This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.
Let's Move Logo
Let' Move Blog

Missouri's Winning Recipe: Tropical Vacation with Catfish and Quinoa

"I was inspired to make this dish because I love the beach! I used mangoes, pineapple, and home-grown papaya to make it feel tropical. I wanted to keep the recipe simple and healthy, so I chose the quinoa, something my mom likes, especially since she is a cardiac patient. Lastly, I used fresh, local farm-raised catfish because you don't always have to be at the beach to feel like you're there!"  

- ​Abhijith Jenkins, Age 11, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Missouri

Makes 4 Servings


For the Catfish:

  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless catfish, cut into small chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fennel
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Veggies:

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • ½ green papaya, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Quinoa:

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce raisins
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • ¼ red onion, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • ½ cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt


  1. To make the Catfish: In a bowl, combine the fish with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F; bake fish for 25 minutes, or until flaky and cooked through.
  2. To make the Veggies: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the vegetables and seasonings and mix well. Bake in the oven at the same time as the fish, for 25 minutes, or until tender and golden.
  3. To make the Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa according to package instructions. In a nonstick skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients and cook for 7 minutes, or until cauliflower and onions are golden brown and tender. Add cooked quinoa, catfish and stir gently to combine.
  4. To make the Sauce: In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together.
  5. To Assemble: Pack Catfish into a small bowl. Flip bowl over onto plate to make quinoa dome. Place Veggies on side and serve with Sauce in separate bowl. 

443 calories 12g fat 65g carbohydrates 21g protein

Abhijith likes to serve this dish with a Pineapple-Banana-Spinach Smoothie.