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Mexican Quinoa with Pepitas and Cilantro Recipe

Course: Side Dish
Total Time: Under 30 Minutes
Skill Level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
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 Mexican Quinoa with Pepitas and Cilantro

Photo by: Joseph DeLeo

Make a batch of this tasty dish and serve half warm tonight, then use the rest to stuff Whole-Grain Wraps tomorrow. Pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals and complement the already high-protein, high-mineral quinoa.

Yield: Makes 3½ cups without the vegetables, about 4 servings

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, washed and dried
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ jalapeno chile
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped


In a 2-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, bring the water to a boil. In a medium bowl, rinse the quinoa with warm water, pour off most of the water, then drain in a fine-mesh strainer. When the water boils, add the quinoa and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. The water should all be absorbed, and small holes should have formed on the surface of the grain. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, to finish steaming.

In a large sauté pan over high heat, dry-toast the pumpkin seeds. Shaking the pan, move the seeds over the heat until they begin to pop. Remove from the heat and put them into a food processor or blender. Add the cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and cumin and process, scraping the sides down frequently, until all the ingredients are well minced. Gradually add the olive oil and lime juice, processing until smooth.

If serving immediately, stir the cilantro mixture, bell pepper, and scallions into the quinoa while still warm. Otherwise, chill the quinoa and add the remaining ingredients when it is cool.

© 2007 Robin Asbell

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

313kcal (16%)
300mg (12%)
17g (26%)
3g (13%)
0mg (0%)
47mcg RAE (2%)
28mg (47%)
41mg (4%)
3mg (19%)

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