New World Vegetables with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa


I was at the Y today and ran into a fitness instructor I haven’t seen since sometime last summer; I almost didn’t recognize her. She’s always looked very strong and fit, but now her form seems smaller and more defined, and her face has a glow I never noticed before. I had to ask her what was different, and told me she’s lost 20-something pounds by modifying what she eats – not exactly dieting, but simply switching to real “clean” food.

Tosca Reno is a bodybuilding “fitness model” who popularized the Eat Clean diet on a mass market scale; she seems to churn out books faster than Rachael Ray. I’m not bowled over by the recipes and production quality of these books – they have a kind of generic, over-simplified feel that remind me of marketing brochures.

But I do like the message she sends – that choosing to eat food as close to the source as possible– like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and lean protein and avoiding anything processed helps people maintain weight loss, which can lead to life-changing habits and great health, almost like magic.

Seems like a no-brainer, but it always amazes me how hard it can be for people to stick to making the best food choices. So many of our food cravings have been crafted and catered to by those in the business of manufacturing and selling food that it can be hard to know what real food actually tastes like.

I see this in my own kids when they devour the occasional fast-food meal or sweet-salty junk food snack but shun my made-from-scratch soup — there’s nothing that frustrates me more than feeling like giant food companies have hijacked my childrens’ tastebuds.

Cooking and eating pure, real food is a way of life for me, but seeing the dramatic changes that can happen when people become aware of what they eat inspires me to keep cooking, creating and spreading the word.



  1. This looks really good! I am going to see if Scott will make it!

  2. Wow, do you work out every day? We saw you yesterday at the Y. Nice photos!

    • Hey Steve — I wish I could every day, but I squeeze it in whenever I can. Thanks for the nice words about my photos – that means a lot coming from you!

  3. Your recipe looks great; I’m going to have to try it soon! I think everyone should eat clean, the concepts seem so simple to me now. But I only started eating clean about a year ago and I needed Tosca’s books to get me started. You may think it’s common knowledge as a gym buff, but I grew up in a somewhat unhealthy house and needed her books and information to get me rolling, without them, I would have been lost! And I do love a lot of her recipes, most a very tasty and very reliable resources!

    • Hi Abby – Thanks for your comment. I truly respect Tosca’s message — her approach seems to be changing peoples lives and health for the better, and that is a great thing.
      I can be a bit picky about food and recipe presentation, not as a gym or workout freak but as a life long food fanatic, critic and book lover —
      Cheers to you — keep it up!

  4. This sounds and looks so delicious! I love finding new recipes I never would have thought to try before and this certainly makes the list. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. I think Tosca is inspirational and has a rockin’ body, but I couldn’t eat as spotlessly clean as she does. I love carbs too much. Great quinoa recipe, Karen!

  6. I’ve just gotten into quinoa, and so I appreciate this recipe!! Found your blog today, and look forward to following it.

  7. I have also just gotten into eating quinoa after years of avoiding it because I always found it to be bitter tasting. Now I rinse the quinoa before cooking it and it helps to rinse those bitter-tasting saponins from the grain. This recipe sounds really good- I love all the veggies on top!

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