fiesta quinoa lettuce boats

Since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, I thought I would share some of my favorite fiesta themed recipes!  Today’s recipe includes my recipe for fiesta quinoa, which is one of my most shared recipes yet!  I simply added it to romaine lettuce and topped with avocado for an easy to prepare appetizer for any Cinco de Mayo party…Fiesta Quinoa Lettuce Boats!

Fiesta Quinoa Lettuce Boats ~vegan, gluten free~

 These lettuce boats are light, fresh and have a pinch of spice!  In the summer months I keep a batch of fiesta quinoa ready in the refrigerator, it makes a great side or can be eaten as a meal on its own.

fiesta quinoa lettuce boats
Fiesta Quinoa Lettuce Boats, a light and fresh addition to any Cinco de Mayo celebration! Makes 10 Lettuce Boats
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 10
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup corn (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
  1. Bring water to a boil, add quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed and l quinoa is soft and fluffy. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Once quinoa is cooled, add all ingredients except avocado and romaine lettuce, stir until well combined. Adjust flavors as needed. Refrigerate to let flavors marinate.
  3. To assemble boats, add a scoop of quinoa to the center of a romaine lettuce leaf and top with sliced avocado. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 boat Calories: 220 Fat: 10 Carbohydrates: 28 Sugar: 5 Fiber: 6 Protein: 7

 Fiesta Quinoa Lettuce Boats ~vegan, gluten free~

 Fun Fact:  Do you love or hate cilantro?

If you hate cilantro, it’s not your fault…you were born that way!  Some people are genetically predisposed to not liking cilantro.  They have the OR6A2 gene, making them very sensitive to the aldehyde chemical found in cilantro.  These aldehyde chemicals are the same substances found in soap, therefore making cilantro taste like soap!  Yuck!

If this is you, I apologize for adding so much cilantro to my recipes!

fiesta quinoa quick meal and post-exercise nutrition

First, I’d like to apologize for posting so many quinoa recipes!  I know I need to branch out but, quinoa is so versatile and is so much more nutritious than many other grains!  I promise, I will start to get more adventurous with my recipes!

This past weekend Shaye entered (on a whim) the Lower Cape Sprint Triathlon.  For someone who doesn’t bike or swim on a regular basis he did pretty good!  (I’m being modest…he killed it!)

He had to work a double shift after the triathlon (yikes!) and I being the neurotic nutrition person that I am,  was worried about his muscle recovery and glycogen stores. (I know, not normal!)


During intense physical activity, your body runs off of glycogen (energy stored in your muscles).  This powers you through a workout but needs to be replenished ASAP by eating a meal consisting of carbs and protein in a 3:1 ratio.  The amino acids in protein work to rebuild muscles and the carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores and glucose levels.  Quinoa is great for a post-exercise meal because it provides all the essential amino acids (protein) and carbs needed for recovery.

I prepared this Fiesta Quinoa Quick Meal and had it waiting in the refrigerator for Shaye to eat after the triathlon.  I recommended he add avocado to it for healthy fat and added antioxidants.

I’m in love with the idea of mason jar “quick meals” because they are a no-brainer!  Just grab them and go!

This recipe is great alone or use as a side dish to any meal!

Fiesta Quinoa Quick Meal

fiesta quinoa quickmeal


3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup diced cucumber
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup red onion
2 scallions chopped
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 – 1 teaspoon salt (depending on taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 – 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped



-In a large bowl, mix cooked and cooled quinoa with all the vegetables and black beans.

-Mix together olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Pour on top of quinoa, add cilantro and mix well.

-Place in mason jars.

Makes 2 quart sized mason jars

fiesta quinoa quickmeal3

You can find another recipe for Quinoa Quick Meals here!