Wellness Wednesday – Week 9

What is Quinoa?  

Native to Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and parts of Mexico, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered by some the “Mother of all grains”.  Quinoa has been sustaining life in South and Central America for thousands of years. Early civilizations believed quinoa provided warriors with strength and stamina in battle.  Quinoa is actually an herb that thrives in cold, high elevations.  While mostly grown in South America, farmers in the Rocky Mountains and in the Pacific Northwest have recently begun cultivating quinoa as well.

Lightened up Cheesy Quinoa Lasagna Bake (recipe from Averle Cooks)

Lasagna is an all-time classic comfort food, but not exactly light.  This lasagna bake is meatless, noodle-less, gluten-free, and uses just 8 ounces of cheese for the whole pan.   Use vegan cheese to keep it vegan rather than vegetarian.  It is hearty and comforting in a lighter way, so you feel full and satisfied but not stuffed or in a “gluten and grease coma” way.  This vegetarian, family-friendly dinner is ready in one hour, makes planned leftovers for lunches the next day, and is budget friendly.

Yield:  9×9 pan  and serves 8          Cook time: 15 minutes stovetop, 45 minutes oven


  • 1 ½ cup dry, uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups marina sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried basil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine quinoa with water in medium-size pan and heat uncovered over high heat until mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Turn stove to low and simmer, cover, and cook until all water has evaporated and quinoa has cooked through (about 12 to 15 minutes).  Fluff with fork.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 375 and spray 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  4. Transfer cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the marinara sauce, about two-thirds of the cheese, 1 tablespoon basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Turn mixture out in prepared baking dish, smoothing it lightly with a spatula and pressing it down gently.
  7. Evenly sprinkle top of mixture with reserve cheese and basil.
  8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  The top should be golden and edges are slight set.  Serve immediately.  Extra portion will keep airtight in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

For more information and nutritional content on Quinoa visit:

One thought on “Wellness Wednesday – Week 9

  1. serenaglow March 5, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    I believe quinoa is so good for your health. Good on you for using it in the recipe!


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