School is back in session and summer is a memory. Let the nights of thirty minute meals between homework and bedtime commence!

We were loving all the fruit options when we were on our alkaline cleanse  but now all I find in the stores are apples and grapes…and bananas of course.

That’s a blessing really – even though my tastebuds aren’t too happy, but they’ll get over it. Nature’s designed perfectly that way. In summer we get sweet, juicy fruit – and less illnesses – because we sweat more and the juice keeps us hydrated.

In fall and winter, when germs spread like wild fire, we get nourishing veggies that help us build up our immunity and fight off bugs.

But for non-vegans like us, it’s pretty tough to eat a whole bowl of veggies at every meal. I’m the only one  in my house that can stomach a days worth of plain jane “crunch”.

Thank God for month-long cleanses because I was backed into a corner when Hubz agreed to it on the condition that I could “make everything flavorful”. I had to pull out my cape and become a kitchen superhero. It was an awesome exercise in creativity because I’d fallen into those habitual meals. We’re from New Orleans so, that looks like – red beans and rice Mondays, spaghetti Tuesdays, and so on.

These nachos are the birth of “I want a super lunch with lots of flavor that the kids will eat”. Trust me, if you put chips with anything kids will chow down.

On the topic of “super”, y’all do know about quinoa (keen-wa) right? After that epic Super Bowl commercial (“What’s Quee-NO?”) everyone should! It’s a grain – almost like rice with a nutty flavor – indigenous to the Andes mountains. It’s super versatile and has more protein than beef. We use it as a healthier stand in for rice, an addition to tacos, breads and so much more.

I loved how it added more texture and bulk to these nachos without feeling heavy. I’m including my seasoning blend (and Hubz secret pico de gallo) too because, well, what’s a good nacho if it doesn’t taste Mexican?

quinoa nachos, alkaline nachos, quick meals, after school meals, 30-minute meals

Unbelievably Good Quinoa Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Feeds 4-5 (Double recipe if you’ll want seconds)

Nacho “Meat”

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (without seeds and spine for less spice)
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (or as much as you like, clearly we’re garlic lovers)
  • 1 carton of cherry tomatoes, diced (or sub tomatoes and jalapeño for 1 can of Rotel)
  • 1-2 bags of organic tortillas (blue corn is even better)
  • 1 sliced avocado for garnish
  • plenty thin chopped romaine lettuce for garnish

Pico de Gallo

  • 3 roma tomatos or 2 regular tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small white or red onion, diced
  • 1 -2 Tbsp fresh cilantro. chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime

Seasoning blend

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt or pink salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions

Prepare your pico in a tupperware and let it chill in the fridge until you’re ready for it. Its much more flavorful when it sits for a few minutes. All you do is mix all the ingredients in a bowl and cover. add a little jalapeño if you like spicy pico. Cover and refrigerate.

Next, sauté onion and garlic in a skillet with a little bit of EVOO (or oil of choice) really quick. You’re not going for brown, just opening up the flavor a bit. Add your seasoning blend and stir around til aromatic – about a minute. Add your other chopped veggies and about a cup of water – if you used canned tomatoes and chilies, don’t add extra water. Simmer til slightly soft. For maximum nutrient retention, you want to cook your veggies til they’re just tender, not soft and mushy. Add your quinoa and let simmer until most, but not all, of the water is absorbed. You’ll want it to be moist so that your nachos aren’t totally dry. Portion your tortillas in bowls and spoon your “meat” mixture on top. Give each bowl a serving of pico de gallo, some avocado slices and a healthy handful of lettuce. If you’re not going dairy-free, go ahead and add a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese to the mix!

Serve up your family and watch these nachos go from 100 to 0 #RealQuick!

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