Queen of Quinoa | Headshot | About Me

Quinoa (pronounced like keen-wa), is a light, fluffy gift from the gluten-free gods. This small faux grain, not only tastes divine but is healthy, easy to make, incredibly versatile and is my new food obsession. Quinoa morphs with ingredients, absorbs flavors, but always keeps the nutty-goodness that makes it unique. It’s packed with protein, is a good source of fiber and is super easy to digest. And it has nine essential amino acids, making it a complete vegetable protein.

With this blog, I’ll show you how you can integrate this delicious ingredient into all types of cuisine. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your partner, your children or company, I can assure you quinoa will leave them full, satisfied and happy. And really, isn’t that what cooking is all about? Sharing what you love to do and making the ones you’re sharing it with smile.

Food has always played an integral role in my life. Being Italian, cooking is ingrained in my DNA. I contribute much of my passion for the kitchen to my mother. She’s a fabulous cook who’s not afraid to experiment in the kitchen. She’s taught me not to be afraid of spices. She’s showed me how to master Italian meatballs and gravy {gravy if you don’t already know is what we Italians call our tomato sauce}. And she’s proven that homemade pumpkin pie is hands down the best dessert on earth.

Because I’m Italian, pasta, bread and cheese practically flows through my veins! I’m sure you can understand that becoming gluten and mostly dairy free {I’ve found that I can eat goat cheese with no problem} was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. However, it hasn’t been all bad. Along the way I’ve discovered new flavors, new ingredients and learned to truly appreciate food and the art and skill that goes into preparing a tasty meal.

So you many wonder – why gluten and dairy free? Stomach pains is why. For as long as I can remember, my stomach has bothered me. I never knew what it was and assumed it was just a natural part of everyday life. It took some time until I realized that having a bellyache after every meal isn’t normal at all. I realized I needed a change.

Standing in the kitchen of our summer-house on a perfect, bright and sunny August day, and complaining about my chronic stomach pain, my Mom recommended I try eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. Of course I was skeptical. No pasta? No bread? No cereal and milk? No yogurt? Remove the staples of my diet and the food that I have grown up eating? That was a scary thought, but I made a commitment to myself that I would at least try it and see how I felt.

It’s been over a year 2 years now and I’m feeling much better. Although my symptoms aren’t completely gone, I’ve lost 15 pounds, have more energy, am happier, and have totally found my groove in the kitchen. I’d say that being gluten-free and dairy-free definitely agrees with me.

I’m excited you’re interested in experimenting with me. I’m eager to share my cooking successes (and failures!) with you, too! And as always, please give me any feedback you have - I love to learn just as much as I love to share.

Now, let’s start cooking!





48 Responses to About

  1. Yael says:

    My story is like yours. This is my 2nd year gluten free and almost dairy free. (Try goat products). I am taking care of my body with “naet” method. (ww.naet.com) and my life changed completely. I can eat today some dairy goat product because of this unique treatment.
    I will love to share my recopies and learn from you.
    Good luck kid, Yael

  2. Ryan says:

    Hi, kind of new to quinoa and found your blog. Hope you keep updating and am going to try some of your suggestions,ty! :)

    • Welcome Ryan! I am so happy you’re starting to experiment with quinoa. It’s an amazing little seed with superfood qualities. It’s easy to integrate into your everyday meals and I hope you enjoy as much as I do!! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions along the way :)

      xo Alyssa

  3. Esther says:

    Tried the detox salad and the eggplant casserole. Both were delicious. I don’t think I am brave enough to try the green smoothie although I love avocado.
    Great site.

  4. Linda S says:

    Hi, just stumbled on your blog while looking for cool meal inspiration tonight. I ended up making a kale and grilled chicken and chickpea salad ad lib, but love your Detox salad recipe and I already see several other things I want to try! I adore food blogs and cooking. We are in the middle of an historic heat wave in my region (midAtlantic US), though, so I will be concentrating on smoothies and salads and no- or low-cook ideas for a week or so, here. Quinoa takes so little time to cook that I like it a lot for that kind of thing! Thanks for sharing some terrific ideas in your blog. I’ll be visiting some more (I have a grandson who has gluten and some other food sensitivities, so I’m also eager to share some ideas his Mom has used!

  5. Karo Caran says:

    Hi Alyssa,

    I just wanted to say I am so happy for you. I stopped eating dairy and gluten a couple of months ago, and my fatigue and bloated stomach are almost gone! Hubby and I also lost some extra pounds, which can’t hurt :) I also educate readers about gluten/ dairy- free diet and recipes at examiner.com and would love to feature your site. Is that a possibility?

    • Hi Karo,

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear when adopting this lifestyle helps others as well. Good for you! I would definitely be interested in being featured at examiner.com – could you shoot me and email and explain what you’re thinking? Look forward to hearing from you :)


  6. Trish says:

    I’ve been following you for a while and just wanted to say hello and tell you that I love your recipes and the ones you post on Pinterest. I ALWAYS find myself re-pinning all your stuff. Good taste ;-) Happy cooking!

    • Welcome Trish! Thanks so much for sharing my recipes – I love when my readers spread the word :) I’m so happy you enjoy my recipes and please let me know if you ever have any questions!!

      xo Alyssa

  7. I know exactly how you feel! I thought feeling horrible after every meal was normal before I finally figured this out! I already have a blog where I cook “regular food” but I’m just in the process of getting a gluten-free blog up and running. Yours looks awesome and I can’t wait to browse through all your recipes for inspiration, being new to the glutenfree world and all… :)

    • Thanks for the sweet words Yammie! I hope that going gluten-free has helped you as much as it helped me. Cutting it out helps your gut out in more ways than one! Good luck with your blog and let me know if you have any questions along the way. I’m so happy you like my recipes and I hope that you try some :)

  8. Kathy says:

    love your recipes, really interesting….can’t wait to test them out. I love to be in the kitchen and have tried several “naked” recipes and through your guidance several products, like Red Mill stuff (love their gluten free pancakes) also bought some things in Norwich. Because of you I am venturing back to the basic, only gluten free, like Red Mill flour to make my ravs and fresh garden gravy. thanks for the love.

  9. I just found your blog and I am obsessed! I especially love the name of your blog. I love quinoa. I buy it in bulk because it’s just that good and it goes so fast!

    • So happy you found me and welcome:) Quinoa really is an amazing superfood and it’s a staple in my gluten-free diet. If you have any questions along the way, please just let me know!! xo

  10. I’ve just found your blog and I’m very happy to have done so :-) I have been gluten-free for about four years now and feel so much better for it. I love quinoa and also buckwheat is a fantastic alternative and packed-full of nutrients. I look forward to reading your recipes :-)
    The Healthy Epicurean recently posted..Three-bean vegetarian chilli for sensitive soulsMy Profile

  11. Hi there – I just found your blog and I love your recipes! I totally feel ya – I was also plagued with stomach issues my entire life. Now I’m gluten, dairy, legume and mostly grain free. It’s tough, especially living in NY, but so worth living a pain free life!
    Kathy @ Beauty Palette recently posted..Eating in SeasonMy Profile

    • Welcome!! I feel like I’ve come across so many folks that were stuck with stomach problems like me and have found that going gluten-free really helps. And that the community is here online makes it that much better! So many people to connect with and share your story with. I love it!

  12. Carol T says:

    Hi, I found your blog via Against all Grain’s blog. I am reading Wheat Belly and have not had any wheat products for a few days. I still eat yogurt, cheese and drink milk. I was wondering how you are getting your calcium and vitamin D by not eating dairy products. I have to say thank you for your blog. I am finding a lot of info in my new lifestyle from all the blogs I have found on living without…

    • Hi Carol – welcome and I’m so happy you’ve popped over!

      Honestly, the Vitamin D and Calcium debate is a hot topic in the vegan world. From what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced, as long as I’m eating a balanced diet, with protein, fruits veggies, whole grains and legumes (although I don’t eat beans very often because I’ve found they upset my stomach), I get all the vitamins and nutrients I need. I haven’t been eating dairy for over two years (except that I’ve found I can eat goat and sheep cheese), and I’m healthy, happy and thriving. It’s all about staying balanced – eating right and exercising.

      Glad my site is helping you and please feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions along the way!

      xx Alyssa

  13. Maria says:

    Hi, I found you searching for Quinoa’s Asian recipes. I’m originally from South America and I’m in love with this amazing grain/seed. I do not have any gluten sensitiveness. However, I tried not to eat it.
    I own and operate a cooking school for children in Miami. In our programs we teach them how to use alternative ingredients to improve our health. I don’t need to tell you how much we use Quinoa. In our cupcakes, meatballs, cookies, etc.
    I’m so happy to have found your site and try some of your recipes for our classes. I will sen you some pictures if you like.
    All the Best!

    Chef Maria

    • Hi Maria – welcome! I’m so happy you found the site and that you love quinoa. Truly it is an amazing food and I’m so happy to have discovered it. Of course it’s now a staple in my diet – thank goodness it’s gluten-free. It sounds like your school is a wonderful resource for children, they’re lucky to have a place like this in their area.

      I’m making some quinoa meatballs for dinner this evening – thanks for the inspiration! Feel free to send me photos of your recipes :)

      xx Alyssa

  14. Anne Tomatore says:

    Hi Alyssa!
    Just found your site and I absolutely LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!! I’m gluten, soy and now, dairy intolerant. For a while, I was able to switch to goat and sheep products, but then they also bothered me and finally I had to give them up as well. (did I mention I LOVE dairy) I just made a batch of your Dark Chocolate Quinoa Pudding and it was awesome! After it had cooled slightly, I added chocolate chips and peanut butter to it – fantastic! Wow! I’m so excited.

    While reading under the Indian Cuisine, I noticed your comment about missing yogurt sauces and was wondering if you’re familiar with a company called SO Delicious (Not SOY Delicious). They make cultured coconut milk and cultured almond milk yogurts in plain and several flavors – they’re really great! They also make their yogurts in two styles: creamy and greek. (Creamy is my favorite!!) They also make coconut milk and almond milk ‘frozen deserts’. Oh the joy of eating something cold and creamy again!! (www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com)

    Thanks again for all your great recipes and ideas! I’m looking forward to trying several more!

  15. Rosanna says:

    Hi Alyssa!
    Just bumped into your blog and love two things about it… one, quinoa and second, you are italian like me!
    I have decided to change my diet to gluten free and I guess is because finding out how wheat in general is not good for you. Also, I think I have developed some form of intolerance or allergy (I’m 50!) and as you age believe me, you get allergic to a lot of other things!
    So, I will follow you and your recipes and hope I can learn more about you and your love for quinoa!

  16. thomas cappiello says:

    I was looking for a quinoa, salmon creole recipe, that I had at a potluck but never found out who made it to get recipe. Like your site, you are very talented. What part of Italy you from? My Italian-side family from Connecticut does not use ‘gravy’, such is culture, lol. Wish you the best in your food blog efforts, nice niche.

  17. Pingback: 03-28-2013: Recipe: No Bake Quinoa-Chi-Peanut-Butter-Power-Bars | Muddy J.com

  18. Jenn0021 says:

    I’m so excited to have come across your blog. I have been having stomach troubles for almost 2 years now and have just recently discovered I am intolerant to gluten and dairy. I’m excited to peruse through your blog and find inspiration in the kitchen!

  19. Ashley says:

    I am so glad I found your blog! We have had to make radical shifts in our diets due to my sudden development of severe (anaphylactic) food allergies and my daughter’s autism. We are GFCF, but also no mammalian meat (which sucks), egg, tree nut or raw citrus. We are also largely eliminating corn, as it seems to give us all tummy trouble. For a southern girl to not eat grits, is as crazy as…well for an Italian girl to not eat pasta! lol It’s a challenge for sure, but I have found so many recipes on here that we can do, or easily modify. I can’t wait to try them all! Keep up the good work!

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  21. notb4coffee says:

    Our family is on the Phase One Diet as touted by Doug Kaufmann on Know the Cause. It eliminates anything that fungus feeds on which includes all grains, most dairy, several sweet fruits, a few veggies and a whole lot of other foods/drinks. We’re feeling much better after almost a year of eating this way and know the trouble gluten, corn, sugar, alcohol, and all the other “bad guys” can cause a body. Thanks for a great site and God bless your efforts to help the rest of us out with your recipes and suggestions. :-)

  22. Paula-Ann says:

    I too have gluten/dairy/soy/sugar issues as does my son. I gave up dairy about 13 years ago after many years of feeling horribly ill all day after eating my “healthy breakfast” of yoghurt/fruit combo – I wonder why??? Then gluten went out the door & after hormonal problems the soy was also out the door along with all legumes – I discovered from a dietician that they are all estrogenic & this was giving me my problems – I am 51, am 2 years post menopause, don’t have any weight problems surrounding the hormonal shift, lift weights 4x per week, power walk 2 days per week – have never felt better & to be really honest look 15 years younger than most of my friends who indulge in wheat/sugar/dairy & a few glasses of wine – I am not alone in my health outcomes – there are many out there who have the same wonderful “after effects” of not eating “mainstream” – even my 18 year old son who had the same issues as I did, he has been off all the bad stuff since he was 6 years old, he has no skin problems like a lot of teens, has buckets of energy, no bad mood issues and no dental cavities!

    Keep up the brilliant work

    • Paula-Ann – I have to say, these are the kinds of posts that make my day. It’s readers like you that are the reason writing QofQ brings me such joy. I love hearing the stories of how diets can really change people’s lives and that my recipes (and quinoa!) can bring the happiness back to the kitchen. I know removing those major elements from your diet must have been tough, but keep it up and once you start seeing changes, it makes it all worth it :) Happy saturday!

  23. Anamaria says:

    Hi Alyssa, I come from South America, and know quinoa all my life, but I found your blog, and I’m amazed at all the variety of quinoa recipes you have developed, thank you for sharing, I love quinoa but only cook it mostly in soups, thank you again

  24. Anietta says:

    This is the first time I read about Quinoa and would like to know more.
    I am from South Africa and do not know where I can buy this. I would like to know if quinoa is like sago or is it completely something differently.

    • Hi there – I’m not sure what Sago is, but quinoa is similar to rice (more nutty in flavornd more nutritious) and couscous (in texture, but it’s gluten-free). You can purchase it at many grocery stores, but also online. Here’s a link: http://amzn.to/19nttvH

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions :)


  25. Anietta says:

    Please pute me on youre list to get recipes.

  26. Sally Medford says:

    I am very interested to read more of your recipes and comments from others and give it a try. What is the best way to try quinoa for the first time, rather than in a full recipe and then decide you don’t like it and have wasted all ingredients.

    • Hi Sally, if you’re a fan of oatmeal, I think I would actually try that first. Just cook the quinoa then mix it with a little milk, fruit and cinnamon. Maybe a little maple syrup too! If you’re not on the breakfast bandwagon, I would suggest just making a little bit of quinoa, then serve it with stir fried vegetables and some chicken. Easy and delicious! Hope that helps :)

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  28. Shelley says:

    Just found your blog and signed up for recipes. I’m interested in quinoa and quinoa flour recipes to cook low carb for my diabetic husband. Gluten is not a problem, but I have found rice and regular flour is. Quinoa is so much better we have discovered. I’ve created a bread recipe using pumpkin and quinoa flour (as well as some regular and whole wheat flours) that he can eat and keep his carb count low. The extra fiber in quinoa flour is key! Grams of fiber cancel out some grams of carbs, so I am trying to add this to as many dishes I can.

    • Welcome, welcome! I’m thrilled to have you here and am excited to hear that you’re just starting to explore with quinoa. You’ll love it :) I suggest just exploring the recipes on the site, giving some a try and find some that both you and your husband enjoy. And of course, if you have questions along the way, feel free to comment and I’ll respond as quickly as possible :) Thanks again for joining us!

  29. Asia says:

    I’m from Polish. I’m glad I found your blog. It’s great.
    Asia recently posted..Krem kokosowyMy Profile

  30. Nicole says:

    Alyssa, I feel so blessed to have found your site! Like you, I have had stomach troubles most of my life and switched to a mostly vegetarian and dairy- free diet many years ago. However, in recent years my tummy troubles have returned full-force and I think gluten may be the culprit. At any rate, I am gradually shifting to gluten-free eating, and finding your blog tonight while playing on Pinterest has been a joy. Thank you for sharing your story, your recipes, and your love for quinoa. I can’t wait to make it again, as I’ve had no luck in the past, but feel ready now. Many thanks to you!

  31. Renee says:

    I headed over here from So…Let’s Hang Out. I’ve been eating Paleo for a couple years so haven’t had quinoa for awhile. I used to enjoy it, but only in the most basic recipes where you might otherwise find rice. Your website has convinced me of the health benefits and versatility of quinoa – I think it might be time to add it back in and try some of the creative ways you’re incorporating it in your recipes. Thanks!

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