Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa-Stuffed Collard Wraps

Are you ready for this? Quinoa-Stuffed Collard Wraps—a bit time consuming but so worth the effort!

A while back, some of my former coworkers and I were swapping quinoa recipes. It was the type of  bourgeoisie, “I only shop at Whole Foods” kind of conversation that you’d expect to see parodied on a sitcom. {For the record, you can usually find me roaming the aisles of Safeway or Wegmans, depending on if it’s raining or not—because Wegmans has a parking garage and there’s nothing worse than trying to load a car with two kids and tons of groceries in the rain. But I digress …}

This recipe was, by far, the most unique and interesting one shared. It comes from my former colleague, James, who grew up in Southern California (for some reason, that fact seems relevant to me with this recipe). I love collard greens but, growing up in the south, I’ve pretty much only ever had them boiled in fat back—delicious, but not exactly the healthiest way to enjoy collards.

I was intrigued by this completely different use of the green, and the filling just sounded delicious. They were every bit as good as I was hoping. I did adapt the original recipe a bit by adding garlic (because why not?!) and sauteing the veggies instead of boiling them. One word of caution: while you don’t want to blanch the collards too long, you also want to make sure to blanch them long enough. If the collard isn’t cooked enough, it a) won’t be flexible enough to roll and b) will be chewy as all get out, which makes this nearly impossible to eat. Enjoy!

Quinoa Collard Wraps

Quinoa-Stuffed Collard Wraps

1 bunch collard greens
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 package Italian Turkey Sausage (Sweet or Hot, depending on your preference)
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

 

1. Remove the sausage from its casing and brown separately over medium-high heat. Once browned, finely chop it up and set it aside.

2. In the same pan that you used for the sausage, heat a little bit of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the squash, zucchini, and cauliflower and cook until all is tender and slightly browned, approximately 15 minutes.

3. Prepare the quinoa in a separate pot according to the directions on the package, using the vegetable broth instead of water for extra flavor.

4. Once the quinoa is done, stir in the vegetables and sausage. Mix well.

5. Wash each collard leaf thoroughly. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water near the stove top. Working with one or two collard leaves at a time, boil them for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove each leaf from the boiling water and place in the ice water for a few seconds. Transfer from the ice water to a paper towel and pat dry. Be careful not to overcook the collards, as they will fall apart when you add the filling. Also, try not to stack the collards, since they may stick and tear.

6. Take a couple spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture, place it in the collard leaf, and roll it up like a burrito. You can serve these as is or with a balsamic vinaigrette for dipping.


Spinach and Feta Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt Dill Sauce

I have learned from experience that just because something looks good on Pinterest does not mean it’s going to look (or taste!) Pinterest-worthy.

I happened to have some quinoa left over from dinner the night before, so I thought I’d check out my food board to see if I had previously pinned anything I hadn’t yet tried. These quinoa cakes caught my eye, so I figured I would give them a shot. Worst case scenario, we could always order a pizza for dinner. Luckily for me, this recipe from  Panini Happy delivered!

I served these in whole wheat pitas with the yogurt dill sauce and sliced cucumbers and couscous on the side. Delicious!!

Quinoa Cakes

Spinach and Feta Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt Dill Sauce

½ cup plain Greek yogurt, reduced-fat or whole
2 tbsp finely chopped scallions
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 oz chopped baby spinach
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups cooked quinoa
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup bread crumbs

To make the Yogurt Dill Sauce:

Whisk together the yogurt, scallions, lemon juice, and 2 tsp of the dill in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.

To make the Quinoa Cakes:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium-size bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, quinoa, feta, remaining dill, lemon zest, and about ¼ tsp black pepper and mix well. Mix in the bread crumbs and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb some of the moisture.
  3. Heat a sauté or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  4. Form quinoa patties about 2 ½ inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Place the patties on the pan, in batches if necessary, and close the lid. Grill the patties until they’re cooked through and browned on the outside, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve warm with yogurt dill sauce.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

When I saw this recipe in the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light, it immediately went on our menu for the following week. I love making quinoa because it’s such a healthy, nutrient-packed grain and, luckily, my two year old can’t get enough of it! So I was eager to try this spicy grilled shrimp with quinoa salad because it was different than any other dish I had tried thus far. I did cut back just a little bit on the spice because neither I nor Olivia can hang with the heat, and I made a couple of other small adjustments to the original recipe—like more cilantro mixed right into the salad.

While this dish was delicious for dinner, I have to say that the leftovers were even better for lunch the next day after the flavors had really meshed together.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
10 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 lb)
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup water
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp honey
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup diced peeled avocado
1 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Cooking spray
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Combine 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

3. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves and quinoa; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool. Combine remaining 2 tbsp lime juice, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, remaining ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado, ¼ cup cilantro and cheese; toss gently.

4. Remove shrimp from bowl; discard marinade. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ tsp salt. Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until done.

5. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 skewers. Garnish with remaining cilantro.


Must-try Healthy Foods for 2013

New year, new opportunities! Make 2013 the year you jump on the healthy food trend bandwagon and cook outside the box. Here are my favorite healthy foods YOU should be trying this year.

1. Kale
Kale is the superstar of the leafy green family. Not only is it high in antioxidants, it contains important nutrients like Vitamins A and C, iron, fiber, potassium, and calcium. If you’re a beginner, try working kale into a pasta dish (it resembles spinach when it’s sautéed in a little garlic and olive oil). Try this Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta or this Kale and Bacon Risotto. You can also brush kale leaves with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 15 minutes at 350° for a crispy, savory snack!

2. Quinoa
This grain is high in fiber and protein and can be substituted for rice and pasta in many dishes for a more nutritional option. And bonus, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa! For maximum flavor, cook quinoa in a vegetable or chicken broth instead of plain water. My favorite quinoa recipe so far is this Southwestern Quinoa dish. So yummy!

3. Lentils
Lentils can be tricky to cook (often turning out either crunchy or mushy), but if you can nail the process, this pantry staple has the same amount of protein as a steak! I love these Mushroom Lentil Burgers I made from Cooking Light (they use precooked lentils!), and I also make this Butternut Squash, Chicken, & Lentil Stew that is simply delicious!

4. Greek Yogurt
There’s one big reason why I prefer Greek Yogurt over regular yogurt—it has about double the protein for the same amount of calories. With so many brands jumping on the Greek Yogurt train, there are lots of options, and there’s almost always one that’s on sale. I love Chobani and Dannon’s Oikos yogurt. And it’s not just for breakfast—plain Greek Yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream!

5. Brussel Sprouts
I have to admit, I used to turn my nose up at brussel sprouts—and without cause, as I had never even had them. But once I tried them, I was hooked! Brussels are packed with vitamins, iron, folate, and fiber, and they happen to be super easy to make. Just cut off the ends, drizzle the brussels with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and roast at 400° for about 35-40 minutes.

What healthy foods are you looking forward to trying (or eating more of, hopefully!) this year?


Our New Favorite Quinoa Recipe!

I wrote in this post last month that I was trying to incorporate more quinoa (aka the “super grain”) into our diets. I have lived up to my end of the deal by trying all kinds of different variations and recipes, but this one is now the hands down favorite! I started with this recipe from  Allrecipes.com as a base, and then I made my own little tweaks. This dish has so much flavor, and you can even make it spicy if you want by adding more cayenne pepper and diced jalapeños. We ate this as a one-dish meal, but you could leave the chicken out and have it as a side dish.

Southwestern Quinoa

2 tsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Soak the quinoa in cold water for about 10-15 minutes and then drain the water. (Rinsing the quinoa like this cuts the bitterness.)

While the quinoa is soaking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten and even out the chicken breasts slightly (to about a half inch thick) before adding them to the pan. Cook the chicken 6-7 minutes on each side or until it’s cooked through. Set the chicken aside to rest before chopping it up.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the vegetable oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender and slightly brown. Add the quinoa to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. This toasts the quinoa a bit and brings out the nutty flavor.

Cover the quinoa with the vegetable broth, and add the cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Dice the chicken while the quinoa is cooking. Once the quinoa is done, add the frozen corn and the chicken and cook for 5 more minutes. Finally, stir in the black beans and cilantro and remove from heat.

 


Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

I’ve only ever made quinoa once before (the Near East brand out of the box, which was good), and I decided we needed to incorporate this super grain into more of our meals. The July issue of Cooking Light had a bunch of suggestions for different mix-ins you could use with quinoa. I decided to take one of those ideas and expound upon it, and I ended up with this healthy quinoa salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
10 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 avocado, diced
1 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
salt
pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauté the shrimp over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until they curl and turn orange.  {You could also grill the shrimp on a skewer for some great charred flavor, which would be delicious.}

I used frozen corn for this dish, but fresh grilled corn cut off the cob would be amazing! Whichever type you decide to use, cook it (or warm it up) before adding it to the salad.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.