I love quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). I made this fabulous quinoa salad last year that my family and I still talk about. I’ve been wanting to find more innovative ways to cook with this uber healthy seed and I was lucky enough to stumble across two recipes that looked delicious.
If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, it’s time to get to know this ingredient. What I love about quinoa is that it is super healthy and can be used with nearly any ingredient, so you are bound to find your favorite quinoa dish without a problem. I really wanted to find both a savory and a sweet way to incorporate quinoa, and boy did I succeed.
I cooked my second recipe on Thursday and that night went to go see one of my food idols, Giada de Laurentiis, at a book signing and talk she did. I lost count of how many times she mentioned quinoa, which was seriously perfect timing. So it was a sign that I was meant to feature quinoa this week.
Quinoa originally comes from South America and is gluten-free and full of amino acids and nutrients. You cook this ingredient as you would rice or couscous and once you start eating it, you’ll become a fan!
Recipe #1: Cheesy Quinoa Cakes
This was the first recipe I came across when revisiting a site I found with tons of delicious-looking recipes. You must check out Spoon Fork Bacon, because it not only has a fun name but has lots of fabulous recipes that I can’t wait to try out. This recipe was a no-brainer for me.
The quinoa cakes were super easy to make, had fontina cheese and green onions to give some extra flavor. Then the recipe for the Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli went so well with these cakes, that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them! I think the best part of the aioli was the kick of heat with the cayenne pepper. Plus I had a chance to roast my first head of garlic which was kind of fun – minus my smoke alarm going off…but I digress.
You’ll find that you probably have just about everything you need for these on hand except perhaps the fontina cheese and maybe the quinoa if you aren’t familiar with cooking with it just yet. Honestly, when I choose my recipes, if I see a huge ingredient list, it’s a huge turn off and I typically just move along to a new recipe unless it’s something I’ve been dying to try. So I was pretty thrilled that I just needed to pick up some fontina cheese and head back home and cook away!
I really didn’t need anything too special when it came to kitchen equipment to make this dish. I used my food processor for the aioli, but I imagine a blender would do the trick just as well. Again, my microplane grater came in very handy as it zests lemons so well.
You’ll find this to be a fabulous addition to your appetizer table when entertaining. Click here for the recipe and step by step instructions.
Recipe #2: Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes
Again, I have to thank Pinterest for bringing this recipe to me. It comes from the site Ambitious Kitchen, which is new to me, and I’m sure I’ll be visiting it again! As soon as I saw it, there was no doubt that I would feature quinoa this week and this would be the second dish I made. I had been looking for a fun, sweet recipe that used quinoa as a main ingredient, and these were perfect.
I love fresh blueberries and pancakes and was so intrigued by this dish. I thought the addition of lemon was fun too, because lemon is so great at bringing out the flavor of food. But really, how can you beat blueberry pancakes? Only if they were chocolate instead, I’m pretty sure, could they be topped. 😉
This recipe is very healthy as it’s mainly quinoa, about less than 1 cup of flour, some fat-free yogurt (I used Greek yogurt), egg whites, and I used skim milk. With a little brown sugar and vanilla bean paste (pure vanilla extract would be great too), these pancakes were sweet but definitely not too sweet. Just cook them up like any other pancakes and you will be devouring them in no time!
If you love pancakes, I highly recommend these. They are light, fluffy, and totally mouthwatering. In fact, I forgot halfway through eating them that they were mainly quinoa! That is just a testament to the fact that quinoa can take on so many different flavors and be delicious in any recipe. What a great way to sneak in some quinoa for your kids without them having a clue that they are eating healthy pancakes!
Definitely add this dish to your breakfast repertoire! For the recipe and step by step instructions, just click here!
What I was cooking up a year ago: The Life and Times of the Biggest Butternut Squash Ever…
This was a really fun week of cooking! I made 3 very different recipes featuring butternut squash: A fabulous Penne pasta with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese by Giada, a Healthy Mac ‘n Cheese that is a great way to sneak veggies into your family’s meals, and a super easy and delicious Stewed apples dish from Claire Robinson that is full of flavor and tastes like an elevated applesauce. Definitely a great week to check out!