A month ago, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) asked for my help coming up with toppings for these gorgeous beet, quinoa, and black bean burgers. How could I refuse?! Before I tell you what we decided on, let me tell you about the burgers themselves.
The are firm, full of flavor, have great texture, and are a little bit smoky. Everyone always says this, but they do taste very meaty. I swear.
Veggie burgers rely on many ingredients to make a good product. They can be notoriously mushy and fall apart. This recipe seems to hit all the right notes to make a great burger. Mushrooms, onions, and beets give moisture and flavor; quinoa gives texture; and black beans and ground nuts hold it all together.
I have been trying to make bread for years. I have tried so many different recipes, and never been happy with any of them. Until Melissa introduced to to this recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen, that is. It's so ridiculously easy - there's no kneading, just mixing and rising - and the texture is amazing. I'm seriously obsessed with it.
First step - activate yeast. And while that is happening, stir together flour, spelt flour, salt, and seeds. Melissa uses 1 tbsp each of quinoa, flax, chia, and millet - I don't like flax seeds very much, so I use 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp each quinoa, chia, and millet.
Then you mix the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and THAT'S IT (at least as far as mixing goes). It's so stupidly easy. Let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Everyone knows that crab legs go perfectly with drawn (melted) butter, especially if it had lemon and garlic in it. But what do you do if you are craving that combo in a lighter dish? Melissa and I decided to make a quinoa salad incorporating those flavors, along with fresh avocado, to keep things nice and light. Yum.
Step 1 - acquire crab legs. I got a pretty good deal on pre-cooked king crab legs at Costco.
Step 2 - remove crab meat. This was both thrilling and frustrating. I felt compelled to extract every last shred of meat from those suckers - not an easy task, but very rewarding. This will take a while, so start cooking your quinoa in the meantime (Step 1.5? 2.5? I give up). We used a 3:1 mixture of white and black quinoa because we thought it would look pretty (we were right), you can use whatever you like.
This salad is so pretty! And yummy! And easy! And healthy! And did I mention how pretty it is? Light and fresh, and perfect for Spring or Summer. This would be great to bring to a potluck or picnic.
All you do is cook and cool quinoa (I really like the tri-color for this), which can be done in advance. Then top with cut watermelon, strawberries, and feta. Drizzle with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Then finish with basil and sliced almonds. That's it! I used some purple basil from my garden, isn't it pretty? It tastes just like regular Genovese basil.
You can serve it in a platter, or individual containers - up to you! I think it would travel pretty well, especially if you pack the dressing separately. It's also really satisfying - you have crunch from the watermelon, almonds, and even the quinoa (which is also very filling), and a salty-sweet combo that is just awesome.
You know that cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that makes it's way to every potluck ever? That is so bad for you, but so yummy, that you eat heaps of it and you tell yourself that it's got broccoli so it's okay? Well here's your chance to pig out, because this version (made with quinoa instead of rice) is a lot better for you.
Of course, to convince my husband to eat it (and because I wanted more protein without having to make a separate dish), I threw some shredded rotisserie chicken in there. You can see in the photo that I just threw big florets of steamed broccoli in there. I ended up wishing that the broccoli was more evenly spread throughout, so I will recommend chopping it first.
This is hearty, and creamy, and just plain awesome. Kids (and big kids) will gobble it up.
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!
I don't know if you've noticed yet, but warm quinoa salads are kind of the go-to for my friend, Melissa, and I (like this one, and this one, and this one). So when we didn't really have a lunch plan a couple of weeks ago, we decided to throw some her CSA veg into, you guessed it, a warm quinoa salad. I would apologize for the repetition, but these salads are healthy and filling and delicious, so I'm not sorry!
This time around, Melissa was drowning in fall squash. So we diced up a butternut and threw it in the oven with a sliced onion.
Meanwhile, we cooked up our pretty tri-color quinoa and tossed in some toasted pine nuts. You could easily sub walnuts or pecans instead.
In went the roasted veg and some arugula, along with some fresh thyme. Again, you could easily sub another type of green (I do love peppery arugula, though) and whatever herbs you have on hand.
Lastly, and certainly not least, we added in some goat cheese. We both seriously love goat cheese. We mixed half of the cheese into the salad to get it melty, and crumbled the rest on top so there would be nice pockets of it.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese
original recipe, click here for Melissa's post
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, sliced in half-moons
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups baby arugula
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the squash and onion in olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper.
Spread the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet covered in foil. Roast for 25–30 minutes, turning the veggies over halfway through. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until the water is absorbed and the curlicues pop out. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the pine nuts, roasted veggies, thyme, arugula, and half the goat cheese into the quinoa; crumble the rest of the cheese over top. Serve warm.
This vegetarian/vegan meal that I made with Melissa of Smells Like Brownies is perfect for summer. It is light and fresh (but still filling), takes advantage of summer produce, and is packed with protein.
All you have to do is combine the ingredients - corn, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeno, black beans, cooked quinoa.
Then toss with a dressing of lime, olive oil, honey, and cumin.
Top with some fresh cilantro (or parsley if you, like me, are not a fan) and your perfect summer lunch awaits! You can serve it warm, cold, or room temp - doesn't matter. The ingredient list is also totally flexible, go with whatever ratio of quinoa to veg you like, take out the stuff you don't like, add in something you do, make it yours.
Halloumi is a salty, dense Greek cheese that is super amazing when grilled. My friend Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, is a big fan so she was pretty excited when I showed her this recipe. Hearty quinoa mixed with lettuce and veggies and topped with warm cheese - delish!
We didn't end up having the cucumbers the original recipe called for, so we used tomatoes instead and they were great. I do really like cucumbers, though, so I would say to use both. The more veg, the better, right? The dressing includes red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, and scallion - yum!
We also discovered (by oiling one side and not the other of an electric grill) that the cheese gets better grill marks when the grill is not oiled. Don't worry, though, it won't stick!
This is a very satisfying (and light!) vegetarian lunch that is sure to make even meat eaters happy.
Here is a dish that is simple, easy, healthy, and totally delicious.
All you do is mix together cooked quinoa, wilted kale, caramelized onions, eggs, and cheese; then bake until set.
It sets up a bit like a frittata. So simple!
Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche
adapted from Food 52
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese (or Laughing Cow), cubed
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9" pie dish (either butter the dish thoroughly or spray with baking spray).
Rinse the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a pan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. This will take about twenty minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, start to caramelize the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large saute on medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Slowly cook until the onions are soft and browned. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the kale into the hot onion pan. On medium heat, cook until the kale is wilted and bright green, about two minutes. Allow the greens to cool. Squeeze out any extra liquid using a sieve or a clean dish towel.
Add the kale, quinoa, garlic, cream cheese and cheddar to the mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients so that they are evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs so that they are well combined. Pour over the quinoa/kale mixture. Stir until the egg clings to the greens. Add salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture in the prepared pie dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the pie has started to pull away from the edge of the baking dish. This dish is delightful hot, but even better at room temperature.