Quinoa Tamales with Sarza Criolla

These tamales, a variation of the popular Peruvian dish, incorporate quinoa, a staple grain of the region, and are served with “sarza criolla,” a Peruvian sauce of marinated onions, and topped with aji verde, a Peruvian green hot sauce.

This recipe comes to us from Karla Flores-Ybaceta, Executive Chef of Mikhuna Authentic Peruvian Cuisine, and was the winner of the Western Foodservice Show Meatless Monday Rapid Fire Challenge.

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Makes 12 tamales

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 cups of Quinoa rinsed
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • 2 tbl salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tbls turmeric or 2 tblsp aji panca paste
  • 2 tsp ground garlic
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil or oil of preference


  • For the filling:
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ¼ cup of grapeseed oil
  • 1 small size yellow onion diced
  • 1 medium size zucchini diced small
  • 1 medium size gooseneck squash diced small
  • 1 pint diced mini portabella mushroom
  • 2 roasted and diced poblano or hatch peppers


  • For the Sarza Criolla:
  • 1 med size red onion thinly sliced and rinsed
  • 1 large lime
  • Salt to taste


  • For the wrap:
  • Softened banana leaves
  • Or
  • Soaked corn husks



To make the dough:

Cook the quinoa until soften making sure not to overcook about 15 minutes.

Drain but do not rinse.

In a pot heat the oil and add the turmeric or aji, and the garlic and sauté lightly being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the cooked quinoa, add the salt and pepper and continue to cook together for about 3 more minutes.

Remove from heat and incorporate the rice flour.


For the filling:

Heat a medium size pot and add the oil.

Add the onion and sauté until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and cook until tender but careful not to overcook.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

To assemble the tamales place about a ¼ of a cup of quinoa in the center of the husk or banana leaf and put a spoon full of the filling in the center. Carefully wrap the husk to form the tamale and wrap them individually tightly in aluminum foil and set aside. Once all the tamales are done place them in a pot and cover them in water and place the lid on the pot. Cook the tamales for 30 minutes and remove them from the water. Allow the to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving them.

To make the sarza simply put the onions in a bowl and add the salt and lime juice and allow them to cure for about 5 minutes. If you prefer to make spicy add a slice of pepper to the onions.

Plate the tamale out of the wrap on a plate and top it with the sarza. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information

Quinoa Tamales with Sarza Criolla

Servings per Recipe: 6

Amount per Serving

Calories:  447

Calories from Fat:  198

Total Fat:  22g

Saturated Fat:  2g

Cholesterol:  0mg

Sodium:  788mg

Potassium:  808mg

Carbohydrates:  54g

Dietary Fiber:  7g

Protein:  11g

Sugars:  5g

Calcium:  5%

Iron:  23%

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