Archives for posts with tag: quinoa

It’s been a long time!  My apologies.  Baby #3 is 10 months old and STILL doesn’t sleep through the night.  So much for the third child being ‘the easy one’.  Oh well.  He’s really cute so we are going to keep him. Anyway…there was such a positive response (thank you) to the quinoa recipe I posted a couple months ago, in addition to questions about how to add this nutritious dynamo to your diets, that I thought I would share my other favorite quinoa recipes.

The first one is as easy as it is delicious.  It’s better suited to warm weather, so if you need more ‘comfort food’ during the Fall and Winter months, tuck this away for Spring and Summer and go directly to the second recipe.  It’s a good one for all seasons.

Some of you are already familiar with the book CLEAN: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate-The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger, MD.  If not, please consider reading it.  I reference this book quite a bit and, as my friend Margo pointed out recently, it’s worth buying for the recipe section alone.  Here’s a link to the book on amazon:

And here’s a link to the CLEAN website:

Here’s the deal: before you visit the website, please understand that you can follow the program without buying anything from their website. Ideally, you will need to purchase a couple supplements, but you don’t need to purchase any of their cleanses, kits or products.  You may ultimately choose to, but I just want you to know that the entire and complete program can be done with items you purchase at the grocery store and a place like Whole Foods that sells nutritional supplements.

And even if you choose to not follow the CLEAN Program legalistically, many of the recipes are so good you will want to incorporate them into your rotation.  This one can easily be doubled and is good as a topping for sliced cucumbers; I just eat it as-is.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

2 cups cooked quinoa (if you have a rice maker, just rinse it and then cook on the ‘white rice’ setting)

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1/4 cup currants (I don’t add these, but the original recipe calls for them)

1/4 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup scallions cut diagonally and sliced thinly

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup lime juice (don’t skimp on this!)

1 tsp. agave nectar

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1. I chop the carrots and almonds together in my food processor then add to the other ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Let sit 20 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend

Here’s the recipe for my husband’s favorite ‘nutritional’ food (understanding that the word ‘nutritional’ is relative).  He doesn’t think the word quinoa is particularly masculine, but he does love these little patties.  As well he should, considering they are a true labor of love.  I devour them, too, but I like that he thinks I’m altruistic, so I allow him to believe I make them just for him.

This recipe is from an outstanding cookbook that is newer in my collection but has quickly become a favorite.  Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.  I will warn you that it has it’s share of typos and she does use the word ‘slather’ ad nauseam, but it’s a GREAT book.  Not vegan or totally raw, but full of great tips on healthier substitutions and helpful anecdotes.  This is another recipe suited to doubling; I often quadruple it with great success because they are good stored in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.  We eat them warm, cold, in a car, on a train, in a house, with a mouse…oh wait…that was mrs.bedtimestory…sorry.  Try these with just plain avocado or goat cheese spread on them like butter, with your favorite pesto, with grilled portobellos in the summer…you name it.  I mentioned they are a labor of love.  Don’t let that deter you from giving these a try, because the work involved is most definitely worth it.  And if you are one of those people who doesn’t mind getting their hands ‘yucky’, then you won’t perceive these as so laborious. Here’s a link to Heidi’s book:

Little Quinoa Patties (I’ve tweaked this a bit and the measurements are somewhat approximate)

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 lb. chevre (goat cheese)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat will work, but try to find one with no added sugar; if mixture is too dry, add another egg or more chevre)

Olive oil for sauteeing

1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, basil, oregano, chevre and garlic and salt in a large bowl.

2. Stir in the bread crumbs, basil and oregano.  (Heidi’s words: At this point you should have a mixture you can easily form into…1-inch thick patties).

3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat.

4.  Add about 6 patties (or as many will fit, making certain there is a bit of space in between for flipping).

5. Cover and cook, for about 7 minutes on each side.  If there is no browning, turn up the heat a bit and continue to cook until the patties are golden.  Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the reverse side until golden.

6.  Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack, or serve warm.


While back in the ‘Burgh last month, my mother-n-law and I took my dinosaur-obsessed sons to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Wow.  I’m embarrassed to say that I went to exhibits and classes there a zillion times while we lived there but I had no idea they had redone (which is a total understatement) the dinosaur exhibits.  If you haven’t gone lately, please go.  Anyway…we ate at the museum cafe and had this incredible quinoa salad.  I wasn’t certain of all the ingredients but knew it had quinoa (duh), dried cherries, ginger and, I figured, some type of onion and green herb.  So I did an internet search for ‘quinoa cherry ginger’ and came up with this great recipe from the Meatless Monday website.  I’ve tweaked it a little but here’s the link for the original recipe:

If you check it out, you will see the recipe actually comes from a site called Domestic Divas.  I had not heard of it but spent a little time there & I encourage you to do the same.  It’s a terrific blog and I found a slew of recipes I plan to try.

It’s healthy and easy: my favorite thing about the recipe may be that you can do it all in one pan.

If you are new to quinoa (pronounced |ˈkēnwä|) don’t be intimidated.  I can just hear my friend Mark asking, ‘What the $*@# is quinoa?’!!! Quinoa is a non-gluten grain that is apparently not truly a grain but a relative of green leafy vegetables.  I learned to love it after reading CLEAN: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate by Alejandro Junger, MD.  It’s one of the approved grains on his elimination diet/cleanse list of OK foods; his book contains a handful of easy quinoa-based recipes. I enjoy that it gives you the texture of rice but packs such an amazing nutritional punch.  It’s high in protein and is safe for those with Celiac Disease.  Not only is it high in protein, it is actually a complete protein, meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids.  I also just learned that it is very high in magnesium which apparently may benefit migraine sufferers.  If you haven’t visited already, please take a look at The World’s Healthiest Foods website; it’s a comprehensive resource if you are looking for the specific nutritional benefits of certain foods:

This recipe also contains pine nuts (which my nut-allergic friend Christie will be happy to know are optional; she’ll also be happy that I remembered she’s allergic to nuts, but that’s another story), fresh ginger root and parsley.  I’m a big believer in allowing our food to be medicine and these are three great foods for doing just that.

Pine nuts (or ‘pignoli’) contain the highest level of protein per gram of any nut.  The following information comes from a great review of their benefits from Today’s Women & Health:

‘Pine nuts are nature’s only source of pinoleic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish your appetite.  They have the highest concentration of oleic acid: a monounsaturated fat that aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides from our body which helps protect our heart.  Pine nuts are packed with 3mg of iron per one ounce serving. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in blood that supplies energy.  Additionally, they are rich in magnesium which helps alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue.’ (Another great food for migraine sufferers.)

Everyone knows ginger is good for nausea and helping with morning sickness, but there’s a reason why they serve it alongside sushi, specifically with sashimi.  I remember reading in Sushi for Dummies that this practice is to help kill any parasites and/or bacteria that could be present in the raw fish.  It’s also high in magnesium, potassium and other minerals.  Here’s a link for a more comprehensive list of its medicinal benefits:

Parsely is basically good for everything that ails you.  No joke.  It’s great to flavor foods, but also great to throw in with your vegetables if you own a juicer.  My green-thumbed-mother (sadly I did not inherit the gene) grows tons of it and tells me that my 4-year-old niece eats it by the fistful which I think is awesome.  Even Mrs. GoodStuff can’t get her kids to do that.  The benefits are so numerous and complex (just to name a few: cardio-protective, tons of anti-oxidants, protection against arthritis) that I’ll just give you the link if you want to see specifics:

Ok…enough about why this is so good for you…this recipe also tastes incredible.  And, as I mentioned, it’s incredibly easy to make and to clean up because it’s done in one pan.  This is great served chilled, but also warm (my preference), or hot.

1/4 c. pine nuts (or more if you’re a fan; I use a whole cup)

1+ Tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger root, peeled & minced (also feel free to add more here; I use closer to 2 tsp.)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 1/3 c. water

1/2 c. dried cherries (I use 1 cup.  *Use whatever dried cherries you like but note that most will contain some form of sugar and/or sulfites & oil as additives.  For this recipe, I use Whole Foods dried sour cherries; if you want one without any added sugar or sulfites, they are a little pricey but I’ll give you the link at the end of this recipe to the ones we get for snacking, adding to steel cut oats and for making trail mix.)

1/2 c. golden raisins

1 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped

Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a little olive oil then set aside (They toast quickly so pay attention and don’t let them get too brown!)

2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot & ginger.  Saute just about 2 minutes until they soften.

3. Add quinoa & stir to combine.  Cook for about 1 minute then add the water.

4. Bring to a boil, cover and cook about 8 minutes total.  (Add the dried cherries & raisins after about 4 minutes, then cook another 4 for a total of 8 minutes.)

5. Let sit, covered for a couple minutes, uncover and add the nuts, parsley and salt & pepper.  Toss with a fork.  Serve immediately or cool to desired temperature.


* Here’s the link to the dried cherries I get from (Whole Foods also carries them most of the time but if you choose the Subscribe & Save option, they are a much better price; please note that the labeling of these as ‘organic’ is legal under USDA regulations, but the cherries themselves are not organic.  I haven’t been able to find any organic varieties without sugar that taste good; however, they may be out there.  It’s worth finding a good-tasting brand that is organic and not sweetened with sugar because cherries consistently rank in the Top 10 most toxic fruits and veggies thanks to crazy levels of pesticides.  So if you know of a better brand, please share):