Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Well, we’re halfway through the summer semester and I still haven’t gotten back to blogging very much. I am cooking more. In fact, I am trying to select one recipe each week from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I have had this cookbook for a couple of years and haven’t really utilized it very often. So it is a goal of mine to pick this cookbook up more often.

I did recently remake a recipe that I came up with last summer and never blogged about, so finally, here it is. I am always looking for good things to take with me in my thermos to eat during my lunch break at work or the long day I have on campus this semester. And I remembered this recipe when I started seeing those beautiful red, seedless grapes on sale. I also tried this recipe out on my group of gluten free girlfriends (last summer though) and everyone enjoyed it. I hope you will too! (PS: It does contain meat as it was just for me and my lunches.)

Yes, you’re probably already celebrating, with your holiday picnics underway as I type, but this recipe would be a good one to take to a potluck or summer barbecue later this summer.

And with that, I had better get off the computer and go get ready for the July 4th Extravaganza over at my friend, Heidi’s, house. I hope you’re enjoying your holiday!

Poppyseed Quinoa Chicken Salad

Poppyseed Quinoa Chicken Salad

1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to instructions

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup grape halves

4 oz chicken, cooked and diced

2-4 Tbsp poppyseed dressing (such as Briannas or Ken’s)

1/4 cup almonds, sliced or chopped

Cook quinoa according to directions. Allow to cool completely. Mix together cooled quinoa, celery, grapes and chicken in a large bowl. Stir in dressing, as desired. (If your quinoa is still warm you will need more dressing as it seems to soak up more when it is warm).  Mix in almonds before serving.

Size up the recipe for a crowd. As written, this makes about enough for me for 3-4 lunch-sized portions. I often throw it over some mixed greens for some extra umph.


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I am always on the look-out for a new way to make quinoa. I love it so much that I even have a separate category in my bookmarks for quinoa. I love how easy quinoa is to make, and how nutritious it is. So of course, when I saw this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck, inspiration struck again.

We have eaten this salad three times in the past three weeks. Once here at home, just for us, then once for a potluck at work, and then for our monthly celiac support group potluck meeting. It has gotten rave reviews from all!

Lemon Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Inspired by and adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa *

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups tomato, chopped *

2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 avocado, diced *


5 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp honey

1-1/2 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Cool. Combine with other salad ingredients, except the avocado. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Gently stir in dressing. Top with avocado.


* I buy Bob’s Red Mill quinoa from Costco in the large bags. It says that it has been rinsed already. Some quinoa will need to be rinsed to remove the saponin from the surface of the grains, check the box or bag.

* At this time of year I can usually find tasty cherry tomatoes.

* It is best to not mix in the avocado unless you know you will be eating it all since the avocado turns brown after a bit.

* I think this salad tastes best at room temperature.

Do you love quinoa as much as I do? If so, be sure to check out my other quinoa recipes, especially one of my most-viewed and most commented-on recipes – Sweet Potato, Quinoa and  Black Bean Burgers.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. Check it out for more inspiration!

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My husband is frequently amused by the different pizza combinations I come up with, which are often inspired by other bloggers. Last weekend I finally got around to making Maria’s Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion, and it was so full of gorgeous, seasonal flavors. The same evening, my husband made his standard (gluten-full) cheese pizza but he was intrigued by the kale on my pizza and so added some to his own. Maybe there is a possibility of his pizza tastes becoming more sophisticated? (Yeah, right.)

And so, that pizza sent my mind wandering around, thinking of the other possibilities for the flavors I had just enjoyed together. Somehow my mind landed on quinoa. And so did Maria. I laughed when I saw her Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Kale pop up one morning last week. I was like, dang, she beat me to it! But at the same time, it wasn’t quite what I had running through my mind. And so, I introduce you to…

Quinoa with Balsamic Butternut and Kale Saute

An original by Renee, inspired by those listed above

1 butternut squash (2-3#), seeded, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tbsp oil

3 cups kale, de-ribbed, torn into small pieces

1/2 tsp salt


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed (or sage)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with foil.  Toss chopped squash in olive oil to lightly coat. Roast squash until tender, 30 minutes or so, depending on the sizes of squash pieces. Be sure to stir the squash at least once, halfway through. And give the squash plenty of room to “breathe” on the roasting pan so that they are crisp rather than soggy.

Cook quinoa in water according to your favored method (I prefer to use my rice cooker these days).

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Once the quinoa is cooked, in a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil until it begins to soften. Stir in the kale and allow to soften slightly. Next, stir in the roasted squash and allow to heat through slightly, especially if it had cooled down significantly (I had roasted mine the day before). Pour in half of the vinaigrette and stir to coat the vegetables. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the cooked quinoa and salt. Heat through if quinoa had cooled down significantly. Taste. Add more vinaigrette or salt as desired. Serve warm.


We had some goat cheese that needed to be eaten, so I crumbled some up and sprinkled on top as well, after the photo – a very nice addition.

I also thought that adding a can of drained and rinsed white beans might be nice and add a big protein boost (although quinoa is already high in protein).

I saved the extra vinaigrette in a small glass jar to pour over the leftovers. Quinoa has a tendency to suck up some of the flavor and make it disappear after some time in the frig.

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I love quinoa and I am always looking for new ways to make it. The other night I had some leftover quinoa and decided to make up a quick dinner for myself that included enough leftovers for my road trip to the hinterlands the next day. (In rural Arizona there aren’t many options for good gluten free food, as well, I knew I would be short on time.)

This is a sort of “un-recipe” in that I didn’t really measure ingredients out but just tossed it together until it felt right. Here’s an approximation, but do what feels right for you.

Quinoa Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Recipe by Renee

2-3 cups of cooked quinoa, cooled

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

4 artichoke hearts, from a can, chopped (preferably packed in water)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 roasted red pepper, chopped (or fresh red bell pepper)

8 kalamata olives, chopped

a couple of tablespoons parsley, chopped

1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and/or lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

Throw it all in a bowl and mix it up.

Tastes great the next day too! You could add some crumbled feta if you want, but I didn’t because it wasn’t going to be refrigerated the next day on my travels, just packed with an ice pack in my lunch bag. You could also add some finely diced red onion and top with a balsamic vinaigrette.

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I used to love the Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Burgers, before they changed the formula. They used to be labeled gluten free. No longer. Boo.

Now the only choices for gluten free veggie burgers are Sunshine Burgers,which are okay, and Amy’s Bistro Burgers, which are pretty good. Or you can make your own.

I have only made homemade veggie burgers once or twice before and I can’t remember the results being that great as they didn’t become part of our normal repertoire. But I have seen a lot of veggie burger recipes floating around the blogosphere these days.  And recently, over at Gluten Free Homemaker, Linda posted a round-up of burgers on Gluten Free Wednesdays, some of which were vegetarian. So it had me thinking and looking around for some inspiration.

This is what I came up with. And yes, this is a keeper.

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

Inspired by Cupcake Punk and Fat Free Vegan

Makes about 12 medium-sized burgers

1 – 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large sweet potatoes, about 2-1/2 cups, cooked and mashed *

1 -1/2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled *

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup bread crumbs, gluten free

2 Tbsp ketchup

1 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, gluten free *

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Mash up about half of the black beans in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix up well. Form into patties and pan-fry in some oil until browned on both sides. Serve on buns with all the fixings, if you desire. (Canyon Bakehouse now has gluten free hamburger buns and I hear they are pretty tasty! I haven’t tried them yet.)

We ate our burgers bun-less with some baby artichokes (yes, an unusual combination). Later that week I ate the leftovers bun-less with some barbecue sauce and pickles and that was great too. The barbecue sauce was a nice companion to the sweetness of the potato.

I also experimented with the cooking method. Half of the burgers I pan-fried in a little bit of oil. The other half I cooked on my little-used George Foreman grill. We preferred the pan-fried ones as they held together better and they browned slightly. It seemed like the grill didn’t cook them much at all. In the picture above, the burger on the right was done on the grill (you can still see the grill marks) and the burger on the left was pan-fried.


* I microwaved two large sweet potatoes and then split them open and scooped out the inside and mashed it up.

* You could saute the onions and garlic if you desire but I liked the slight crunchiness of the raw onion in the burgers.

* I used leftover quinoa, so I measured 1-1/2 of that after cooking. I am not sure how much you would need to cook in order to end up with 1-1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.

* Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are not always gluten free, some have flour added. Double-check. Open the can, dump it all the food processor and whirl it until it is evenly blended and the whole peppers are all blended. Then take out what you need and freeze the rest. I never use a full can all at once and typically just use a teaspoon or so here or there. I keep it in a freezer container and scoop out just what I need.

* I think I might add more chipotle next time.

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Over the years, I have made quinoa salad quite often, usually with the same standard ingredients of black beans, cilantro and tomatoes. Quinoa pairs well with these flavors but this time I wanted to change things up for a slightly different flavor. I liked the slight sweetness in this dressing from the agave nectar. So, try it, and let me know what you think.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1-1/2 cup quinoa

3 cups water

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced


2 tsp olive oil

1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp agave nectar *

1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder

1/4 tsp salt

garlic powder

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Let it cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl.

Combine all other ingredients except the avocado in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and pour dressing over the top. Mix well.  Gently fold in avocado and serve.


* You can substitute the agave nectar with honey if you’d like.

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Here it is, finally!  A review of the Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad that so many people commented on when I initially posted it for Meal Plan Monday almost two weeks ago. We both liked it. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was good. I wasn’t a big fan of the avocado despite liking avocados a lot. I think the strong, sharp taste of the feta overpowered the avocado and it just got lost. So I have been thinking of modifications for next time.

Also, when I looked at the nutrition facts over on the original recipe, I was a little concerned with the fat content. Yes, I know the fat is mostly from ‘good’ fats, but I was still concerned. I reduced it by using low-fat feta and less oil so that we could still indulge with the avocados.

So you’ve never tried Quinoa? (Pronounced: keen-wah.) Well, quinoa is a high-protein, gluten free, pseudo-grain. (Technically it is a seed.) You can read more about it here and here. It is a nutrition powerhouse. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization compares quinoa’s nutritional content to that of whole dried milk. Read more. Quinoa is a great addition to a vegetarian diet for these reasons. Many gluten free bakers also use quinoa flour to add nutrition to their baked goods. Since I am not much of a baker, I haven’t tried that yet.

Most quinoa recipes I have seen all seem to be along the same theme, so I was excited to see this recipe as it initially seemed a bit different. Thanks to my mother-in-law for sending me this recipe. She knows of my love of quinoa and has bravely eaten it at our house! We chose to eat this as a main course. There were no leftovers, even with my modifications below. Next time I will make more. I also think I will double the amount of quinoa, remove the avocado and add some chopped kalamata olives instead.

Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups water

1 cup uncooked quinoa *

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 cups spinach leaves, torn

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil *

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled *

2 small avocados, diced

Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Add quinoa and stir. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, place tomatoes, onion, spinach, lemon juice and oil in a bowl and stir. Sprinkle with salt. When quinoa is cool, stir into vegetable mixture. Top with avocado and feta.


* I buy Bob’s Red Mill quinoa from Costco in the large bags. It says that it has been rinsed already. Some quinoa will need to be rinsed to remove the saponin from the surface of the grains, check the box or bag.

* I reduced the amount of oil to try to reduce the fat content as well. It was plenty of oil.

* I use Trader Joe’s low-fat feta and like it. I can’t tell the difference.

Please let me know if you try this recipe too and what you think of it!

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