Lunch Bunch: Southwest Style Quinoa Recipe

asweatlife lunch bunch quinoa recipe

We are officially one month into The Lunch Bunch! I hope you all are keeping up with your packed lunches and haven’t been stressing over the prep too much in the meantime.

Lunch Bunch is all about spending a bit of time to save time. Having a master meal plan, shopping on Sunday and prepping those ingredients will save you LOADS of time for everything else going on in your life from Monday-Friday. Meal planning leaves fewer excuses for us to skip those much needed sweat sessions during the week.

My hopes are for Lunch Bunch to become easier for you as the months go on by building a “smarter pantry” week to week. What do I mean by this? A smarter pantry means having those essentials on hand, so that you’re shopping more efficiently and you will always have a back up plan waiting in the fridge for a frantic day.

As a foodie, I love to see the foundations of what other people eat. I mean, if you’re like me – you can talk about food pretty much all day long. Normal, right?!  It sparks fresh ideas and is also extremely motivating to clean up one’s own fridge. The following is a glimpse into my kitchen. Here are a few things that I ALWAYS keep on hand in my fridge and pantry:

  • Greek yogurt (Faye 0% plain)
  • Spinach or any leafy greens
  • Organic peppers and tomatoes
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Almond butter
  • Hummus
  • Fresh fruit (and tons of frozen fruit for smoothies)
  • Frozen veggies – I try to freeze farmers market veggies for the winter months. Saves money and time.
  • Medjool dates – these are great straight up or in energy bars and smoothies
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Spices

This southwest quinoa recipe was inspired by simply one of those, “what do I have in my pantry right now” busy kind of days. Quinoa is the ONLY plant-based food that is a COMPLETE protein – meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body and thus have to come from food. Quinoa is also gluten-free and a healthy source of fiber. Enjoy this week’s lunch bunch vegetarian style without losing any of the nutritional benefits of a meat-based diet!

Grab the Lunch Bunch PDF to take with you the the grocery store.

asweatlife lunch bunch quinoa recipe

Grocery List:


  • 1-2 Cobs Fresh Corn (Steamed frozen corn in the organic aisle is also a good choice since it’s near the end of corn season)
  • 1 red tomato
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 large red bell pepper


  • Feta cheese *optional


  • Quinoa
  • 1 can black beans
  • Cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper

Optional add-ins:

  • 1 medium avocado
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh salsa
  • Pita bread
  • Chicken breast


  • Ingredients:
    • 3 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 cup corn, cooked
    • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes
    • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (less if don’t like spicy)
    • 2-3 T chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • ½ tsp onion powder
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • ½ cup feta cheese *optional


  • Cook quinoa according to directions to yield 3 cups
  • In large mixing bowl – combine cooked quinoa, corn, beans, pepper, tomato and cheese. Mix in spices.
  • For stuffed pepper: Preheat oven to 350 degrees while preparing the quinoa. Line backing dish with foil for easy clean up. Cut off the top of pepper to hollow out and fill each cavity with the quinoa mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until peppers are tender
  • Recipe adapted from

Week of Lunches:

Monday –Quinoa Stuffed Pepper (meatless Monday!)

Tuesday – Grilled pita stuffed with quinoa; serve with fresh salsa, ¼ avocado

Wednesday –quinoa with 1 serving grilled chicken (4oz)

Thursday –Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

Friday – Grilled pita stuffed with quinoa; serve with fresh salsa and Greek yogurt


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About Patty Duffey

Patty is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach in the Chicago area. She is Ohio bred and received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics at Miami of Ohio, while continuing on the following year to complete her Dietetic Internship at Mount Carmel Hospitals in Columbus. Upon becoming an RD, Patty made the remarkable decision to work abroad in Australia for one year. She loved the active and healthy culture, and it seemed that most Aussies shared a common view that is was better to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it came to health and wellbeing. She knew that the health and fitness industry was exactly where she wanted to be. Since moving to Chicago three years ago, Patty has gained experience as a dietitian and nutrition coach at both Life Time Fitness and My Fit Foods. Her goal is to continue to build her health coaching skills as a nutrition entrepreneur. She currently works at Lululemon and loves working for a company where she can bring fitness and nutrition together in such an inspiring environment!

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