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Vandal Power

By Ellison Schultz and Jennie Davis

Compliment this year’s Thanksgiving dinner with our protein-packed, savory fusion of quinoa, fresh green beans, and roasted almonds. This delicious and healthy side dish combines traditional holiday green beans with a twist! Oven-roasted almonds mixed with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and olive oil creates a full-bodied flavor.  Delicate quinoa grains are toasted and cooked with garlic and onions, supplying essential amino acids. The almonds and quinoa combo provides 7 g of protein per serving, for extra protein power. The dish comes together by tossing the grains with the almond blend, tender cooked green beans, and fresh parsley leaves. A sprinkling of golden raisons on top adds sweetness to this flavor fusion and represents Idaho gold, completing a protein-filled, heart-healthy addition to your meal. The strength in our Vandal Power dish enriches the body, just as the strength of the University of Idaho’s community enriches our lives.

  • Oven: 350°
  • Cooking:  30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions
  • Portion: 3/4 cup


Roasted Almond Blend

  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds,* coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 loosely-packed cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, approximately 2 lemons
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

*To roast almonds, preheat the over to 350°. Spread almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to cool.

Quinoa and Dressing

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry (yields approx. 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt and pinch of freshly ground pepper

Green Beans

  • 1½ pounds fresh green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (optional)


In small bowl, combine chopped almonds, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and salt. Stir in lemon juice, oil, and adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Boil 2 cups water. In a separate medium saucepan, heat ½ teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring, until  the onions and garlic are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in quinoa and cook for 1 additional minute. Add 2 cups hot water, and bring quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from, but keep covered and allow to steam for 10 additional minutes.  Fluff with fork and set aside to allow quinoa to cool completely, about 25 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Pour over cooled quinoa and toss until all dressing is well distributed.

While quinoa is cooling, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook green beans in boiling water until crisp but tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Plunge into icy cold water to fully cool. Drain and pat dry.

Toss cooked green beans with roasted almond blend. Add to quinoa and toss again.

Turn out into a serving bowl, sprinkle with golden raisins if desired, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per ¾ cup serving)

  • 211 Kcal
  • 7 g Protein
  • 11 g Fat
  • 1 g Saturated Fat
  • 8 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • 2 g Polyunsaturated Fat
  • 22 g Carbohydrate
  • 5 g Fiber
  • 5 g Sugar
  • 117 mg Sodium
  • 25 mg Vitamin C

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Advancement Services

Physical Address:

1150 Blake House
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3302

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Dr MS 3302
Moscow, ID 83844-3302

Phone: 208-885-2072