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3 Simple recipes for people who love spicy food

Red quinoa and mashed chickpeas form the basis

Red quinoa and mashed chickpeas form the basis of this burger, which gets mild spice and smoky flavor from chipotle powder. Credit: Marge Perry


1⁄2 cup red quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 (6-ounce) zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan

1⁄4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1⁄4 cup canola mayonnaise

3 tablespoons ketchup

4 hamburger buns




1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the zucchini, onion, salt, chipotle powder; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Combine with the quinoa.

3. Mash the chickpeas with a large fork or potato masher, stir in the egg and the mustard and combine with the quinoa mixture. Stir in the Parmesan and breadcrumbs and form the mixture into 4 even-sized patties.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the patties and cook 5 minutes, until browned on the undersides. Carefully turn the patties over and cook another 5 minutes, until browned.

5. Combine the mayonnaise and ketchup. Place the patties in hamburger buns, top the patties with the sauce, and add lettuce and tomato, as desired. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 479 calories, 17 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 20 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 1252 mg sodium



1 tablespoon fish sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon chili paste with garlic (sambal oelek)

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1⁄2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch pieces

1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut in thin strips

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained


1. Stir the fish sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the honey, soy sauce and chili paste; stir and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the garlic and chicken, and cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the reserved sauce, stir and cook until it thickens and glazes the chicken, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil and pineapple. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 305 calories, 30 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 616 mg sodium



1⁄2 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear corn)

1⁄2 green pepper, finely diced

1 plum tomato, finely diced

1 peach, finely diced

1 small jalapeño pepper, minced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice, divided

1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped

3⁄4 teaspoon salt, divided

1⁄4 cup light sour cream

5⁄8 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder

1 1⁄2 pounds cod, cut in 3-inch chunks

2 tablespoon canola oil, divided

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas


1. Combine the corn, green pepper, tomato, peach, jalapeño, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, cilantro and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt in a bowl; set aside.

2. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon lime juice, sour cream and 1⁄8 teaspoon of the cumin in a bowl and set aside.

3. Combine the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin and chili powder; toss with the cod.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add about half the fish and cook, turning once, about 6 to 8 minutes until cooked through. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil; heat and cook the remaining fish.

5. Warm the tortillas according to package directions: Place the fish and salsa in each and top with a dollop of sour cream. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 370 calories, 34 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 553 mg sodium

TIP: Alter not only the amount of spice you like but also the type: Use chipotle for smoky heat, sriracha for tart (vinegary) heat, and chili paste for a garlicky burn.

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