Quick, Easy Delicious Recipes from Baptist Health – South Florida Beach Body Quinoa

Although it is cooked and eaten like a grain, quinoa is technically a seed, and is actually related to spinach and beets. While that may not be a huge selling point for you, quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for your nutritional needs. Complete proteins are fairly rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for a healthy protein source. It’s also high in iron and calcium.

Today we’ll take quinoa, which has been around for thousands of years, infuse it with some South Florida flavor and create a protein-rich meal to help prepare ourselves for the imminent beach season.

South Florida Beach Body Quinoa


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups jicama, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer with running cold water; this will help remove the bitter-tasting residue that quinoa often has.
  2. Place the quinoa in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat; toast until the quinoa becomes slightly fragrant and obtains a light brown color, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat until the water has been completely absorbed.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool in a large bowl or sheet pan.
  5. Once cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Nutritional information:  calories 328, protein 8g, fat 7g, cholesterol 0mg, fiber 8gm


Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.




Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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