04 August 2010

Colorful Quinoa Fiesta

Born of a desire to not waste any food, this recipe uses a bunch of ingredients that I have onhand in my fridge and pantry. I hate wasting food, and when I found an unopened box of quinoa squirreled away in the back of my cupboard, I immediately started thinking about how I could use it. Granted, this recipe only used about 1/4 of the box, but it's going to be the first of several recipes dedicated to this delicious and versatile ingredient. If you're new to quinoa, see the note at the side of this page to read more about what it is and what you can do with it. When you're measuring and preparing the quinoa, just remember that a little bit goes a long way. You may think you're not making enough, but it seems to multiply when it's cooked :)
You can use whatever ingredients you would like in this recipe, I just took the opportunity to use what I had here. I also made it into a main dish, which is another reason for so many ingredients. Feel free to add or subtract and to experiment! That is the best thing about cooking...the ability to take a basic recipe and change it however you want. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did (and will do again for a snack later)

Here's my Recipe: Serves 3 as a main dish or 4-8 as a side


  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa (be sure to rinse it well unless you have the pre-washed variety)
  • 1 cup organic, low-sodium vegetable broth (you could use water if you prefer)
  • 1 very small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 very small summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2/3 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to your taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • A few shakes of chili powder (probably less than 1/8 tsp)


  1. Put chopped almonds into a small saucepan over medium heat. You will stir them every 30 seconds for about 4 minutes, or until you can smell them lightly toasting. Remove from heat and from pan immediately so they don't burn. Set almonds aside.
  2. In same pan, place dried quinoa over medium-low heat. Stir almost constantly for about 3 minutes. You're very lightly toasting the quinoa to give it a slightly nuttier taste. As soon as the 3 minutes are up, pour the vegetable broth over the dry quinoa. Put the pan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover and cook, stirring twice for about 15 minutes over a medium-low heat. You'll know the quinoa is done when it becomes mostly transparent and the liquid is absorbed.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, get a large skillet heating over a medium heat. Add the oil and spread around the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, zucchini and squash. Cook about 5-6 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the zucchini and squash are softened. I used 2 large wooden spoons to flip the veggies partway through cooking.
  4. Add in the corn, peas, bell pepper, chickpeas and cook for another few minutes to heat thoroughly. Add in spices to your tastes.
  5. By now, the quinoa should be all done cooking. Fluff it with a fork and add to the veggie skillet. Mix in your almonds and heat about 2 minutes to allow the flavors to all come together.
  6. Remove from heat and serve up right away.