Healthy Recipe: Quinoa Mama

By: Denisse Oller

This is one of those dishes that saves me anytime I have unexpected company. Not only is it easy and quick to make, it is also nutritious and riquísimo! By the way, quinoa dates back to the Inca civilization and stands alone as a complete protein source, unusual among food plants. No wonder the Incas called it “the mother of all grains.”

Yields 8 servings


3 cups quinoa

4½ cups water or broth of your choice

1 lemongrass stalk**

¼  cup raisins (optional)

1 small red onion, small dice***

2 medium tomatoes, seeds and skin removed, diced

½ cup scallions, finely chopped

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, drained

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa in cool water until water runs clear. Drain well.


  1. Lightly pound lemongrass stalk to release its flavor. Pour 4½ cups of water or broth in a medium saucepan, add lemongrass stalk, and when it boils, add quinoa and salt to taste. Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until grains are almost transparent. You can cover during the last 2 to 3 minutes.


  1. Place quinoa in a large bowl. Let it cool to room temperature. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.


  1. Adjust flavors and let settle for about 5 minutes before serving.


**Lemon juice or lime can be a substitute for lemongrass stalk, even though these citrus fruits will not have the lemon grass’ earthy qualities.

***If red onions are not available, you may substitute for yellow or Spanish onions.