Sneak Peak into Healthy Cooking on a Budget

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Did the class Healthy Cooking on a Budget fill up before you got a chance to register? Well have no fears! I’m here to give you the inside scoop along with a delicious SCNC recipe!

The SCNC recognizes that eating well on a budget, especially a student’s budget, can be quite challenging. Each week Lauren Ferraro MS, RD teaches BU students how to stretch their dollar and get proper nutrition at the same time.

Meet Lauren Ferraro!

Lauren focused on the importance of whole grains and cooked up a Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad at the first cooking demo of the semester. This delicious recipe costs only $10 for 4 servings. That’s only $2.50 per serving!

Cooking with Quinoa

As an RD, Lauren loves quinoa because it is a versatile source of whole grains. Whole grains, such as quinoa, contain all 3 parts of the grain including the germ, endosperm and bran of the grain. With the 3 parts present, quinoa offers vitamins, nutrients, fiber and even antioxidants that refined grains lose in processing.

Quinoa is also a “complete protein” meaning it provides all 9 of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. Lauren points out that quinoa is more expensive than other whole grains, but it’s worth your money because the grain triples in size after it’s cooked!

Quick Tip: Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa before cooking to avoid a bitter after taste!


Save the nutrients!

The zucchini, eggplant, squash and spinach in this recipe are packed with nutrients but Lauren gives the following tips to make sure you get all the nutrients you can out of the veggies:

1. Leave the peel on!
When you peel the skin off vegetables, you’re also throwing away the fiber. Leave the skin on whenever possible

2. Chop fast!
Nutrients begin to diminish the moment a vegetable is chopped and exposed to oxygen through a process called oxidation. Chop vegetables as close to cook time as possible to reduce oxygen exposure time and nutrient loss.

3.Don’t over cook!
Raw vegetables contain the most nutrients. Generally, the longer you cook vegetables, the more nutrients are lost. Avoid over cooking and get the most nutrients for your dollar!

How should you cook your veggies?

Generally, steaming vegetables retains the most nutrients and boiling vegetables results in the greatest loss of nutrients. Lauren advises to steam veggies whenever possible. But if you must boil your vegetables, you can consume the lost nutrients by using the broth to cook other parts of the entrée. For example, use the broth from the boiled vegetables to cook rice or any other grain. The grain will then absorb the nutrient-rich broth and the nutrients will be consumed instead of wasted.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 Servings


1 cup zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup eggplant, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup butternut squash, cut into bite sized pieces
1 red pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt and pepper
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp oregano
2 cups baby spinach
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Toss zucchini, eggplant, butternut squash and red pepper in olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse quinoa through a fine strainer or paper towel. Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 min. Fluff with a fork.
  5. Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Toss roasted vegetables, spinach, cooked quinoa and dressing together in a large bowl. Enjoy!




Calories 290
Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Protein 9 g
Carbohydrate 38 g
Fiber 6 g
Sodium 250mg

Recipe modified



rian@diet for hypothyroidism posted on October 28, 2012 at 5:47 am

Great tips for cooking :). I’ll try these tips to keep the nutrients in every ingredients I use for cooking.

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Mansi posted on June 23, 2023 at 1:14 am

Healthy cooking is the art of nourishing your body while delighting your taste buds. It involves using fresh, whole ingredients, minimizing added fats and sugars, and employing cooking methods that preserve nutrients. By embracing healthy cooking, you can savor flavors guilt-free and promote your overall well-being.

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