Quinoa Tabouleh Salad – Nutritious, Delicious and Simple – Easy Make-Ahead Lunch You’ll Look Forward To!

On April 7, 2013, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

When it comes to lunch, whether I’m at work or at home, I like things simple and quick.  That’s not really too tough, but when you factor in the requirements of uber-delicous and meaningful nutritional value, those recipes are a little harder to come by.  I recently pinned this wonderful formulation from Bon Appetit because it [...]

When it comes to lunch, whether I’m at work or at home, I like things simple and quick.  That’s not really too tough, but when you factor in the requirements of uber-delicous and meaningful nutritional value, those recipes are a little harder to come by.  I recently pinned this wonderful formulation from Bon Appetit because it seemed to meet those standards on every count, plus it simply made my mouth water to read the list of ingredients.  For me, there’s nothing better than cold salads for warm weather lunches.  Add citrus and the fact that it is a completely nutritious and hearty meal in one bowl and I’m definitely intrigued.

This recipe did not disappoint.  Of course, I altered it slightly, to fit what I had in my own kitchen.  The results are, nonetheless, extraordinary.   I make it in the evening and have lunch for the next several days, as the flavors only get better and better, as it sits.  Check out the original on Bon Appetit.  The recipe, below, is the way I made it in my own kitchen.  It’s light and packed with flavor, and the addition of quinoa provides that perfectly complete protein that leaves you satisfied and energized.  The fresh lemon juice makes the veggies in this salad *POP*.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.  Enjoy!

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quinoa tabouleh from Busy-at-Home

Delicious tabbouleh salad of veggies and quinoa with a flavor-packed citrus and olive oil dressing.

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Ingredients

  • -1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • -1 1/2 cups chicken stock (could substitute water or veggie stock)
  • -juice of 2 large lemons
  • -1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I used champagne vinegar, because it was what I had on hand.)
  • -1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • -1/2 cup olive oil, (I used Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, but any good EVOO will work.)
  • -1 large English hothouse cucumber, diced
  • -1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • -1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • -2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • -1 teaspoon dried mint
  • -salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa, to remove the bitter saponin layer.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. You can use water, but I almost always cook mine in chicken broth, because I like the added flavor and I usually make large batches that I divide and use in several different recipes. Whichever you select, use about 1 1/2 cups of liquid for each cup of quinoa.
  3. Once the quinoa is cooked and tender, fluff it with a fork and let it cool. I usually spread it in a thin layer on a cutting board to speed up the cooling time.
  4. While the quinoa cools, dice and slice your veggies -- cucumber, onion, and tomatoes.
  5. Mix the veggies, parsley and mint.
  6. Mix lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  7. Whisk together, briskly, as you drizzle in the olive oil to make the dressing for your salad. Continue mixing until the oil is completely emulsified into the juice and vinegar. Set aside.
  8. In salad bowl, mix the veggies and quinoa.
  9. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
  10. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill and to allow flavors to marry.
  11. Enjoy!
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Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) – Intensely Delicious and Nutritious!

On January 13, 2013, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

If it has a Southwest or Mexican flair, my family will be all over a new recipe, and my new Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) was no exception.  I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution-maker.  Especially with cooking and food, I will probably never be an all-or-nothing kind of girl.  So, you [...]

If it has a Southwest or Mexican flair, my family will be all over a new recipe, and my new Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) was no exception.  I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution-maker.  Especially with cooking and food, I will probably never be an all-or-nothing kind of girl.  So, you won’t find me making far-reaching and exacting goals for 2013 like: I will lose 50 lbs or I will eliminate ALL processed food from my family’s diet.  What I do aspire to accomplish is to make positive progress toward healthy weight-loss, and to change my family’s palates, so more of the nutrient-dense foods I’ve come to love, will make it onto THEIR own list of favorites.  Creamy comfort-food casseroles, cookies and chocolate cake will never be completely eliminated from our diets, but I hope they will take more of a backseat, and assume an occasional treat role, rather than being center stage.  All things in moderation is a good way to look at what I’d like to achieve.  By integrating lighter, healthier dishes that taste fantastic, into the menus they are used to, the process for my husband and kids will be enjoyed, rather than resisted; and if I do it well, perhaps the subtle changes will go undetected.  For this first venture, that’s exactly how it went.  I’m really excited! We’ve already eaten this as a main dish, a side dish and as a salsa.    Young and old, alike, have loved it and I’m excited that this new creation can be put into our regular meal rotation.

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

My Southwest Confetti loaded into Bell Peppers. Bake them for a hot, satisfying main dish; or serve them chilled as a refreshing salad. Either way, they’re gorgeous and SOOOO good!

From a budget perspective, this is a meatless dish and so, less expensive than typical meals.  Score!  From a health perspective it’s intensely nutritious and it’s a powerhouse of textures and flavors that will leave your family wanting more.  You could certainly add or subtract other veggies, to fit what you have on hand or want to introduce into your family’s diet. I originally developed the recipe as a way to use some Classico Pear Tomatoes from Heinz, (pick them up at Walmart), that I was trying.  I was incredibly excited to pick up the can and see only 4 all-natural ingredients, each of which I could pronounce and recognize – tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, and fresh basil.  They are packed fresh, with no preservatives and they were fantastic in this new dish!

Classico Plum Tomatoes

Classico Pear Tomatoes with Basil

 

pear tomatoes label

Four all-natural ingredients and no preservatives!

As I started working on the recipe, my first idea was to do a rift on a traditional stuffed cabbage roll, lightening it up and doing something unexpected with the flavor.  I created the filling, then stuffed and baked the cabbage, only to discover we all scooped out and devoured the filling, but left the outer cabbage leaves on our plates. This was not because we don’t like cabbage.  We do.  And the filling is chock-full of it.  Determined to turn my semi-success into a perfect ten, I changed things up and used the delicious filling to stuff sweet bell peppers, instead.  That simple alteration made all the difference and sent this recipe over the top.  The stuffed peppers can be baked and served as a main dish, served raw and cold as a salad or side dish, or you can simply set out bowls of the filling on an appetizer buffet, to be enjoyed with tortilla chips.  It’s fabulous, each and every way!  How can you beat that in a recipe?  Versatility, crowd-pleasing delicious flavor; plus healthy, nourishing ingredients???  You can’t.  Don’t even try.  - lol –  Seriously, it’s SO good!  I can’t wait for you to try it.  Enjoy!

confetti ingredients

When you start out to create a new recipe, do you have the whole thing planned out in your mind, from the beginning? I usually have a general direction I know I’m going in and then the “cast of characters” evolves as I begin working and tasting. These are the ingredients that I began the project with. You’ll see from the recipe, below, that they inspired some tasty additions!

 

Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa)

Rating: 51

Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa)

Ingredients

  • 1 (28 oz) can Classico Pear Tomatoes with Basil, chopped and juice reserved
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup lentils, cooked and cooled
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 - 3 large, or 10 mini bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (I used Hawaiian Red Alaea)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, zest one and save juice from both

Instructions

  1. Wash and chop enough kale leaves to make 2 cups. (To chop kale, start at the top of the leaf and tear down to remove them from the tough center stem. Discard the stem and chop leaves.)
  2. Chop cilantro.
  3. Dice onion.
  4. Chop cabbage.
  5. Dice peppers. (I had these mini sweet bells, so used them, but you could easily use full-sized bell peppers.)
  6. Toss all your diced and chopped veggies into a large mixing bowl.
  7. Drain all the juice from the can of Classico Pear Tomatoes with Basil into the bowl with your chopped veggies.
  8. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
  9. Add the quinoa, black beans, lentils, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic to the veggie bowl and mix thoroughly.
  10. Zest one of the limes mix the zest into the confetti.
  11. Juice both limes, squeezing all the juice over the confetti. Stir it in.
  12. This is the moment where you will want to give everyone in the kitchen a spoon and all dig in and eat this delicious mixture, right out of the bowl, but if you resist that urge, you can use it in several different ways.
  13. Hot Main Dish:
  14. Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed out Bell Peppers and bake for 20 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until filling is heated through. A light sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese could be sprinkled on top, if desired.
  15. Cold as a Main Dish Salad or Side Salad:
  16. Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed out Bell Peppers and serve plated with slices of fresh lime!
  17. Cold as Salsa:
  18. Place a large bowl of Southwest Confetti on an appetizer buffet with corn tortilla chips and it will disappear in seconds.
  19. Individual Appetizer Serving Suggestion 1:
  20. Spoon Southwest Confetti into hollowed bell peppers and arrange tortilla chips around the edible "bowl" to serve to each guest.
  21. Individual Appetizer Serving Suggestion 2:
  22. Spoon Southwest Confetti into mini bell peppers that have been halved the long way, sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning, slightly.
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stuffed peppers

So flavorful! I can’t wait to hear how you use this nutrition-packed Southwest Confetti in your New Year’s healthier eating plan. Enjoy!

….

I’m excited at how nutritious this dish is and how much my family enjoyed it.  Even without heavy sauces, sour cream or any additions of fat or sugar, Southwest Confetti is a tantalizing burst of delicious flavors and textural variety!  Quinoa, black beans and lentils provide some great proteins (Quinoa is the only plant-based, complete protein, I think, containing every amino acid.) and the fiber, antioxidants and vitamins provided from the veggies put Southwest Confetti on a nutrition overload!  Shhhh!  Don’t tell them!  Just bask in the healthy glory and soak up all the applause.  Enjoy!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Classico.  #cbias #SocialFabric #CookClassico

Easy Quinoa Salad Sandwiches

On April 18, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

This has been my quinoa experimenting week.  Now that I’ve discovered that I love the texture and the nutty flavor, and that the nutritional benefits are extreme, I’ve been challenging myself to create even more recipes to use it in.  This quick lunch recipe will be in our regular rotation.  It turned out to be [...]

This has been my quinoa experimenting week.  Now that I’ve discovered that I love the texture and the nutty flavor, and that the nutritional benefits are extreme, I’ve been challenging myself to create even more recipes to use it in.  This quick lunch recipe will be in our regular rotation.  It turned out to be a delicious, inexpensive and veggie-packed meal that came together in minutes.  It’s very simple to prepare and the flavor will be enhanced and get better after being in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.  This made a good-sized batch and we had sandwiches from it over the course of three days.

quinoa salad sandwich

Quinoa Salad Sandwiches and red grapes with some mixed spring salad greens made a delicious lunch!

I think this would also be delicious and beautiful as the filling for stuffed tomatoes or yummy tucked inside a pita for a sandwich on the go.  I used the veggies I had in the kitchen, so this is a recipe that will lend itself well to many variations and tastes.  I WILL say that the cauliflower was a perfect texture complement and even gave the look of hard-boiled egg whites, so you might be able to pass it off as egg salad, if you have someone who doesn’t like trying new things.  Also, the dressing can be decreased or increased, as suits your family’s palate.  Some like their sandwiches drier, some moister.  In my house I have people on both extremes and so I try to meet somewhere in the middle.

veggies

The ingredients I began with as I started working out this recipe - quinoa, cauliflower, cucumber, green onions, celery and red bell pepper.

 

Easy Quinoa Salad Sandwiches

Rating: 51

10 minutes

10 minutes

8-12 sandwiches

Easy Quinoa Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 small, or 1/2 a large, cucumber, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower, finely diced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

Instructions

  1. Stir together the quinoa and veggies in a medium-size mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the sour cream, Miracle Whip, mustard, salt and dill in a small bowl. Pour over the veggie quinoa mixture.
  3. Stir the dressing into the quinoa and vegetables until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  5. Use this salad filling to create delicious and satisfying sandwiches for lunch, fill stuffed tomatoes on a salad plate or fill a pita pocket with it for a meal-on-the go.

Notes

Definitely change up the veggies in this recipe to suit your family's preferences.

I think you could easily substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream in the recipe, with good results. I just didn't have any on hand, at the time.

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Mini Quinoa Veggie Bites AND What is Quinoa, Anyway?

On April 11, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome

I’m always on the lookout for quick-fix breakfast options and ways to prepare tasty meatless meals.  I’ve recently been experimenting with incorporating more quinoa (say KEEN – WAH) into our meal plans, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about blending all three goals into this yummy recipe.  Switching up or adding even more veggies is going to [...]

I’m always on the lookout for quick-fix breakfast options and ways to prepare tasty meatless meals.  I’ve recently been experimenting with incorporating more quinoa (say KEEN – WAH) into our meal plans, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about blending all three goals into this yummy recipe.  Switching up or adding even more veggies is going to make this a completely customizable favorite for your family.


quinoa frittata

Cheesy Quinoa Veggie Bites - Yum! Don't they look like little sausage patties? Totally meatless and yet, loaded with complete protein!

Most people think quinoa is a grain, but it is actually the seed of an herbaceous flowering plant, called goosefoot (Chenopodium).  Beets and spinach are other common chenopods.  Quinoa was a valued staple as far back in history as the Incan Empire.  It is protein-rich and nutrient-dense.  A 1/4 cup serving of quinoa boasts 58.5% of the DV of manganese, 31.2% of tryptophan, 29.6% of magnesium, 28.1% of phosphorus, 20.7% of fiber, 19.4% of folate and 18% of copper.  Quinoa isn’t just high in protein, it is a COMPLETE protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.  This delicious, nutty-flavored seed is a powerhouse of nutrition that lends itself to all different types of recipes.  I am only just beginning to scratch the surface of all the ways to use it.

quinoa cooked

Here's what quinoa looks like after it's cooked. You actually cook it a lot like rice, except it cooks so much faster. I did a giant batch in my pressure cooker in 8 minutes, but even on the stovetop, it's only about 12-15 minutes to cook.

IMPORTANT:  It is important to thoroughly rinse and drain quinoa before cooking it.  The outside of the seeds is covered in saponins, a naturally occurring substance that has a bitter taste.  A quick rinse rids the seeds of this outer coating and leaves the yummy seed behind.  Please don’t try to cook quinoa without rinsing it.  You’ll decide you don’t like it, without ever tasting the real thing and be missing out on a delicious and healthy protein option for your family.

I got the inspiration for this recipe on one of my favorite foodie blogs, Iowa Girl Eats.  Kristin created Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups, and as always, her pictures were so deliciously inspiring, I had to get busy.  I wanted to try to make a similar sort of breakfast or brunch option, but without meat.  Here’s the trick.  I still sort of wanted my carnivore family to think it TASTED like meat.  I wondered what would happen if I included seasonings that are great for making sausage and then incorporated some healthy veggies, too.   If I had had any color of sweet bell pepper in the fridge, I definitely would have added them.  I think some grated carrot would be good, as well!  As it was, I had a zucchini, some spinach, green onions and some fresh cilantro.  I baked these up in muffin tins and this batch would have made 38 minis, but, I only have one mini muffin tin, so I got 24 minis and 7 regular size.

Here’s the cool thing we discovered.  Not only do we love how these quinoa frittatas taste, they would be gorgeous used as appetizers and they would be tasty in salads.  You could serve them in pitas, or with dip or with sauces.  The possibilities are limitless.  I would also bake this as filling in stuffed bell peppers.  I think it could be formed into patties and served on English muffins or bagels for a breakfast sandwich on the go, too.  The texture of the quinoa with the eggs, gives the mouth feel of ground meat, so with the right seasonings, you can really fool your tongue into thinking you may be eating meat!  I haven’t tested this theory, yet, but I am also convinced that these little quinoa bites would freeze well, so they would be great candidates for a bulk/freezer cooking session.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Quinoa Veggie Bites

Rating: 51

5 minutes

15 minutes

20 minutes

38 mini or 19 standard

Cheesy Quinoa Veggie Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 T. fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients, except for the eggs.
  2. Beat eggs lightly and then add to the veggie mixture. Combine thoroughly, so all ingredients are moistened and evenly distributed.
  3. Spray your muffin tin generously with non-stick spray.
  4. Spoon quinoa mixture into muffin tin. I used my cookie dough scoop and one scoop was perfect to fill the mini cups to just under the rim. (I used two scoops for the standard muffin tin.)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (minis). (For standard muffin tins bake 20 minutes)
  6. Allow frittatas to cool at least five minutes in the muffin tin, then remove to a cooling rack. You can serve these warm or cold, in a salad or a pita, on a bagel or an English muffin, as an appetizer, a side dish or a quick snack. They're incredibly versatile and whether you need breakfast-on-the-go or something for lunch, you'll find them to be a satisfying, nutrition-packed and delicious option! Enjoy!
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frittata quinoa

These are delicious any time of day and can be served in so many different ways!

 

 

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