source of vegetarian protein, too. However, lately I’ve noticed that my kids don’t like it all that much. In fact, they tell me quinoa tastes kind of gross. One way I combat that is by rinsing the quinoa before cooking. Another thing I try to do is dress it up by combining it with salt, spices, and some veggie add-ins like diced roasted peppers during the cooking process.

One successful quinoa recipe I regularly feed to my family is based on this recipe from Mizkan. Instead of couscous, I use quinoa (I use Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa) and have adjusted the amounts of water and Holland House White Cooking Wine accordingly. It makes a great side dish when serving grilled steaks or smoked beer can chicken, and it makes great use of the rosemary we have growing in the garden.

In the pictures, it’s hard to see the tiny bits of rosemary. Believe me, it’s there. Also, I checked the ingredients of Holland House's cooking wine, and it's gluten free, too.

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

Wine and Rosemary Quinoa


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Holland House® White Cooking Wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped )
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the quinoa.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Let boil for 1 minute.
  3. Remove cover, pour in quinoa, and replace cover.
  4. Bring back to a full boil, then turn heat down to medium low.
  5. Bring back to a full boil, then turn heat down to medium low.
  6. Cook for 12 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed by quinoa.
  7. Remove from burner and let sit for 15 minutes. (Keep lid on.)
  8. Remove lid, stir quinoa and serve.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

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

Save money with Holland House

You can download a coupon for 50 cents off your next purchase of Holland House cooking wine here. Also, for more recipes using Holland House, sign up for Mizkan’s Splash for Cash e-newsletter for a chance to win up to $600. (Mizkan is Holland House’s parent company.) Finally you can connect with Holland House on Facebook.

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

Mizkan, the parent company of Holland House, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

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

I cannot believe we’re moving to Athens, Georgia in less than two weeks! We’re trying to cut down on the amount of stuff to pack, so the kids and I are in the process of consuming all the foodstuffs we can. That’s why I discovered one last package of venison in the freezer. Surprisingly it was stew meat, which was perfect to make Crock-Pot Hungarian Goulash from Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment!

Yes, another slow cooker recipe for the Secret Recipe Club post. This is the third in a row after last month’s Healthy Slow Cooker Hoppin’ John and March’s Healthy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili. Hope you don’t mind, but when you have a small kitchen like I do in my temporary Boulder apartment, a slow cooker comes in handy!

I only made a few changes to Heather’s recipe. To make it gluten free, I used starch instead of flour and served it on quinoa instead of egg noodles. I also used coconut palm sugar instead of brown sugar, sea salt instead of regular table salt, and smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. Feel free to use whatever substitutes you wish depending on your food sensitivities and what you have on hand.

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

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash with Quinoa


  • 2 pounds lean stew meat (beef or venison), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon corn or rice starch
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa


  1. Place the meat in a 5 quart slow cooker and cover with the sliced onion.
  2. Combine the garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, coconut palm sugar, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and dry mustard. Stir in the water and mix well. Then pour mixture over the meat in the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. If mixture gets dry, add more water (1/2 cup at a time).
  4. Just before serving, remove a couple of tablespoons of liquid from the slow cooker and put into a small bowl. Add corn or rice starch and stir until dissolved. Pour starch mixture into the slow cooker and stir until goulash thickens.
  5. Spoon goulash over quinoa and serve.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 6 Hours
Total Time: 6 Hours 15 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6
  • Calories: 412
  • Calories from Fat: 46
  • Total Fat: 5.1g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Unsaturated fat: .1g
  • Sodium: 681mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 46.7g
  • Sugar: 8.5g
  • Fiber: 4.5g
  • Protein: 41.7g

More from the Secret Recipe Club!

Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? You can sign up here.

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

Mango Quinoa Halwa

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was partnered with Jayasri of Samayalarai – Cooking is Divine. Jayasri's Indian and lives in the UK, and likes to cook up traditional dishes as well as try out Western ones. I had a tough time choosing a recipe because I wanted to cook up an Indian dish but didn’t want to use ingredients that would be hard for my readers to find. I also wanted to make something that was healthy and her recipe for Mango - Quinoa Halwa in Microwave seemed to be a good choice on both counts.

Halwa is a sweet Indian dish. It’s usually made with lots of ghee (clarified butter) and can be made with carrots, banana, or semolina boiled with milk, almonds, sugar, and cardamom. Jayasri’s recipe used quinoa, which is full of healthy, vegetarian protein and is naturally gluten free.

However, I was puzzled by her microwave directions. Obviously, UK and US microwaves are very different! I decided to make my version on the stove top. I also wanted to health things up by using coconut oil for ghee and coconut milk for cow’s milk, which turned the recipe into a vegan dish. I eliminated calories by using stevia instead of sugar, and didn’t include almonds because of my daughter, Lucie’s nut allergies.

When I was researching halwa dishes, I noticed that Mythreyee of Paajaka Recipes used saffron in her Microwave Mango Halwa. Since I had a little bottle in the cupboard, I decided to use that, too.

Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? You can sign up here.

Mango Quinoa Halwa

Gluten Free Mango Quinoa Halwa

Based on a recipe from Samayalarai – Cooking is Divine


  • 1 cup mango pulp (2 mangoes), pureed
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 4 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3-4 saffron threads (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raisins


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Cut and peel the mangos and remove the pulp. Puree in a small food processor or blender.
  3. Place pureed mango, cooked quinoa, coconut milk, stevia, cardamom and saffron (if using) in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Stir to blend.
  4. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until mixture starts to bubble.
  5. Add the coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  6. Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken. This should take 10 to 12 minutes. The halwa should be thick like oatmeal and glossy from the coconut oil.
  7. Add raisins and stir until evenly distributed and heated through.
  8. Dish warm halwa into small bowls and serve immediately.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 4
  • Calories: 354
  • Calories from Fat: 178
  • Total Fat: 19.8g
  • Saturated fat: 15.3g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 40.8g
  • Sugar: 12.0g
  • Fiber: 4.2g
  • Protein: 6.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

More from the Secret Recipe Club!

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.

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.

Quinoa “Fried Rice” with Pork

quinoa fried rice with porkAfter Thanksgiving, I made Turkey Fried Rice based on a recipe on the Kikkoman website. (See my post Brining the turkey with Kikkoman soy sauce.) My family loved it, so faced with Christmas pork roast leftovers, I was going to make the same dish, but this time with pork instead of turkey and quinoa instead of rice.

If you want to serve this as a main dish, mix in some steamed veggies like broccoli, zucchini, squash, peppers, and cauliflower. It’s already packed with protein – a whopping 18.4 grams per serving – so all it needs is some vegetables to make it a complete meal.

Quinoa “Fried Rice” with pork

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 green onions and tops, chopped
  • 8 ounces diced cooked pork loin tenderloin
  • 1 carrot, cut in julienne strips
  • 3 egg whites slightly beaten
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Prepare quinoa as directed on the package label.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet.
  3. Add next 3 ingredients and stir fry until carrots are tender, yet crisp.
  4. Add egg and cook, stirring gently, until cooked.
  5. Mix in cooked quinoa and soy sauce.
  6. Cook until quinoa is thoroughly heated and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Nutritional information from Calorie Count per serving

Calories 455
Calories from Fat 83
Total Fat 9.3g
Sodium 342mg
Total Carbohydrates 74.8g
Dietary Fiber 8.4g
Sugars 0.9g
Protein 18.4g
Vitamin A 36%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 6%
Iron 30%
Nutrition Grade A-

Weight Watchers POINTS per serving = 9 (To reduce POINTS halve portion and add steamed veggies.)


  • I used 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa, which I cooked in 2 cups of beef broth for 12 minutes. Then I let it sit for an additional 15 minutes as per the directions. This made approximately 4 cups of cooked quinoa. You can use water or other types of broth to cook quinoa in as well.
  • If you’re gluten free, use gluten free tamari sauce instead of soy sauce.
  • For those watching their salt intake, use a low sodium soy sauce.

More quinoa recipes:

More quinoa: Weight Watchers Quinoa Salad

The Farmers Market CookbookChef Richard Ruben of the Institute of Culinary Education and author of The Farmer's Market Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Using the Freshest Ingredients developed and this recipe specifically for Weight Watchers as a way to incorporate gourmet food into a healthy lifestyle. 

Weight Watchers Quinoa Salad

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 celery stalks - minced
  • 1 cucumber – peeled, seeds removed and minced
  • 6 to 8 radishes - chopped
  • 5 scallions – roots trimmed and minced
  • 2 oranges peeled and cut into segments
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts - toasted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Over a medium flame heat a one-quart saucepan, and add the quinoa.
  2. Toast the quinoa for a few minutes and then pour over 1-1/2 cups water.
  3. Cover with a tight fitting lid and lower the heat to a medium low. Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes.
  4. Shut off the heat and allow the quinoa sit for 10 minutes.
  5. In a clean bowl toss all the ingredients together to thoroughly combine.
  6. Correct seasoning and serve.

Nutritional information

  • Calories 225
  • Calories from Fat 93
  • Total Fat 10.3g
  • Saturated Fat 1.1g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 11mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 29.3g
  • Dietary Fiber 4.5g
  • Sugars 7.3g
  • Protein 6.1g
  • Vitamin A 10% RDA
  • Vitamin C 64% RDA
  • Calcium 6% RDA
  • Iron 12%

Nutrition Grade A- from Calorie Count

Weight Watchers POINTS = 5 (to lower to 3 POINTS eliminate the pine nuts)

Quinoa Meatloaf with Sundried Tomatoes

Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds and is considered a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal. Nutritionally, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids and is a good source of protein. It's also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest, too.

This all makes it a terrific food to add to your every day cooking, which is why I bought the nearly 4 pound bag of Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa at Costco. I figured I’d come across a quinoa recipe I would want to make like this one in the Denver Post for Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf.

The recipe comes from Nirmala's Edible Diary: A Hungry Traveler's Cookbook with Recipes from 14 Countries and has more of a Mexican flare since it featured jalapenos and ground cumin. Instead, wanting to use the jar of Mezzetta Sun Ripened Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, I decided to remake it with an Italian flare.

Quinoa Meatloaf with Sundried Tomatoes (gluten free)


For the quinoa

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water

For the meatloaf

  • Mezzetta Sun Riped Dried Tomatoes 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 8-ounce jar of Mezzetta Sun Ripened Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil (Tomatoes drained and chopped into small pieces. Rinse to remove extra oil.)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 pound ground venison (Feel free to use any kind of ground lean meat like beef or turkey.)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 clove of garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of egg white substitute
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To cook quinoa:

  1. Place dried quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Rinse and drain well.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the drained quinoa and water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

To make meatloaf:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a glass loaf pan with a cooking spray.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and basil and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, turn oven off, and let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes more.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Nutrition information from Calorie Count, amount per serving

Calories 372
Total Fat 13.9g
Saturated Fat 4.1g
Cholesterol 74mg
Sodium 400mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.1g
Dietary Fiber 4.5g
Sugars 2.8g
Protein 28.3g
Vitamin A 10% RDA
Vitamin C 14% RDA
Calcium 6% RDA
Iron 30% RDA

Nutrition Grade A

Weight Watchers POINTS = 8 (reduce portion size to lower POINTS)


Disclosure: Mezzetta provided me with a jar of Sun Ripened Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil to sample.