We are still onto the vegetable dishes in a gesture to be more healthy and I have found some great new ways to use winter vegetables. This Baked Quinoa dish is a mac and cheese (cheese makes it not vegan unless you use vegan cheese) alternative that was prepared and sampled by a teacher friend’s middle school in Maine during a Healthy Recipe Contest. The concept of introducing students to new vegetables and food items that they may have never sampled and learning about healthy eating at school is so awesome, we love it.
Ok, so the Baked Quinoa competed against a Vegetable Soup and a Chili Recipe all prepared by a guest chef at the school. The Baked Quinoa won! The recipe includes mushrooms, greens, and fresh corn in it but you could really add any veggies you like. The other great aspect to the Baked Quinoa is that it is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan friendly. We ate it for lunches and as a side dish at almost every meal this week.
When I first read the calorie count on quinoa, I was overwhelmed because the package said:
- 1 cup of uncooked quinoa has a total of 637 calories
Then I was relieved to realize that:
- 1 cup of COOKED quinoa has only about 254 calories and 9 grams of protein
This recipe was posted by KelliesBelly.com – Thanks guys for sharing!
Baked Quinoa Recipe
- 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 c. fresh chopped kale or spinach
- 1 c. fresh corn
- 1 c. fresh chopped mushrooms
- 2 c. dry quinoa
- 1-2 c. of cheese (swiss, monterey jack, feta or your favorite – we used pepper jack)
1. Cook quinoa according to the directions (2 parts water, 1 part grain) and set aside.
2. In a medium pan, sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium high heat until almost tender. Add the garlic for 1 minute and then add the kale or spinach until softened. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to wilt the greens. Add the corn and mushrooms and cook for an additional minute and remove pan from the heat.
3. Combine the quinoa, vegetables, ½ of the cheese with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Put the mixture in a pam sprayed casserole dish, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Alternative: If you wanted to add meat, you could add cooked sausage, diced. Or if you are vegan you could add a meat alternative to the dish as well.