Taste of the World: Quinoa with a Latino Twist

Bolivians have lived off quinoa for centuries but the demand has recently soared in many countries, including the US. It has a light crunch and when cooked, it has a nutty flavor and becomes translucent.

Although most consider it a grain, it’s actually related to leafy greens such as spinach and we all know that’s good for you.

In this dish, we paired the high-protein quinoa with traditional Latin flavors and more veggies. Everything is good about this meal.


• 1-12 ounce box quinoa
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• ½ cup Spanish onion, diced
• ½ cup green, yellow or red bell pepper, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1-4 ounce can diced tomato and green chilies
• 2 ½ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth or water
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼  teaspoon salt
• ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
• ½ cup chopped scallions
• Juice of half a lime
• 1 cup Italian blend cheeses, shredded


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and garlic; stir for another 30 seconds.  Add diced tomatoes and stir until warm about 1 minute.
2. Add the quinoa, vegetable broth, cumin and salt. Mix well and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Add parsley, cilantro, scallions, lime juice and shredded cheese to the quinoa; mix gently.
6. Transfer quinoa mixture to a pie plate and press down gently.  Place in oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and top is lightly browned.
7. Let cool for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Elizabeth Carrion, a Dominican, co-founded Mi Cocina, a New Jersey-based catering service that also offers cooking classes, with her sister, Ana Martinez.

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