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Mexican Quinoa Stew

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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.