Tag Archive | quinoa

Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan

I was so excited to find this one because I know when it comes time to counsel gluten-free patients, it’s going to a be a bit of a challenge.  So much of my diet is focused around wheat products for their rich nutrients, that I don’t really explore the gluten-free world.  This recipe is a great spin on the classic that saves you some carbohydrate in place of extra protein.  I just hope my Italian grandfather isn’t looking down from heaven ashamed of me for leaving out the pasta!  This recipe is gluten free as long as you do not include the whole wheat breadcrumbs.


Although the above picture looks like a lot of cheese, it’s really only 1 cup total which is a reasonable portion divided by the six servings.  It always gives me a good laugh when I see pins on pinterest that consist of a meal loaded with cheese with a few vegetables scattered underneath and the pin claims a “healthy meal.”  Please be cautious when you see this!  A meal with an abundant amount of cheese is a red flag to a false claim.


Baked Quinoa & Chicken Parmesan– very slightly adapted from Prevention RD

Serves: 6

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium tomato sauce

1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp. dried basil

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

Black pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1.5 cups water

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup reduced fat (2%) mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

1 oz parmesan cheese, shredded

3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and trim chicken, place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Set aside.
  3. Increase oven heat to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. Place rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups water in a medium pot.  Cover and bring pot to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes or as per package directions.
  5. To make the sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping off the bottom of the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is almost fully absorbed.  Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning and black pepper to taste.  Bring to a low boil and simmer until rest of the meal is prepared.
  6. Once chicken and quinoa have finished cooking, add to sauce pan (turn heat off) and mix thoroughly.  Place half of the mixture in the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.  Add other half of mixture and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, 1 oz parmesan, and 3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 10 more minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 336 calories, 9.5g fat, 32g carbohydrate (5g fiber), 30g protein


Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa salads because they are so easy and friendly for those who eat gluten free.  This one is probably best served at room temperature, so you also don’t have to worry about keeping it hot while the rest of your food cooks.  Feel free to alter the nuts or exchange the raisins for cranberries or whatever you happen to like best!


Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

Serves: 6

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped & toasted

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked

1.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place cubed and peeled sweet potato on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once cooked, remove from the oven, allow to cool and set aside.
  3. Using the same cookie sheet used to cook the sweet potato, place chopped walnuts into the oven for about 6 minutes until toasted.
  4. Cook quinoa according to package directions in vegetable broth.  Once cooked, cool and set aside.
  5. Mix all ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
  6. Combine sweet potato, toasted walnuts, golden raisins, fresh parsley, and quinoa in a medium sized bowl.  Coat with dressing and mix well.

Nutrition Facts (per side serving): 330 calories, 19g fat (2g saturated fat), 34g carbohydrate (5g fiber), 6g protein

Grape & Walnut Quinoa Salad

We have a winner! I loved the mixture of sweet, crunchy and slight heat in this salad. The prep is really easy too, so make this on Sunday and enjoy for lunches throughout the week. This recipe is a great way to get protein, fiber and healthy fats into your meal. So, enjoy!


Grape & Walnut Quinoa Salad
Serves: 6

1.5 cups water
1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed (buy fair-trade!)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/3 cup un-salted walnuts, chopped
4 medium radishes, sliced
3 scallions, white & green parts, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

Ginger-Apple Vinaigrette
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1) Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2) Mix vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, whisk until blended.
2) Once quinoa is cooled, mix with above ingredients. Pour vinaigrette over top of salad and mix well. Serve or chill in refrigerator to serve later.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 289 calories, 17g fat(2g saturated), 30g carbohydrate(3.5g fiber), 7g protein

(My Own!) Stuffed Banana Peppers

I’m very excited about this post because this is my first main course meal that I invented entirely on my own!  I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I did :)


Stuffed Banana Peppers with Quinoa and Chicken Sausage

Serves: 6 stuffed peppers

1/2 lb fire roasted chicken sausage

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 white onion, diced

1 orange pepper, diced

1.5 tbsp olive oil

6 banana peppers

1 cup reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese

14.5 oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth

28 oz can low-sodium crushed tomatoes, divided

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt & pepper to taste

Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Boil a large pot of water.
  2. Chop the tops off the banana peppers and clean them of all seeds by making a long slit down the side of the pepper lengthwise.
  3. Once water is boiling, add banana peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. While peppers cook, rinse quinoa thoroughly (I use a very fine colander so quinoa won’t slip through the holes).
  5. Heat a olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, saute onion, sausage and orange pepper until vegetables are tender and sausage is cooked, about 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic in last 3 minutes of cooking.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F
  7. Add half of crushed tomatoes can, quinoa, chicken broth, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Turn the heat off and mix in the cheese.
  9. Place 2-3 spoonfuls of remaining 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes on bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish.  Place cooked, sliced open banana peppers into the dish.  Stuff each pepper with about 3/4 cup of the sausage-quinoa mixture or enough to fill it.  Divide what is remaining in the crushed tomatoes can across the tops of the six peppers, then top with a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until warmed through.
  11. Serve with mixed greens salad of your choice.


Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

This recipe is a great vegetarian meal with a lot of protein from the black beans, Greek yogurt and quinoa, and healthy fats from the avocado.  I also went heavy on the tomato topping to add extra nutrition.  It was a happy moment for me when Dan asked for more “sour cream,” meaning I had successfully fooled him into eating Greek yogurt!  This really is a vegetarian meal that even a meat lover will be full after eating, remember protein is not just meat!!

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls slightly adapted from Prevention RD

Serves: 3-4

2 cups low sodium chicken broth (sub for water if vegetarian)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (if you like cilantro- add it in!)
2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (I used the refrigerated bottle of lime juice)
2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 avocado, pitted and diced
1/4 cup pineapple salsa

10-15 blue corn tortilla chips (for dipping)


  1. Heat chicken broth (or water) in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add quinoa, stir, and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add black beans, half of cilantro, chili powder, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until quinoa is finished.
  4. When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  5. To assemble bowls, divide quinoa between three bowls. Top with black beans, tomatoes, yogurt, cheese, avocado, and salsa. Serve warm.

Quinoa Corn Edamame Salad

This is going to be a pretty weak post, I’ll say it right now.  I had a big, brain draining test yesterday and as you can see, I’m barely getting this post in before midnight.

This salad was perfect, I didn’t change a thing from the original, so it’s only fair that I link you right to the blog I got it from.  What I love about it is that it made a LOT (it was leftover lunch for a few days).  If you’re not familiar with quinoa, you’re missing out!  It’s has a grain texture, similar to that of couscous, but unlike other grains it is high in protein.  It’s great for vegetarians because it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids. “Essential” means that they can not be made by the body, and must be consumed.  For vegetarians to get the same protein as a meat eater, they need to be cautious of matching foods that provide all of the essential amino acids (i.e. rice and beans), so it is nice that quinoa has already done that for them.  It’s also great because it kind of takes on the flavors that it is mixed with, and is not a strong flavor alone.

One important thing to look for when you buy quinoa is the stamp of “fair trade.”  Quinoa actually originates in the warm climates of Peru and Bolivia, where it was a staple crop for the people there.  Unfortunately since it has become so popular in America, we are willing to pay a lot more for it and the people who relied on it to survive can now no longer afford it.  It’s very sad, so please buy a “fair trade” stamped package, even if it is a bit more, in order to ensure that a fair price was paid for the grain and those people are not being taken advantage of.  Well enough of the nutrition lesson, and I hope you give the recipe a try! ;)

Quinoa Corn Edamame Salad

I served with a 5 oz piece of salmon and side salad of spinach