How To Spice Up Quinoa

Quinoa is the world's greatest underdog since Joan of Arc. Okay, okay. Perhaps that is a slight overstatement, considering that quinoa was never burned at the stake for trying to save one's people. Yet, there is a bit of a heroic streak in this seed's past. Related to the beet, chard and spinach family, quinoa served as a hero to the ancient Incas by nourishing them and earning its title of “Mother Grain." For such an inconspicuous little seed, it is more packed with protein and fiber than any other grain. Quinoa is also a great source of iron, which is ideal for people who battle anemia, or who do not eat meat. The fun doesn't stop there though. It is rich in lysine (which encourages tissue growth and repair), magnesium (which relaxes blood vessels and prevents type two diabetes), riboflavin (brain and muscle energy source), and manganese (which prevents damage to your brain from free radicals).

If rice is a staple for your meal prep, then you have the right to know that quinoa is an excellent substitute that serves the purpose of rice, yet packs the nutritional punch of a vegetable. This is exactly why you'll want to learn how to spice up quinoa. However, it is rich in carbohydrates, so stay on top of your macros while you reap the benefits of this nutrient-rich side-dish. Cook quinoa as you would rice and keep in mind that one cup of dry quinoa will become 3 cups once cooked (two cups of water to one cup for cooking). Cook it in chicken broth for more flavor and don't forget to add a dash of salt to absorb into your quinoa! As we do, 6 Pack Fitness has scoured the world of cuisine to bring you the most exciting recipe to teach you how to spice up quinoa, this martyr among grains.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole Recipe

1. In a medium bowl, combine diced tomatoes, ¼ cup diced onion, 1 tbsp cilantro, ½ tsp salt and lime juice. Toss, cover and put in refrigerator.

2. Next, add diced chicken to a mixing bowl with the ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp granulated garlic, ½ tsp salt, juice of 1 lime, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Once combined, heat a medium skillet to high. Add the chicken mixture and brown until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

3. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

4. While quinoa cooks, add olive oil to the pan. Add the yellow onion, yellow pepper, red pepper, jalapeno, and corn to the pan. Sprinkle 1 tsp kosher salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

5. Add cumin, chili powder, garlic, oregano, and cayenne. Stir to combine.

6. Add black beans, cooked quinoa, chicken, feta, and half of the cheddar to the pan with the vegetables and toss.

7. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

9. While in the oven, combine sour cream and lime juice in a small bowl.

10. Serve with avocado slices and lime crema.


This post is brought to us by 6 Pack's resident blog badass, Jade. Check out her other posts on how to spice up your oatmeal, whether the paleo diet is healthy, and body types and metabolism. Get more deliciously healthy recipes in our compendium of Meal Prep Sunday recipes and browse meal management systems, gym totes, gym backpacks, and more to find the perfect 6 Pack Bag for your fitness lifestyle!