Quinoa. Pronounced keen-wah. What is that? The first time I heard about Quinoa was through my daughter who is a very health conscience individual. We were talking about different healthy foods and she mentioned how she likes Quinoa. Kiddo (nickname from her Dad) told me it was similar in some ways to Couscous which I love. The difference between the two (at least for me) is that Quinoa has a crunchier texture, nutty taste and is lighter than Couscous. To really enjoy Quinoa I have found it is best to add additional flavors during the cooking process or mix it with other foods. I usually cook Quinoa in chicken broth rather than plain water to give it an extra boost of flavor.
I came up with a Spinach and Carrot Quinoa Cake when I saw a frozen vegetarian patty that looked kind of gray and blah. To really be good, food should not only taste good but look good. Vibrant colors and presentation add to the pleasure of eating. The bright green, orange and yellow in the Spinach and Carrot Quinoa Cake will make you say “yummy” even before you take a bite.
As always, I use my family as guinea pigs when trying new dishes. To be honest, I was not sure this one would go over very well since my son does not like cooked carrots. Surprisingly, I got a thumbs up on the first try, carrots and all.
Spinach and Quinoa Cakes
2 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
1 egg beaten
½ cup shredded carrots
1 bag baby leaf spinach
1 cup Quinoa
1tsp dried parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Quinoa according to package using 2 cups low sodium chicken broth.
In a medium sauce pan melt butter and olive oil. Add ¼ cup of low sodium chicken broth to the pan then add spinach and carrots. Cook spinach and carrots until spinach is wilted stirring occasionally. Gently squeeze veggies in a colander to drain. In a large bowl mix together veggies, Quinoa, egg and seasonings.
Spray lipped cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place a small cooking ring (I made my own out of foil and will tell you how later) on the cookie sheet and fill with the Quinoa mixture. Slowly remove ring and reshape if necessary. Repeat until all of the mixture is used. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
½ cup sliced sauteed mushrooms
Take a 3-4 inch piece of foil and roll it like a cigar. Curve the foil around until it forms a ring about 2 inches in diameter. If you want bigger cakes, make a bigger ring. You can cut off the excess or wrap it around the ring.