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Spice Up the Holidays with Latin Sides

Nov 03, 2015 03:39AM, Published by Family Features, Categories: Family Features Food, Family Features

(Family Features) Prepare a fiesta this holiday season with side dishes inspired by the Latin kitchen for a lively alternative to your typical celebration. Recipes that draw on regional ingredients, such as chili peppers, cilantro, yuca and quinoa, are a delicious way to amp up flavor and bring Latin American style to holiday spreads.

“These recipes are a change of pace to more traditional holiday menus and are also good for you with an average of only 125 calories per serving,” said Manuel Villacorta, an award-winning registered dietitian who developed CanolaInfo’s recipe collection. “The dishes have all the Latin flavors I love plus an extra measure of nutrition thanks to canola oil, which has a neutral taste to let other ingredients shine, and also contains the least saturated fat of all common vegetable oils.”

For more recipes and facts about cooking with canola oil, visit

Fiesta Rice


  • 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup finely diced parsley


  1. In large saucepan, bring broth to boil, then stir in wild rice and salt. Reduce heat and simmer covered 40-45 minutes, or just until kernels puff open. Uncover and fluff with fork and simmer additional 5 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Place cooked rice in large serving bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. In large saute pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1-2 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Add peppers, walnuts and raisins. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Add sauteed mixture and parsley to wild rice. Stir to combine and serve warm.

Quinoa Salad with Aji Amarillo Dressing


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo (or mild chili) paste
  • 1 cup whole cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced


  1. Rinse quinoa well under cool water in fine sieve for several changes of water. Drain well. In large pot, boil vegetable broth and quinoa over medium heat. Reduce to simmer and cook quinoa until tender but still firm to bite, about 15 minutes. It’s done when germ separates, making it look like a curly Q. Drain well and return quinoa to pot off heat. Cover with tea towel and replace lid, allowing it to steam and fluff as it cools.
  2. For dressing, add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. For salad, if using fresh peas, bring medium-size pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add peas and cook about 5 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water to cool. If using frozen, skip this step.
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine cooled quinoa, peas, beans, celery, red onion and dressing. Mix until dressing is distributed evenly and serve.

Green Bean Saltado


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo (or mild chili) paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded, sliced into narrow strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. In large saute pan or wok, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion, garlic, paste, vinegar, soy sauce and cumin. Stir to combine. Cook 3-5 minutes or until onions are fragrant but still hold their shape.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add cilantro. Stir to combine. Serve warm.

Roasted Winter Veggies and Tri-Color Potatoes


  • 1 1/2 pounds tri-color potatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • 1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large roasting pan, place vegetables. Add rosemary, canola oil, salt and garlic powder, and stir to combine. Cook about 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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