Skillet Quinoa with Broccoli, Spinach and Parmesan

On May 3, 2017, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Simple vegetarian meals are always excellent options for weekday after work cooking. This dish is a great addition since it only takes about 20 minutes to make with most of the time spent just waiting for the quinoa to cook.

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If you want to save additional time and make this dish in about 10 minutes or less, pre cook your quinoa the night before and add it to the pan to reheat with the vegetables.

Full Recipe: Broccoli, Spinach, Quinoa Skillet.

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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

On June 6, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I tend to think of squash in October when front porches are getting filled with pumpkins and gourds and comfort food permeates the desire to stay warm as the weather cools down from the summer heat. While that may be the case through the years, I’m starting to change the behavior each time I enjoy squash outside of the Fall season.  Why relegate this flavorful food to only one season?  Just because it is most associated with comfort food. Isn’t comfort food something relevant all year?

In my challenge to this behavior, I was presented some beautiful acorn squash at the Studio City Farmers’ Market.  I picked one from the box of freshly picked squash and paid my $2.

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Roasting squash gives it such a beautiful color and really makes the ‘meat’ inside come to life. For this recipe, I simply brushed some olive oil and cracked some pepper and salt over each half after cleaning out the seeds.  You can follow what I did here with quinoa stuffing or you can mix it up. Feel free to use couscous or farro instead of quinoa.  Also any diced dried fruit works too.  Cranberries, apricots, go ahead and experiment for your own creation.  Or you can just do what I did if you want to guarantee success.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons dried cherries, diced
1 celery stalk, think sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place acorn squash halves on foil and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper the inside of the squash. Face the inside up on the baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Turn the squash over and cook for 10 minutes longer then remove and keep warm.

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Cook your quinoa according the package directions. You’ll need only a 1/2 cup of dried quinoa.  Once cooked set aside and keep warm.

When squash is ready, add the quinoa, celery and cherries a saute pan with a tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes.  Spoon the mixture into the roast squash.  Add a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of chopped mint on top of each squash. (Note: in my photo above I forgot to add the mint. Mint is optional, but preferred.)

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Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

On May 16, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If I’m being honest, this recipe is a bit “kitchen sink.” Meaning, I looked into the refrigerator wondering what to make with all the various vegetables I had after a stop this weekend at the La Canada Farmers Market and Whole Foods.

I then took a look at my pantry to figure out which grain or bean to use. After some back and forth with a bag of tri-color couscous and rainbow quinoa, I went quinoa. The choice was simple, since I barely had any couscous left.

What I like about this recipe is it’s flexibility. If you don’t have parsnips, use some peapods or maybe a potato. Just play around with it and experiment on your own.  You can even add some dried cranberries or almond slices.

Create away! Or not and follow the recipe below exactly as I have it.

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
Serves 2-3

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
pinch of saffron
salt

2 cups chopped kale
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2-inch
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons cumin
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Add carrots, parsnip and red onion to a baking tray lined with foil. Toss together with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon, ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add salt and pepper. Heat for 30 minutes in the oven. Turning every 10 minutes so the vegetables don’t stick or burn to the foil.

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Heat quinoa and water adding saffron and salt to a small pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at boil, reduce to a simmer and keep covered cooking for 15 minutes until the water is all absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside keeping covered to stay warm.

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Once the quinoa is done, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan and add celery and kale along with remaining teaspoon of turmeric, cardamom and cumin.  Toss and saute for 2 minutes. Don’t let the kale get wilted, keep it cooked but still firm. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Assemble dished with a small mound of quinoa and then place kale and celery mixture on quinoa.  Finally, add the roasted vegetables to complete. Optionally, you can add some chopped green onions or scallions.

Enjoy!

 

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Strawberry Quinoa Balsamic Salad

On February 18, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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“That’s the worst!  I will never ever eat that again in my whole life!”

Famous last words from my soon to be 9 year old son.  Oscar, our other child, didn’t like it either.  So this was a complete fail if you are going to try it on kids or at least my kids. Maybe you’ll have better luck than we did at the dinner table. Fortunately, they had some “peace noodles” from Annie’s Organics. Oh well, we tried.

What they rejected my wife and I enjoyed.  This is light, summer dish made for a great tasting main course with some rustic bread we picked up from the South Pasadena Farmers Market. You can use this recipe for lunch, dinner and probably even breakfast. The combination of strawberries, cucumbers and spinach made for a light but filling meal.

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Combine it with some mozzarella cheese and you have an excellent way to enjoy quinoa, that is if you’re older than 10 and don’t think quinoa is the yuckiest thing on the planet.

The adventurous might also want to experiment with the dressing.  The recipe is a simple honey balsamic vinegar dressing.  A citrus based dressing would work will too and is something I will try next time when I make this again.  Considering it’s 80 degrees in Los Angeles in February, I won’t have to wait until summer…

Full Recipe: [Strawberry Quinoa Balsamic Salad]

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Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

On January 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love a good casserole.  Unlike the casseroles of my 1970-80s childhood, casseroles are far better than the tuna and enchilada casseroles of the past.  Take for example this delicious combination using fresh broccoli and quinoa.

The dish also uses shredded cheddar cheese and just a little amount of milk and mayo which leaves a dish that focuses the flavor mostly on the broccoli, and that’s a good thing.

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We enjoyed it with a simple side salad for a complete meal.  This works great if you’re into Meatless Mondays or Meatless whatever day.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Broccoli Quinoa Casserole]

 

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Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake

On February 15, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a recipe from the kitchen. Sadly 2014 hasn’t been the year of focusing much on my blog as I planned. Perhaps this first post of 2014 will change that and get me back on track as there is so much going on as we are getting ready for the boys to turn 8 next week and I’ve been having fun trying some new dishes out too.

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This was a Pinterest find from my wife’s collection. There’s a wonderful simplicity in this dish and versatility. It could easily be made as a main course, like we did the past week, or used as a chip dip.  With loads of gooey cheese and vegetables mixed with quinoa and an enchilada sauce, the dish can be enjoyed several ways.

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Full Recipe: [Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake]

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Kale Salad with Apples, Grapes and Quinoa

On October 6, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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There’s a restaurant in Pasadena we go to often because they offer amazing kid meals for $3.  The kids get fresh fruit, vegetable, and several options. The best part is they have quite a few good options for us to enjoy and they have a great outdoor patio.  La Grande Orange Cafe is a go to place and one of my wife’s favorite dishes is the kale salad.

Here is my attempt at making their kale salad, which my wife said turned out a lot like La Grande Orange Cafe.

Kale Salad with Apples, Grapes and Quinoa
Serves 4

1 bunch red or green kale, chiffonade
1 apple, thin slices
1 cup red grapes, halved
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego, shredded
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Dressing
1 lemon, juice and peel
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash the kale and fruit.  Cook the quinoa using the directions on the package. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa and it cooks for 15 minutes per 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water on a medium, covered gentle boil. Reserve extra quinoa for another dish.

Slice apples and grapes.  Chiffonade the kale and place in a serving bowl, toss with apples, grapes, cooked quinoa, sunflower seeds and shred cheese on top.

Squeeze the of one lemon in a bowl and use a lemon peeler to grate some peel.  Slowly add the olive oil and whisk as olive oil is added to keep the dressing thick. Salt and pepper to taste and add any extra olive oil if necessary.  Add dressing to salad bowl and toss to coat.

Serve.

 

 

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

On April 28, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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After a couple weekends of back-to-back smoked meats, I was due for a Saturday and Sunday of vegetarian meals. Last night was some great Asparagus Risotto. Following up last night’s meal, I had some beautiful swiss chard from the La Canada Farmers’ Market that needed to get used.  This dish was a perfect way to end the weekend.

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Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens in soups.  It has such a wonderful bitterness that when coupled with some spices – and this dish is full of complex spices – it really shines a wonderful green choice.

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The addition of cinnamon and allspice in this soup really comes through in the final produce. Couple the dish with a hearty sourdough bread.  Also the quinoa is optional and best to use if you are making this soup as a main course.

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Vegan Moroccan Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 45 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, rough bite size cut
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch moons
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the carrots, onions, and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add the spices except the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Let it cook and combine for about 2 minutes. Add the beans and coat the beans with the spices too letting it cook for another minute.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Heat the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minute simmer, add the swiss chard then again cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with a good sourdough bread.
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Mexican Sweet Potato Quinoa

On May 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Quinoa is a versatile “grain” many have come to love.  Oddly, quinoa is not technically a grain it is what’s known as a pseudocereal and is related to the family beets, spinach and tumbleweeds belong to.

This dish takes a rather unique take on the ingredient by combining a few vegetables with some Mexican spices. I coupled it with some homemade guacamole and tortilla chips.

It also makes for excellent leftovers.

For the Recipe: Mexican Sweet Potato Quinoa

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Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos

On February 27, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Mexican dishes offer a lot of options for vegetarian cooks.  There are a ton of recipes for vegetarian or vegan enchiladas, including some I’ve made myself.  Tacos, burritos and quesadillas are all excellent vegetarian options since pretty much everything is simply stuff a tortilla.  Stuffed peppers in dishes like Chiles Rellenos also provide an option for the non-meat eating cook.

This dish is adapted from a blog post find; though, the original post doesn’t give any exact measurements and tasted a bit bland so I’ve added a few changes to make it more flavorful.

Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos
Serves 4

4 Poblano Chiles
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, small cubes
1 can of black beans, drained
1 small red onion
1 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco cheese
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the red quinoa following the instructions from the quinoa bag or other recipe.  A simple version is 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed several times, added to a 1 1/4 cup of water. Once boiling then cover and reduce heatto simmer and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Roast Poblano chiles on an open flame or in the oven. For a gas stove, simply heat chiles on an open flame at medium-high heat turning often for about 3 minutes per chile.  Set aside in a paper bag and let cool. Remove after 5 minutes and peel skins and seed, cut open leaving top of chile and just enough to later stuff.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes for about 8-10 minutes in salted water. Add onion and garlic to a pan with the olive oil. Saute for about 4 minutes, do not brown. Add black beans and reduce heat to simmer.  Add cilantro and the other herbs to the pan along with the cooked potatoes. Increase the heat to medium and blend the mixture to coat with the herbs and salt & pepper to taste.  Remove from heat after combined.

Stuff the poblanos with the potato and bean mixture.  Crumble cheese on top of each stuffed chile. Place stuffed poblanos in a boiler for 3 minutes to let cheese melt and brown.

Serve using a large spoonful of red quinoa and placing stuffed poblano on top of quinoa.

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