Chilled Quinoa With Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

Chilled Quinoa with Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

I know I’ve given you all a lot of quinoa recipes, but this one is my favorite to date, and is sure to become my new go-to for summer! Not only is this chilled quinoa salad refreshing, but it’s hearty in all of the right places (offering a significant amount of protein and fiber) and low in all of the right places, since it is low in total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium! Also, this vegetarian dish offers complete protein (i.e. all of the body’s essential amino acids) from quinoa and edamame, so it’s great as a main dish or as a smaller portion as hearty side or snack!


Ingredients (yields about five – 3/4 C servings):

1 C quinoa, dry (rinsed and drained)

2 C water

1/3 C shelled edamame, unsalted (or rinsed and drained to remove excess salt)

1/2 C grated carrots

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, shelled and unsalted

3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped (optional: plus additional for garnish)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

dash salt

dash ground black pepper


1. Combine quinoa and water in medium-sized pot and bring to a rapid boil, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow quinoa to absorb the water (this should take about 15 minutes).

2. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring into a large mixing bowl. Add edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, cilantro leaves, salt and pepper.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Drizzle over quinoa salad and mix all ingredients. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves (if desired) and chill in refrigerator until cold (about 2 hours) if serving that same day.

*This dish is great for quick grab-and-go leftovers and keeps well in the fridge for about 5-7 days if sealed in an airtight container!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving ~3/4 C)

Calories 194 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 28 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 9 g, Sodium 44 mg, Calcium 56 mg


Quinoa with Seafood, Pecans and Veggies

Quinoa with Seafood, Pecans and Veggies

This simple dish is a great light meal for the summertime and provides lean protein from shrimp, scallops and quinoa, along with hearty fiber to keep you feeling full. Also, Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium, while pecans are a great source of magnesium. I love to make this dish early in the week and continue to eat the leftovers on busy workdays, so that I get to eat healthfully even when the craziness of the workweek makes it difficult.


Ingredients (serves 5):

1 C red quinoa

2 C low sodium vegetable broth

12 oz shrimp, deviated and tail-off

12 oz bay scallops

1 medium onion

1 C Brussels sprouts, halved

2 Tbsp oil (canola or olive oil work well)

1/4 C pecans

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Dash salt

nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook quinoa and vegetable broth according directions on box (1 C quinoa per 2 C vegetable broth).

3. Spray baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Spread Brussels sprouts in a thin, even layer. Drizzle 1 Tbsp oil  and a dash of garlic powder and pepper on Brussels sprouts, combine all ingredients well and roast in oven about 10 minutes. Add pecans, stir all ingredients on baking sheet together, and bake another 10 minutes.

4. Warm remaining oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add shrimp, scallops, cayenne pepper, remaining ground black pepper and garlic powder and salt. Sauté onions until softened and browned (about 7 minutes). Sauté shrimp and scallops until cooked through (about 7-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

5. Combine quinoa, seafood and vegetables in a large serving bowl and mix all ingredients together. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 319 calories, Total Fat 13 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Carbohydrates 29 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 23 g, Sodium 161 mg, Calcium 69 mg

Sautéed Scallops with Red Quinoa and Zucchini

Sautéed Scallops with Red Quinoa and Zucchini

This light dish is a perfect summer recipe, offering lots of lean protein and fiber. Additionally, this fresh seafood dish takes less than a half hour to make and is full of flavor, vitamins and minerals. Feeling like having a barbecue? Ditch the skillet and grill the zucchini and scallops outside for an even more summer-y flavor!


Ingredients (serves 2):

8 large scallops, raw (about 3/4 pound)

1/2 C quinoa, dry

1 C low sodium vegetable broth

1 zucchini, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil

3/4 tsp paprika

dash salt

dash ground black pepper (to taste)


1. Prepare quinoa as directed on box, replacing water with low-sodium vegetable broth, except cut the recipe in half (use 1/2 C dry quinoa with 1 C low-sodium vegetable broth).

2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add scallops and top with seasonings (paprika, salt, pepper). Cook approximately 15 minutes, flipping each scallop after about 8 minutes.

3. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and sauté until browned, about 7-10 minutes.

4. Add quinoa to skillet with zucchini. Combine and remove from heat.

5. Divide quinoa and zucchini mixture on two plates and place 4 scallops on top of each plate. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 471 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 90 mg, Carbohydrates 36 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 48 g, Sodium 609 mg, Calcium 248 mg

A Very Veggie Black Bean Quinoa Burger

Veggie Black Bean Quinoa Burger

A veggie burger is a great meatless alternative for summer days, but they can sometimes be loaded with breading, fillers and oil and actually be less healthy than other burger options. This version is made with good-for-you ingredients and is held together with red quinoa – a tasty whole grain. Fill up with protein, fiber and a handful of vitamins from this lightened-up veggie black bean quinoa burger!


Ingredients (serves 8):

1 C red quinoa, dry

1 zucchini, sliced and sliced again into quarters

1/2 C chopped white button mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1 can (15 oz) black beans (*Note: Try to find a “No Salt Added” variety and drain beans under water in a colander.)

1 large garlic clove, minced

1.5 Tbsp olive or canola oil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray


1. Cook quinoa according to box directions (you will likely need 2 C tap water to boil with the quinoa). Once quinoa is ready, set aside 3/4 C (cooked) for this recipe. Store remaining quinoa in an airtight container and use leftovers within a few days (quinoa is great in salads, as a side dish or combine it with sautéed veggies or fruit!)

2. Warm oil in medium pan (it helps to have one with sides, since it will get full) over medium heat.

3. Add onions to pan and cook 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook another 5 minutes.

4. Add garlic, 1 C black beans and spices to pan. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Place veggies in food processor. Add 1/2 C quinoa. Process mixture until pureed, about 15-30 seconds. Add mixture to large bowl and fold in remaining quinoa (for this recipe) and black beans.

7. Spray two 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Take 1/4 C dry measuring cup and scoop mixture into hands, forming balls and pressing down to form patties. You should be able to fit about 4 patties in each dish.

8. Bake patties 15-20 minutes on each side, until the outside is browned and crispy. Serve over bed of greens or a bun and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

I put my burger on a bed of greens with tomato, cucumber and pepper - just  top with patty and dressing!

I put my burger on a bed of greens with tomato, cucumber and pepper – just top with patty and dressing!

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving = 1 patty)

Calories 165 calories, Total Fat 4 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 25 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 7 g, Sodium 301 mg, Calcium 43 mg


Quinoa with Lentils and Veggies

Quinoa with Lentils and Veggies

This dish is packed with protein and fiber, so you can feel full while loading up on some plant-based foods, like veggies, lentils and grains. Using zucchini, bell pepper, spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic, this staple packs in flavor, along with a ton of vitamins and minerals. Also, this dish is amazing to have as leftovers – serve it hot the first time and then serve it cold days later with some crumbled feta cheese. Craving some extra protein? I’ve also made this dish using tofu in combination with the lentils, for a heartier meal.

shown with tofu

shown with tofu

Ingredients (serves 5):

1 C quinoa, uncooked

3/4 C lentils, cooked (I like to use lentils that are pre-cooked and vacuum packed. These usually just require 2 minutes in the microwave, or can even be eaten out of the package, cold – just watch out for the sodium content!)

1 medium zucchini squash

1 red bell pepper

2 C spinach, raw

1 small onion (about 1 C chopped)

2 C mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

dash salt (depending on how much salt you prefer)

dash cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp butter (or Smart Balance or other butter alternative)

1.5 Tbsp olive oil

I added yellow squash this time!

I added yellow squash this time!


1. Cook quinoa according to instructions on box (*note: you may choose to replace the water with low-sodium vegetable broth, which also tastes really good! If you do this, you do not need to add the 1 Tbsp butter – this is used to enhance the flavor when the quinoa is cooked with water)

2. Warm olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Chop onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and mince garlic. Add onion to saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and spices (black pepper, salt, cayenne and garlic powder) and cook another 8-10 minutes. Add garlic.

4. Microwave lentils in microwave-safe bowl according to directions -usually about 2-4 minutes. (*note if you are soaking your own lentils you can omit this step).

5. Add spinach and sauté  until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and lentils to saucepan and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot (or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold!)


The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 320, Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 51 g, Fiber 12 g, Protein 13 g, Calcium 42, Sodium 70 mg

me leftover lunch - served cold with feta!

my leftover lunch – served cold with feta!