Lunch in Minutes: Fresh Southwest Quinoa

Once again I was checking out 101 Cookbooks, and I stumbled across an old recipe for Heather’s Quinoa.  It looked like it would pack up nicely for a week of lunches at work, but I was concerned about the flavour profile as I had already planned an Italian-style dinner for the week.  What’s a girl with pesto-overload to do?  Look to her second-favourite herb of course!  Cilantro!  This meal goes from idea to plate (or Tupperware container) in twenty minutes, and it’s a healthy choice to boot!

Fresh Southwest Quinoa (Makes six servings.)

  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and stemmed
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1.5 cups dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes (10 halves), not oil-packed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag baby spinach, rinsed and chopped

Combine the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, chipotle pepper, lime juice and olive oil in a blender, to make a cilantro pesto.  (Some recipes call for more olive oil, others for grated asiago.  Both are yummy, add according to your flavour and health needs.)

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in just-boiled water until soft (about ten minutes).

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add shallot and saute for five minutes.  Add tofu and saute until slightly golden.  Remove sun-dried tomatoes from water, chop and add to skillet with regular tomatoes.  Once everything is cooked, add in spinach until slightly wilted, and then add in the quinoa to reheat.

Pour the vegetables, tofu and quinoa into a large bowl, and mix in the cilantro pesto to coat.

Nutritional Estimate: 360 calories, 13 grams of fat and 17 grams of protein per serving.  A good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Riboflavin. 

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