Peppy Quinoa

Peppy Quinoa
Makes: 6 Servings
Total Cost:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes
This surprisingly peppy side dish combines spicy green chilies, cilantro, and toasted pepitas with the nutty flavor of quinoa, giving this dish a Latino flair that will spice up any menu. 


1/8 cup Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds
1 1/4 cups Quinoa, dry
3 teaspoons Low-sodium chicken base
1/2 cup Fresh onion, peeled, diced
1/2 cup Canned diced green chilies
2 1/4 teaspoons Fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh green onions, diced
  Fresh lime juice (2-4 Tbsp, optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2. Toast pepitas in oven for 10 minutes or until light brown and aromatic. Set aside.
3. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, not cloudy. Combine quinoa, 2 ½ cups water, and chicken base in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When done, quinoa will be soft and a white ring will pop out of the kernel. The white ring will appear only when it is fully cooked. Fluff with a fork. Set aside. A rice cooker may be used with the same quantity of quinoa, water, and chicken base.
4. Mix quinoa, onions, green chilies, and garlic in an 8” x 8” nonstick baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover pan and bake at 350 °F for 40 minutes. 
5. Toss in cilantro, green onions, pepitas, and optional lime juice to taste. Serve hot. 


Our Story 
The recipe challenge team at Sartell Middle School featured quinoa as its key ingredient. From South America, this versatile whole grain can be prepared in many different ways. As a light and fluffy alternative to rice or couscous, children are sure to enjoy quinoa—a nutty-flavored whole grain. 
The team members all had one thing in common: a passion for serving healthy food to students. The recipes they developed were based on the suggestions of the students. 
While testing Peppy Quinoa, more than 300 surveys were completed. The results were overwhelmingly positive, and the team realized that they had a winning recipe in their hands. Move over pasta, quinoa is in the house!
Sartell Middle School 
Sartell, Minnesota
School Team Members
School Nutrition Professional: Janice Sweeter 
Chef: Paul Ruszat 
Community Members: Kelly Radi (Parent) and Lori Domburg (Teacher)
Student: Bryan S. 
Find tips and resources for safe food handling and proper cooking temperature guidance.