Today I have a super versatile side dish for you. It’s quick and easy and can be eaten hot or cold. How’s that for a staple? I had a scoop of this quinoa while it was still warm for lunch on Sunday, served it hot as a side on Monday and ate the rest over a salad later in the week. I’ve indicated here enough quantity to last several meals as long as you don’t make it your main course, so you might consider whipping up a batch on a weekend and eating it over the course of the week. And of course, it would easily double if you need to feed more people or if you go through grain salads quicker than I do. Enjoy!
Lemon Herb Quinoa
1 cup dried quinoa (or substitute brown rice, millet, or another small grain)
2 cups water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes (or otherwise according to the directions on your particular package of quinoa).
- When quinoa has absorbed all its cooking water, fluff with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Serve hot, warm, or cold.
Source: Covered In Flour
Here’s a misconception that I’ve been harboring: I thought that quinoa was a grain. It turns out, quinoa is a seed! Who knew? Here’s one thing I’m sure I’m not mistaken about, though… quinoa is healthy and delicious. An ancient American “pseudo-cereal,” it packs all the nutritional benefits of whole grains – lots and lots of fiber – but also is high in protein. If you’re trying to work more whole grains into your diet and you’re sick of brown rice, give quinoa a try. It cooks up light and fluffy, with a pleasant nutty taste that matches well with many other flavors.
This dish, quinoa spinach bake, is a great way to get more quinoa on your table. It was billed as a side dish, but I think that it also makes a fantastic vegetarian entree, given the many nutritional benefits that quinoa and spinach offer. It’s easy to throw together after work – just cook up the quinoa, mix in the other ingredients, plop them in a baking dish, and poof! Instant (well, after 30 minutes) wholesomeness!
Quinoa Spinach Bake
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 yellow onion, medium-diced
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 package spinach
1/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8-by-8 glass or ceramic baking dish with an olive oil cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions (1 cup of dried quinoa should yield about 2 cups of cooked quinoa), flavoring with a bit of salt.
- While the quinoa cooks, warm a drizzle of olive oil in a non-stick saute pan. Cook the onion, seasoning with salt, until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until fragrant. Add the spinach and wilt, tossing to coat with the onions. Transfer onions and spinach to a bowl. Add eggs, cottage cheese, cracked pepper and herbs.
- When the quinoa finishes cooking, add it to the spinach mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Transfer quinoa-spinach mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, until top is golden. Slice and serve with a green salad!
Yield: Serves 4 as a vegetarian entree, 8 as a side dish.
Source: Adapted from WholeLiving.com.
My market is overflowing with different varieties of squash lately. Yesterday, I went shopping for a boring old Butternut and came home with two Delicatas and a big, blue-green Hubbard instead. The Hubbard is destined to become soup (I just bought my copy of Anna Thomas’s Love Soup and squash soup is first on my list) but I bought the Delicatas just for play, and I knew I wanted to stuff one. With quinoa and chickpeas complementing the squash, this is a tasty and healthy dinner. If you add cheese to the top, as I have noted as an option below, you will find that the melted cheese will keep the quinoa moist underneath. If you skip the cheese, there will be a crispy quinoa crust over the top of the stuffing, which hubby really enjoyed.
This is a wonderful vegan (or vegetarian, if you add cheese) entree for fall, and I think it would be a spectacular addition to a vegetarian Thanksgiving table. Quinoa is a wonderful ancient American grain, with more protein than most other grains. It doesn’t hurt, either, that it’s incredibly pretty, cooking up as light and fluffy little spirals of goodness. Red quinoa is particularly gorgeous, and that’s what I used here – you can still see the red centers and the little white swirls.
See how pretty? Anyway, quinoa’s mild nutty flavor is a perfect foil for spices such as ancho chili powder and cumin, creamy beans, and sweet winter squash. Enjoy in good health!
Quinoa Stuffed Squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 Delicata (or other small squash)
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the quinoa according to the package directions. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add most of the chickpeas (reserving about 2 tablespoons), the chili powder, and the cumin, and stir to combine. Stir in salt to taste and drizzle olive oil over the top.
- Split the squash lengthwise, carefully, with the knife blade always pointing away from you. Clean the stringy inside (and reserve the seeds if desired; they’re great for roasting). Lay the squash, cut sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet or in a small roasting dish.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and season with kosher salt. Add the reserved chickpeas to the bottom of the squash wells – about 1 tablespoon each. (If desired, sprinkle a little of the grated cheddar in as well – but not all of it.)
- Spoon the quinoa stuffing over the chickpeas, until it piles up a little. Drizzle olive oil over the top for moistness. If desired, sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the stuffing. (I skipped this and made these vegan, but I do think they would be delicious with a cheesy crust.)
- Bake 1 hour, drizzling a little extra olive oil over as needed (only if you skipped the cheese). Serve with green salad for a great, autumnal, vegetarian meal.
Source: Covered In Flour, inspired by Vegetarian Times