Quinoa is a delicious “new” side, salad, or substitute. What can you use quinoa instead of? Well, quinoa is a grain crop but it’s not a cereal – we cultivate and eat the edible seeds of this awesome plant.

High in protein, relatively low in fat, and gluten-free, the only bad thing about quinoa is figuring out how to say it. Pronounced keen-wa, quinoa originated in South America and has been domesticated for about 3000 years. Today, quinoa is still primarily grown in the Andes, but it is also cultivated in the Rocky Mountains, from Colorado to Canada.

A great recipe was shared with me, and I’d like to pass it on to you. Below are the ingredients and instructions to make a delicious, nutritious Mexican Quinoa Bowl, with guacamole, black beans, and tomatoes. It’s the perfect light meal that leaves you feeling full.

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

This dish is made up of 5 parts: the Cashew Cream, the Guacamole, the Black Beans, the Salsa, and of course the Quinoa. Let’s get started.


First, soak 3 cups of cashews in cold water for 4 hours. They will be needed for the Cashew Cream, which you will start make after the quinoa is started.

The Quinoa

1½ cup of quinoa

Juice from 1 lemon

Salt and pepper


Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve with cold water until the water comes through clear.

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2½ cups of boiling water and a little salt and pepper and the lemon juice.

Let the quinoa boil for 2 minutes, then simmer for another 10–15 minutes, covered, until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, but not mushy.

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You’ve got 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is ready, so it’s time to start on the rest of the bowl.

The Cashew Cream

3 cups (14 oz) soaked cashews

1 tablespoon tamari

Juice from 1 lemon

Salt and pepper


Drain the water that the cashews have been soaking in. Blend cashews, tamari, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor with ½ – ¾ cup of fresh water until smooth and creamy. 

The Guacamole

4 avocados

6 tomatoes, chopped small

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped small

A handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Juice from 3 limes

Salt and pepper


Cut the avocados in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Mash roughly. Stir tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro into the mashed avocado. Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper.

The Salsa

3 tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and pepper


Quarter the tomatoes, then finely chop into small squares. Place in a bowl and pour the lime juice and olive oil over. Salt and pepper to taste.

For The Black Beans

30 oz of black beans


3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

Olive oil



Drain the beans and pour into a large saucepan. Add garlic to the pan, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat through for a few minutes.


Place the quinoa in the middle of a bowl, add the cashew cream, black beans, salsa and guacamole around the quinoa. When a dish looks good, it tastes even better. This recipe serves 4.

Even though Cinco de Mayo just came and went, don’t worry: it comes every May 5th.

Thanks to Deliciously Ella for this deliciously light and healthy recipe.


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The Hearty Soul
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