Cool Garden Veggie Quinoa

Back in middle school, all the cool kids brought Cooler Ranch Doritos in their lunches. Every time my mother went grocery shopping, I begged, pleaded and promised never ever ever to ask for anything again if only we could purchase one bag of the tangy crisps.

Let’s fast forward approximately a decade.

I haven’t touched Doritos in years, but out of nowhere, yesterday I suddenly got the craving for the zesty snack food. After a short stroll down the spice and veggie aisles of Publix, however, I had a far better idea to channel the craving…

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Cool Garden Veggie Quinoa ditches the chemical-laden chip ingredients but brings the same flavorful zip of Cooler Ranch Doritos to a protein and vitamin-packed meal.

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The irresistible creaminess and garden-herb explosion take this quick, easy vegetarian lunch to an amazing level.

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Cool Garden Veggie Quinoa

Vegetarian, makes one (large!) serving


  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup (dry) red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce to low heat.
  • While the quinoa cooks (approx 10-15 minutes), chop your veggies. When the quinoa is halfway cooked – i.e. still chewy yet not entirely tough – dump in the carrots. When the quinoa has around 3 minutes left to cook, drop in the diced green pepper.
  • When all the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, stir in your cream cheese and spices.
  • Serve warm or cold, whichever your taste buds prefer!

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Ingredient Cost
Cream Cheese ($3/8 ounces) $1.50
Red Quinoa ($3/16 ounces) $0.75
Baby Carrots $0.60
Green Pepper ($1.99/lb) $0.40
Onion Powder $0.10
Garlic Powder $0.10
Dill Weed $0.10
Salt $0.05
Total Budget Breakdown $3.70/serving


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Belly-friendly and budget friendly – now that’s my kind of lunch!

What was your favorite chip – or other snack – in grade school?


3 Comments on “Cool Garden Veggie Quinoa”

  1. Emily says:

    I HAD THIS SAME CRAVING TWO DAYS AGO! so weird. cause I haven’t eaten them since I think….6th grade..

  2. Haha…I never would have thought to put cream cheese together with quinoa, but you’ve sold me. I love your cream cheese creativity. My fav chip in grade school was probably BBQ potato chips or Fun-yuns, which I now thing are vile and evil….but back in the day, I loved those things. Shudder…I’m glad my tastes have evolved!

  3. The cool kids always had those when I was in school too … but I didn’t care, because I hated Doritos, and still do.

    I loved sour cream and bacon ripple chips (Ruffles Brand) or Mrs. Vicky’s Salt and Vinegar chips.

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