We are great big fans of Mexican food. It’s a shame that traditional Tex-Mex is not very figure friendly. Things are fried in lard and served wrapped in other things that were fried in lard. But it’s delicious 🙂
In an attempt to lighten up Mexican night at home, I usually target the sides. Because trying to healthify queso is just… wrong 🙂 Pinto beans take a whirl in the food processor for homemade refried beans. And we swap the rice side dish for quinoa.
Quinoa is a grain that we’ve incorporated more and more into our menus over the last year. It’s higher in protein and fiber than rice and makes a healthier alternative – and it tastes a lot like brown rice.
On Mexican night, we mix a generous batch of pico de gallo and lime juice into cooked (and cooled) quinoa. It can be served warm but it really shines as a cold dish. The flavors are fresher and brighter and the veggies offer a cold, crisp contrast to the quinoa – it’s the perfect summer side dish when TexMex is on the menu.
Tomatoes, lime, red onion and quinoa make a fresher, lighter side dish for taco night.
- 2 cups quinoa, uncooked
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno or serrano, seeded and diced
- Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- Cook quinoa in chicken broth, according to package directions.
- Place quinoa in a shallow dish and spread out, covering with damp paper towels and refrigerate until cold, about an hour. (This step is optional, but recommended)
- Toss cold quinoa with the juice of 1 lime, onion, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste and add additional lime juice if desired.
- Serve cold and store leftovers in an airtight bowl.
Yields: 8 generous side servings
Estimated time: 2 hours
Calories: 195.0 | Fat: 3.5g | Fiber 11.7g | Protein 8.1g | Carbs 31.7
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4
This sounds so yummy! Love it!
Love love love quinoa!
Are you able to find quinoa at HEB? I live in the same part of Texas as you (promise I’m not a creeper!) and was wondering where you buy it. Thanks! Courtney
Yep – heb carries it!
Awesome, thank you!!!
This is more about the pinto recipe, but just thought I would throw this idea out there. I toss my drained hot pinto’s in the kitchen aid and beat them. They give this awesome creaminess. When I put them in the Cuisinart I just find they end up a little too smooth. I love Mexican food (being in Phoenix it abounds) thanks for sharing some healthier takes, just in time for Cinco de Mayo 🙂
Interesting! I’ll have to try that next time! I usually process the heck out of ~2/3 of the beans and then pulse in the last 1/3 so that there’s a nice variety of texture.
Do either of you add anything to your beans for taste? I’ve tried making refried beans a few times, but the flavor seems off. I won’t use lard, and have actually tried adding bacon grease to it. Nothing seems to work and I was wondering if you have tips to share for awesome homemade beans. Thanks!
I’ve been craving tex-mex nonstop lately but I can NEVER figure out sides! Shawnda to the rescue, obviously! And no, healthy queso is just wrong. Seriously…what’s the point?
I love these kinds of dishes but usually substitute couscous for the quinoa.
I just bookmarked and pinned this one! As soon as I send in my manuscript (on Friday!!) it is back to HEALTHY meals again. …and now I know what is first on the list! Looks amazing!
Your food presentation are beautiful. Great job!
This sounds so delicious! I love the idea of a cold quinoa salad; I can’t wait to try out your recipe 🙂
I made this last night and it exceeded my expectations!
You’re right, the contrast of flavors in this one sound amaaaazing! can’t wait to whip this one up as a healthier alternative to the traditional cheese-laden, sour cream-drenched, lard-fried stuff 🙂
Just made this for lunch…so delicious! Satisfied the chips & salsa craving, but much healthier! 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful recipe!