Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa Bowl

13 Oct

Quinoa bowl

During my recent birthday trip to visit my friend Karen, I was introduced to my new favorite dish, the Quinoa Bowl. Seriously, it’s so versatile and delicious and healthy and readily available. You can make it for lunch as a salad with what you have in your fridge. Or you can fancy it up and add some beautifully seasonal ingredients and make a completely different dish for a larger more satisfying meal.

ingredients

My version is a late summer/early autumn quinoa bowl. Here in Minnesota, everyone has zucchini (also called courgette) to spare, either from their garden or from the farmers market or even the grocery store. I can usually score a few from coworkers who have so many that they’ve run out of things to do with them and are so very happy to hand them out. They were first on the list.

zucchini

Butternut squash is a lovely ingredient that pairs with so many great fall flavors, which made it a slam dunk for this dish. Since it goes especially well with sage, I tossed the chopped up squash with sage, olive oil, salt and pepper and put it in the oven to roast.

butternut cubed

You have to be careful with cutting up the butternut squash, as you might risk life and limb. If you peel the skin first with a sturdy potato peeler, then the flesh is a whole lot more manageable.

peeling butternut

Because of my upbringing in Brazil, I have a hard time cooking meat without marinating it first. A simple marinade adds so much flavor to meat. For this chicken, I tossed the breast pieces with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped sage and chopped garlic. It’s super easy in a zip top plastic bag – you toss everything in there, zip the top, mix it up a bit, let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then remove the chicken to the grill and toss the bag. No muss, no fuss. (not pretty, but also not messy)

chicken in a bag

While the squash was roasting and the chicken marinating, I began the quinoa. Rinse it first, then add to a saucepan – 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and bring to a boil. (here are fool-proof cooking instructions from the folks at The Kitchn)

rinsing

The chicken and zucchini went on to the grill.

grilled chicken 2

I had half an onion in my fridge, so I drizzled that with olive oil and tossed those slices on the grill too. Have you ever had grilled onion? Oh boy! It’s a happy day when you can grill onions. They are sweet, smoky and a bit crunchy still. Yum!

grilling 2

If you look closely, you can see one of the perils of grilling veggies – they slip right through the grates and out of reach…sadly.

This was also a great excuse to try my new balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a gift from my dear friend Eddie, they are from a local Minneapolis store called Vinaigrette. They were amazing! The balsamic is so sweet, think and mellow that you could drink it straight from the bottle. Thanks Eddie!!

oil & balsamic

I poured a glug of balsamic in a bowl, added olive oil, a blurb of Dijon mustard, fresh ground pepper and salt with a few drops of water and whisked it until well combined.

vinaigrette

Now assemble. Quinoa on the bottom, then top with all the rest of the goodies – I used the roasted and grilled veggies, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, herbed goat cheese and grilled chicken, drizzled with the vinaigrette and garnished with fresh sage.

Quinoa bowl

Voila! My new favorite dish.

helping cats

Anddddddd proof that I’m a certified crazy cat lady! (Never fear, both Hattie and Mabel were swooped off the table 30 seconds after I took this photo)

Quinoa Bowl

Cooked quinoa (how to cook quinoa)
Grilled chicken
Roasted butternut squash
Grilled vegetables (zucchini, onions, or any others)
Dried cranberries
Pecans
Goat cheese

Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon water

Whisk all the above ingredients together in a bowl until they are all well combined. Drizzle over the top of your bowl for a lively punch of flavor.

Bonus dish: A few days later, I cooked a whole new meal with the leftovers – I chopped up chicken, some of the veggies, some kale and the quinoa, sauteed them until crispy and topped with a boiled egg.

quinoa hash 1

Voila! Quinoa hash!

Quinoa hash

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Rocket Cakes

19 Mar

Plated1

Well, well, well… B has had her annual trip down to Melbourne, and it was great to see her.

We ate many meals at restaurants… and in fact I think I am STILL full from going to The Abyssinian, but we did cook ourselves a few healthy meals. After seeing B’s quinoa stuffed squash, I was inspired to try some more quinoa recipes.

This recipe is a ripper if you want a healthy go-to meal for the week, to take as lunches, and to fill in busy night dinners. As it makes loads. It would also work well as a vegetarian option for a BBQ.

What you will need…

ingredients

Sweet potato, quinoa, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, olive oil, rocket (arugula), egg, breadcrumbs, paprika, and lots of salt and pepper for seasoning.

sweet_potatomash

We started by chopping up the sweet potato, you want the equivalent of two medium sized potatoes. They were steamed them until they were soft and then mashed in a large bowl, mixing in some chopped rocket at the end.

onion_et_alquinoapaprika

Then we chopped put the onions, celery, carrot and garlic and sautéed them until softened. We added in the garlic, quinoa, paprika and some water, and cooked it down. It reminded me of making a risotto, I may even try this recipe using stock instead of water next time. We cooked it until the quinoa was tender and the liquid was absorbed.

egg

We whisked up egg with some salt and pepper… don’t hold back… it was great with a few good pinches of sea salt.

breadcrumbsmix

We mixed it all together along with the bread crumbs we made by roughly blitzing a couple of slices of rye bread in the blender.

patty

After letting the the mix cool down a little and forming some patties, they went in to a hot oven and let them bake for around 35 minutes. They were a little crisped on the outside, and still soft on the inside.

plated3

Served on a bed of rocket, with some plain yoghurt and mint atop, delicious!

Our ingredients made about 18 patties, perfect for left overs.

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QUINOA, SWEET POTATO AND ROCKET CAKES

ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion or equivalent, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups of water
2 Tbs sweet paprika
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced and steamed
1 1/2 cups rocket (arugula), chopped roughly
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup rye or wholemeal bread crumbs (around two slices)
generous sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Sauté the onions with the carrot and celery until soft, then add the garlic, quinoa, water and paprika and cook until quinoa is tender, and the liquid is well absorbed.Mash the steamed sweet potato with the rocket, and then add the quinoa mixture and all remaining ingredients.When cool enough to handle, make patties around the size of the palm of your hand, and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.Bake until the outside of the patty is a little crisped or browned, around 35-40 minutes.Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt, a little mint, and a salad made of rocket.

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Quinoa Stuffed Squash Rings (Dinner Party – part 1)

27 Feb

Plated dinner

This past weekend I had a dinner party. It came about because my friend Christine just finished her kitchen remodel and currently has the best dinner party kitchen around with lots of work space, a beautiful long center island and quite a few places to set out food and drink! I wanted to cook in that nice kitchen and what better excuse for a dinner party than a lovely home, good food and great friends?

Terri, Jane, Christine, Jill/Gracie, B, Kate

Terri, Jane, Christine, Jill/Gracie, B, Kate

Olive and Kevin

Olive and Kevin

Christine, the hostess with the most-ess

Christine, the hostess with the most-ess

I also had the pleasure of working with Kyle Krohn who took the photos that I’m using on these two dinner party posts. He’s quite talented and is a great instructor. I plan to keep improving my own photography with his help.

The menu was a good solid winter dinner:

Pork Roast with Winter Fruits and Port Sauce (recipe to be featured in my next post)
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
Smashed Potatoes
Roasted Carrots
Chopped Salad
Tiny Pies

The squash rings were a new dish for me. I’ve been cooking with quinoa quite a bit recently and have found that it’s a tasty good-for-you grain that is so adaptable to many different flavors. I like the tri-color variety that I get at Trader Joe’s.

This time I decided to make a quinoa stuffing for squash. This would be a great holiday dish for one of the many US holidays that involve squash, such as Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner or any random dinner really. Cutting the squash into rings allowed me to make these individual portion sizes for a larger group.

Acorn squash

I cooked up the quinoa with chicken broth according to the package. It’s very similar to rice in that you use a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa.

I rinsed one cup of quinoa first, then added it to a large stock pot with two cups of chicken broth and brought it to a boil.

At that point, I turned the heat down to low and covered the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes before removing it from the heat for another five minutes.

Quinoa

I chopped an onion, a red pepper and two tomatoes and sautéed them in a separate pan. When they were all softened, I added the cooked quinoa, some dried cranberries and slivered almonds and a splash of chicken broth, along with some salt, pepper and a pinch of dried sage.

Because I like stuffed squash but wanted individual servings, I cut the acorn squash into rings. Cut them, using a sharp knife and a lot of caution, as the last thing you want as part of your dinner party is a visit from the paramedics to stitch up your finger!

Squash slices

Cut the squash in one inch (2.5 cm) sized rings and remove the seeds.

Removing seeds from squash

Place the rings on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spoon the quinoa mixture in them.

Filling squash

Bake at 370 F/190 C for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Remove carefully from baking sheet with a wide spatula and place directly on plates.

Dinner!

The side dishes were very simply done. I boiled baby potatoes until they could be easily pierced with a fork. After letting them cool, I smashed them with a glass, put them on a roasting sheet, drizzled them with a bit of melted butter and popped them in the hot oven until they were crispy – about 20 minutes.

For the carrots, I peeled them and cut them into 2-3 inch segments at an angle just to make them pretty. Then I tossed them with one tablespoon of olive oil in a large plastic bag to thoroughly cover them. Then they too went onto a baking sheet, were sprinkled with a large pinch of kosher salt and placed into the hot oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they had some caramelized bits on the bottoms. The carrots prepared this way were so good! They were like candy.

I’ll be back for my next post with part two of the dinner party to give you the delicious stuffed pork roast recipe.

Quinoa Stuffed Squash Rings
Serves 6-8

3 acorn squash (or any other squash that can be cut into rings)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt & pepper

Rinse the quinoa. Add to a medium saucepan with two cups of broth and bring to a boil over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, let it cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat, still covered for another five minutes.

As the quinoa is cooking, cut the squash into rings or slices and remove the seeds. Use a sharp knife and use a solid cutting board, as your knife could slip and your fingers will be in danger.

Place the cleaned out squash rings or slices onto a baking sheet covered in parchment or baking paper to keep the stuffing from sticking to the pan.

In another pan, saute the chopped onion in a tablespoon of oil until it becomes translucent.  Add the red pepper and tomatoes and let them soften for a few minutes. Then combine with the cooked quinoa, dried fruit and nuts and season with salt, pepper and sage to taste. If the mixture seems a little dry, add some broth a half cup at a time until it has achieved the consistency you would like.

Fill the squash rings generously with the stuffing. Bake at 375 F/190 C for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

11 Feb

I’m always on the look out for great salads. When I find a salad that is delicious and can sit in the fridge ready for lunches… I’m sold. B’s wee adventure to Cuba had me looking for a salad with Cuban influence, they were few and far between. So I sashayed across to the Andes, still within Latino territory, where quinoa, the grain-like seed, originates. If you haven’t used quinoa, welcome. Welcome to a seed that is packed with protein and nutrients. It’s filling too.

This salad has so much flavour it knocks my socks off every time I make it. So I guess it is lucky I live in warm weather huh?

You’ll need…

Quinoa, spring onion (scallion), coriander (cilantro), limes for juicing, pickled jalapeño, sweet corn, black beans, celery, garlic, ground cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) comes in a range of colours. Feel free to use whatever colour you like for this recipe, or even a combination like I did here.

First I cooked the quinoa by boiling four cups of water on high heat and adding a tablespoon of salt. After turning the heat down to medium, I added the quinoa and let it simmer for about 12 minutes.



The quinoa is cooked through when the small white tail becomes visible. I then strained it well in a small holed strainer and set it aside to cool a little.

I prepared the rest of the salad ingredients and put them in a big bowl as I went. I chopped the spring onion (scallion), the coriander (cilantro),

the pickled jalapeños, and the celery. The celery is my addition, the original recipe called for red pepper, so by all means use it if you like it.

I drained and rinsed the canned black beans, tossed them in and the corn also. I added the quinoa and mixed well.

Then to make the dressing… I juiced the limes, and added the juice to the oil,

then threw in the salt, pepper, ground cumin and garlic and whisked with a fork. Here limes are bountiful, but back home in Australia I would be substituting the limes for lemons, for the sake of the mortgage.

I poured the dressing over the salad then tossed it all through.

The salad can sit in the fridge until you serve it. I find it also keeps for a couple of days in the fridge. It may last longer, but I haven’t ever managed to keep it that long.



It is a meal on its own, you can also pair it with a piece of roasted chicken, fish, whatever you fancy.


Latin America has me captivated.

Where will B go next? Tag!

QUINOA AND BLACK BEAN SALAD
adaption of recipe from tasty kitchen
ingredients

Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa, any combination of colours
1 tablespoon of salt for the quinoa cooking water
1/2 cup chopped spring onions (scallions)
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), for me it took a medium sized bunch
20 slices of pickled jalapeño, chopped
1 cup of chopped celery, or red pepper (capsicum)
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups of sweet corn

Dressing
75ml (5tbsp) fresh lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
a good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic minced

Cook the quinoa in simmering salted water until you see the small white tail. That should take around 12 minutes. Drain well and allow to cool a little. Put all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork before pouring over and stirring through the salad.

The salad is delicious there and then, but you can make it in advance and refrigerate it. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a couple of days.

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