Q is for Quinoa

Quinoa makes a great base for many recipes and can be served as a main dish or side dish. Besides being a flavorful ingredient in many dishes, quinoa also provides many health promoting nutrients.

So, what is quinoa?

According to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate, as well as a complete whole protein. Which means it contains all nine essential amino acids.

The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council states that quinoa is made up of 15 percent protein – making quinoa a good source of plant-based protein. Other benefits of quinoa include fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin E.

Red and Golden Quinoa with Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Yellow squash


  • ½ cup red quinoa
  • ½ cup white or yellow quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup sweet potato diced
  • ½ cup zucchini diced
  • ½ cup yellow squash diced
  • Water to cover
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Fresh parsley rough chop
  • 2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps. Italian seasoning


  • Rinse the uncooked quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water for a minute.
  • Bring 2 cups vegetable broth and both the red and golden quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, making sure the vegetable broth has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Next, spread quinoa on a baking sheet, refrigerate until cooled, about 30 minutes. Rinse saucepan.
  • While quinoa is simmering, chop sweet potato, zucchini, and yellow squash into small, diced pieces keeping them uniform in size for best cooking result. Place vegetables into the saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch; season with pepper. Cover saucepan and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium then simmer until vegetables are cooked through but still tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain water, rinse vegetables under cold water; refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.
  • In small bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Italian seasoning and fresh ground pepper, set aside.
  • Mix quinoa, sweet potato, zucchini, yellow squash together in a large bowl.
  • Add contents from small bowl to the large bowl of quinoa mix and toss to coat. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top and enjoy!


This dish can be served warm or cold.

Guest Blogger: Dawn Renee West

Dawn Renee West is a free lance writer with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations. She is currently a food and nutrition student at the University of Alabama. She has a passion for community nutrition and is experienced in nutrition education and public speaking. Dawn Renee currently lives in Georgia.

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