Mexican Quinoa Stew

Aug 23rd

Fall sports are in preseason, the mall is filled with sleeves, and I actually saw one or two red leaves on the park trees. The change is undeniable. It can also present a sort of culinary limbo wherein you itch to make things with canned pumpkin but the farmer’s market is still stocked to the gills with fresh ‘maters. Every heard of a summer stew?

This Mexican quinoa stew is brightly colored and studded with swells of summer; green cilantro and creamy avocado present a warm weather meal while the spices, potatoes and hearty quinoa warm the bones and fill up the tummy. I love a dish that makes double-digit servings, as the leftovers can serve double duty as lunch for a few days. Plus, lots of food for a low number of calories (just 224!) can also help you feel great as bathing suit season wraps up.

Mexican Quinoa Stew 
Serves eight to 10

1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. baby red skinned potatoes, halved
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. quinoa, rinsed if necessary
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped coarse (or a 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained)
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
3 c. baby spinach, optional
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c. ricotta salata or feta, for serving

Method

1. Sauté onion and pepper in oil in a large pot for five to eight minutes or until softened.

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2. Add salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, three minutes.

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3. Add potatoes and chicken broth, cover with lid, and turn heat to high. When it reaches boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add quinoa and simmer until tender, 10 minutes longer.

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5. Add tomatoes, corn and peas and heat through for several minutes.

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6. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro and baby spinach, if using.

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7. Ladle stew into bowls and divide avocado and cheese between bowls.

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Per serving: 224 calories, 8.3 fat grams (including 2.1 grams saturated fat), 7 milligrams cholesterol, 630 milligrams sodium, 29.6 grams carbs, 5.9 grams fiber, 4.3 grams sugar, 9.8 grams protein.

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