By Briana Caruccio, Graduate Student, 2012

Experience the “Gold of the Incas!”

Due to its dense nutritional content and its historic ability to sustain Incan armies, quinoa has been thought of as a sacred grain. Not only is quinoa high in fiber, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, and phosphorous, it is even a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, this grain is both versatile and particularly nutritious for all types of diets.  Another bonus: it is gluten-free!

This recipe contains a unique flavor profile of lime, cilantro, pepper, and onion, producing a fresh and zesty meal.  Feel free to include your favorite vegetable or add shrimp, chicken, tofu or beef to increase the serving size.

The high cost of avocado brings this recipe to just under $4.00/serving. However, if you are tight on money, try substituting the avocado and experimenting with a less expensive option(s) such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, artichoke hearts, peas or purple potatoes.


First time cooking? Don’t be discouraged! This is an easy recipe to get your feet wet while also being money and health conscious. Here are a few resources that will help you sharpen your skills in no time. Learn how to cut the avocado and a bell pepper just like the professionals! Visit startcooking.com or YouTube.com for helpful videos for improving your cooking skills.

Here are a few to get you started!

Cutting an avocado: http://startcooking.com/blog/167/How-to-Cut-and-Peel-an-Avocado–A-Basic-Guide

Cutting a bell pepper: http://www.howcast.com/videos/107-How-To-Cut-a-Bell-Pepper


  • 1 1/3 cup dry quinoa
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chili peppers, drained
  • 1(15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1)   Bring quinoa, water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

2)   Meanwhile, stir together the lime juice, pepper, diced tomatoes, and garbanzo beans.

3)   Chop the orange and yellow pepper, and onion.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan and sauté the vegetables on medium heat until tender.

4)   Add the sautéed vegetables to tomato mixture.

5)   When the quinoa is done, stir it into the tomato mixture, and let cool for a couple of minutes. Fluff with a spoon, and gently fold in the cilantro, avocados, and cheese.


Serving for recipe: 4
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories: 500
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Protein: 18 g
Carbohydrate: 38 g
Fiber: 13 g
Sodium: 170mg

Note: This recipe makes a whole meal.  If you are interested in using this recipe as a side dish, cut the recipe and nutrient information in half.

Recipe modified from allrecipes.com


Energy Healing posted on May 3, 2012 at 3:01 am

It’s difficult to find well-informed people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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