Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellas

What do you make when you have one dinner guest who’s a vegetarian and one who’s watching the carbs?  It’s a challenge, but not insurmountable.  For this meal I combined these stuffed mushrooms with a big Harvest Salad.  I love portobellos, and they are perfect for stuffing with whatever strikes your fancy.  I gave these a little Greek spin with some feta and kalamata olives and if I do say so myself, they turned out great!  If you’re going “no carb” instead of low carb, add more veggies and ditch the quinoa.

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobella

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellos

6 portobello mushroom caps
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 375˚.  Remove stems from mushrooms.  Turn upside down on lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  In a little more olive oil, saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add spinach right at the end and saute a minute or so until wilted.  In a bowl combine quinoa, onion and spinach mixture, olives and tomatoes.  Season with salt & pepper.  Scoop into mushrooms.  Top with feta and basil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Quinoa-Stuffed Portobellos, ready to pop in the oven.

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Cheesy Quinoa Bake

The more I cook with quinoa the more I like it.  This is a tasty take on mac & cheese – without the mac.  For my gluten-free friends, this is a great alternative to traditional mac & cheese (just leave off the panko topping).  Quinoa is a small grain that is high in protein and can be substituted for rice or pasta in most recipes.  Use whatever veggies you like best.  This was what happened to be in my fridge at the time and it was a delicious combo.

Cheesy Quinoa Bake…drizzled with my favorite hot sauce!

Cheesy Quinoa Bake
(adapted from Around the Table: Loving Food in RI and Beyond)

1 1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
2-3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Pinch of season salt (whatever kind you like, I used something called Southern Flavor, but Lawry’s or Mrs. Dash would work too)
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup panko (optional, leave out for gluten-free)
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded

Preheat oven to 350˚ and butter a casserole dish.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Saute veggies and garlic in butter until softened.  In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, and seasonings.  Fold in quinoa, veggies and sharp cheddar until combined.  Transfer mixture to the casserole dish.  Sprinkle with additional sharp cheddar, panko (if using) and parmesan.  Bake  uncovered for 20 minutes until top is golden brown.  Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce if you like that sort of thing!  Serves 4-6 as a main dish.

Cheesy Quinoa Bake

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Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

I like to subscribe to cooking magazines.  It keeps me from buying too many cookbooks and gives me tons of ideas, especially for using seasonal foods.  I usually switch it up and order a different magazine each year.  One of my favorites that I’ve kept coming back to is Cooking Light.  I think part of that is because just the name makes me feel like I’m eating healthy.

I have had great success with CL recipes overall.  I should be honest and also add that I’m not all that great about following the recipes as they are printed.  So a lot of the things that make CL recipes lighter – low-fat cheese and dairy, etc. – are not really used when I make them, so the recipes turn out more “Cooking Medium”.  I really don’t like the taste and texture of most of the low-fat versions of cheeses, sour creams, skim milk and the like and I rarely have them in the house.  Even so, I think these are still tasty recipes on the healthier side, and that’s good enough for me.  This is one I actually followed pretty closely to the original and I’ll definitely be making it again.

I think you could use any size tomatoes for these.  I actually prefer the texture of the small to medium tomatoes to the large one so I just made more.

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
(from Cooking Light) 

2 poblano chiles
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. salt – divided
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 large ripe tomatoes (or more if they are smaller)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup cheddar-jack cheese, shredded

Preheat broiler.  Cut the chiles in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stems.  Place skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Broil until skin is blackened.  Remove from oven and place in a paper or plastic bag to cool.  Add corn and onion to pan and place back under the broiler.  Cook  about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Put in a bowl.  Peel chiles and coarsely chop, add to the bowl with the corn and onions.  Add oregano, oil, lime juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, cumin and black pepper.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Cut tops off tomatoes.  Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp, leaving the shells intact.  Drain pulp through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract liquid.  Reserve 1 1/4 cups liquid, discard the rest.  Sprinkle inside of tomato shells with salt and invert onto a rack to drain while you cook the quinoa.

Place quinoa in a fine sieve, rinse and rub the grains together with your fingers, and drain well. (I bought pre-rinsed quinoa so I skipped this step, but if you didn’t buy that kind, this will help prevent any bitterness the grain might have). Combine reserved tomato liquid, 1/4 cup water (use more if you didn’t have 1 1/4 cups tomato liquid – you should have 1 1/2 cups total liquid), quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes on low until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with fork and add to corn and pepper mixture.  Stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Stuff each tomato with quinoa mixture. Place stuffed tomatoes in a casserole dish or jelly roll pan.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes, until tops are browned and cheese is melted.

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, fresh from the oven!

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Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers!

Veggie burgers are one of those things that give vegetarians a bad name.  Because who could possibly trust someone’s opinion of food when they think that weird combo of nuts and seeds and beans is the same as a hamburger?  At least that’s what I used to think.  Now I’m a little more open-minded.  But still not a huge fan of most veggie burgers.  In fact, I am not a fan in general of any “fake” food.  That is…food that is pretending to be other food.  If you want a hamburger, eat a hamburger.  If you want vegetables, eat vegetables, but trying to make me think those vegetables are a hamburger is just silly.  I won’t fall for it, I tell you!

These burgers are not pretending to be hamburgers.  In fact, I’m not even sure it’s accurate to call them burgers, although they are burger-shaped.  Call them patties, or fritters, or disk-shaped deliciousness, but whatever you call them, call them freaking awesome!  I’ll admit I was skeptical when my friend, Becky, gave me this recipe.  As mentioned above, I have some minor biases in the veggie burger department.  I did not want a plate of birdseed.  Against my better judgement, I gave them a try.  And I’m so glad I did, because I’ll be making them again and again!

These paired up beautifully with sautéed broccoli rabe.  While I’ve read that broccoli rabe is actually closer genetically to some greens than it is to broccoli, I find it reminds me a lot of broccoli.  It does tend to have a little more of a bite to it when it’s raw, but a quick dip in boiling water gets rid of any extra bitterness and it tastes really good, especially tossed with a little garlic and spice.

Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers & Broccoli Rabe. Don’t be fooled by the reasonable portions shown here. In all honesty, we all ate at least 4 of these babies.

Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers
(from eatingwelllivingthin.com)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
3 eggs
3 tbsp. flour
2 green onions, chopped – white and green parts
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Olive oil for frying

Cook the quinoa first by bringing 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat.  Add one cup of quinoa, stir and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt and garlic powder.

Mixture is somewhat sticky. Use a measuring cup for scooping patties!

Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and flatten a bit to 1/2″ thickness.  Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy.  Makes 10-15 patties.  Serve plain, or with the sauce of your choice.  I made a quickie mixture of mayonnaise, hot sauce and lime juice to drizzle on top.

What is broccoli rabe? Looks a lot like broccoli that’s been stretched.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli rabe and cook 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan.  Add garlic, shallots and crushed red pepper.  Cook a couple of minutes until garlic starts to brown.  Add broccoli rabe and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and parmesan. Eat hot!

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