Tag Archives: Quinoa

Creamy, Healthy Corn and Quinoa Chowder!

Last night, in keeping with the weather theme of this whole week, it was FREEZING. Well, freezing for California which is still pretty cold (like 30-40 degrees)! So of course, I decided that soup would be the perfect thing to make for dinner and warm all of us up. Corn Chowder is something I’ve always enjoyed – but I never eat more than 2 bites of it because the traditional recipe is made with tons of butter and cream / whole milk – so the soup ends up being like 50% fat and tons of calories. Then I found this recipe on Vegetarian Times and I was super excited to try it because of all the healthy substitutions! The recipe and my modifications are below – enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used white just because it makes the soup look more creamy)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil (I probably used about 3/4 of a Tbsp)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 large red potato, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 small shallots, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups plain soymilk (I used low fat soymilk)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Lime wedges, optional (I would actually recommend using the Lime because it adds a wonderful flavor to the soup!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste – this is a MUST!

Directions

  1. Toast quinoa and cumin seeds in pot over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Heat oil in pot; add corn, potato and shallots. Sauté 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent. Add broth and soymilk, and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in quinoa mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in bell pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  7. I served it with toasted pita wedges which were fun to use as little dippers in the soup!

The Nutritionals are also great: The recipe makes 6 servings; and one HUGE serving only has ~250 calories, 8g protein and 5g fiber!

The Ingredients…

The quinoa/cumin waiting to be toasted

And the rest of the ingredients – mostly from Trader Joe’s of course! 🙂

And the Finished Product!

I love the creaminess of the soup without adding tons of fat/calories! The red pepper and cilantro add a brightness of color to the dish, and the lime added a great brightness of flavor which was a nice surprise for our tastebuds 🙂

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Quinoa Vegetable Paella!

This weekend was SUPER rainy and wet… so rainy, in fact, that on Friday when I was driving home from SF, I sat in traffic for TWO HOURS! To put that in context, that’s two hours to travel 35 miles on the highway. Crazy huh? Needless to say, I was really annoyed when I got home and in no mood to cook. But – we had nothing to eat! And I was also in no mood to drive around in the rain to pick up food. So, I decided to suck it up and try out a recipe that I had all the ingredients for already at home – a recipe I found on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for Quinoa Veggie Paella! I figured if I powered through and made the recipe, that I’d end up being really happy when I was eating it – and I was right 🙂 I made a few modifications to the original recipe – so my modified version is below. This was a great, warming, flavorful meal – the perfect cure to a cold, rainy night!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 4 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa (I only used 1 cup of quinoa and that was more than enough!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I probably used closer to 1-1.5 tsp)
  • dash cayenne (I used at least 1/8 tsp, or maybe even 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted diced tomatoes for some extra flavor)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 3/4 – 3 cups vegetable broth (I only needed about 2.5 cups)
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 3 additional ingredients that I added: A few healthy splashes of lemon juice; salt to taste (you definitely need salt in this dish!), and sliced almonds. I felt like the dish was a little bland without the extra spices and salt. And I added the lemon juice to round out the Spanish flavor profile – which it totally did!

Getting the food prepped… first, the onions and garlic

Then the quinoa and saffron (both from Trader Joe’s – saffron can be a pricey ingredient but at Trader Joe’s it’s not that expensive)

Cutting up the remaining veggies – zucchini and a red pepper

And finally, the rest of the ingredients: veggie broth, artichoke hearts, kidney beans and the diced fire roasted tomatoes!

Now for the Directions

  1. Put the quinoa into a large bowl. Cover with water and stir well to wash the grain. Pour off the water and then repeat the washing process. You may also put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little (2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil until soft.
  3. Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done.
  6. Remove the cover, stir in the peas, and cook uncovered until peas are warm and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes (mine actually took about 15 minutes).
  7. Season with a few splashes of lemon juice, salt and stir in a few Tbsp of sliced almonds
  8. Arrange the artichoke hearts on the top and serve with a sprinkling of sliced almonds on top

Enjoy! This recipe makes about 6 servings and one serving only has about 290 calories, with 10g Fiber and 13g protein! And now for the pictures. First – toasting the quinoa with the onions and garlic…

Paella is almost done, just simmering away…

Time to eat! This recipe was so good that I’m actually going to have the leftovers tonight for dinner 🙂 Thanks Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for a really creative veggie paella recipe!

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Quinoa and Corn Griddle Cakes With Black Bean Salsa!

I haven’t cooked a new recipe in a really long time! Things have been so busy that I’ve just fallen into old patterns of cooking and eating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that 🙂 But today I was inspired by a recipe I found in Prevention Magazine – and it turned out great! Recipe and pictures are below – enjoy!

Ingredients – Cakes

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s organic quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce (I used Tobasco)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Ingredients – Salsa

  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions

1. Prepare cakes: Mix quinoa, water, and broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 min. Fluff with a fork

2. Combine quinoa and remaining cake ingredients except oil in a medium bowl

3. Make salsa: Mix together all salsa ingredients in a large bowl and set aside

Quinoa Mixture

Quinoa Mixture

Salsa Mixture

Salsa Mixture

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4. Heat oil on large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture at a time and drop onto skillet, flattening into pancake shape with back of spatula (makes 8 cakes). Cook until browned on bottom, about 3-4 min. Flip carefully and cook about 3-4 min longer. Serve with black bean salsa, regular prepared salsa (I like Pace Picante) and guacamole (I like Trader Joe’s prepared guacamole).

Quinoa Cakes just beginning to cook

Quinoa Cakes just beginning to cook

Finished Cakes!

Finished Cakes!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

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Nutritional Information

Serving Size – 2 griddle cakes & salsa

Calories: 344

Protein: 15g

Fiber: 10g

Fat: 13g

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