Spicy Quinoa and Beans is one of my favorite go-to dishes. It’s the dish I make when I’m craving spicy Mexican flavors, it’s the dish I make when I don’t feel like cooking (yep that happens), but want to have something healthy and tasty to eat all week, and it’s that one meal I turn to when I’ve over indulged (yep that happens too) and I need to get my eating back on track!
This recipe is a nutritional powerhouse full of protein, vegetables, and spices that are sure to satisfy and keep you satisfied for hours! Occasionally I’ll add shredded chicken to this recipe and that’s fantastic too! One time I added extra chicken stock and shredded chicken to make a healthy chicken tortilla soup that was to die for! Basically what I’m saying is – take the basics I share here and run with it! Create your own version…adjust the spices to your preferences. Maybe add some browned ground beef and cheese and turn it into a casserole. Add more vegetables if you like – I’ve made it in the summer when I have zucchini and summer squash coming outta my ears and it’s super tasty with those added in! In this recipe I used black beans and pinto beans, but those could be switched up too! Or how about roast a spaghetti squash and serve the quinoa and beans over the top? I like to serve it as pictured with fresh tomatoes and avocado, but it would be fantastic with salsa, sour cream, your favorite cheese, tortilla chips…you get the idea! The possibilities are limitless!
Start by sautéing the onion, peppers, celery, and garlic in olive oil or about 5 minutes – just until the vegetables start to soften.
Then add the quinoa and sauté another 2 or 3 minutes.
Next add the spices, then the beans and tomatoes, and then the chopped chipotle in adobo. Finally the stock is added, bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is cooked and most the liquid is absorbed.
Here it is after its simmered for about 30 minutes – the corn is added about 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
This is just such a colorful and satisfying dish! After eating it for a few days just exactly as I had prepared it, I addded some shredded chicken and homemade enchilada sauce and morphed it into Spicy Quinoa Suffed Peppers! It was super tasty and my husband loved it too!
Spicy Quinoa and Beans
A spicy and satisfying protein-packed nutritional powerhouse recipe sure to curb even the biggest appetite!
As I write this the weather is starting to feel a bit more fall-like. And by the time it publishes it will officially be fall. That means most people will be in full pumpkin spice mode…lattes, cookies, muffins, ice cream, cheesecake, candles, room freshener, potpourri…it’s pumpkin spice overkill if you ask me! I’m much more likely to usher in fall with a trip to an apple orchard than a pumpkin patch, or with a new recipe for something healthy and delicious featuring my fall favorite….butternut squash!
I’d like to take a minute to appreciate this perfect little squash…and to the woman at the grocery store who does not share my affinity for perfect produce…I apologize if I freaked you out with my enthusiasm for this little cutie! 😉
So…back to business. Today I’m sharing a recipe that continues our Cashew Cream Recipe Series, but also one that is perfect for fall because of the flavors and ingredients featured in these Butternut & Quinoa Fritters with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream! Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods because of it’s flavor, obviously, but also because of it’s versatility! It’s equally delicious as an ingredient in a savory dish as it is a sweet one. So while many people are celebrating the arrival of fall with a PSL from Starbucks, I’m celebrating by creating these simple and tasty fritters with another fall favorite – butternut squash!
These fritters are so easy to make because you don’t even have to pre-cook the squash! The ingredients for the fritters are cooked quinoa, raw shredded butternut squash, eggs, garlic, shallots, salt & pepper, panko, and fresh sage, with a little coconut oil for frying. The cashew cream sauce includes cashews, prepared horseradish, fresh sage, and salt & pepper. All in all it’s a pretty humble list of ingredients that yields fantastic fritters!
Sage is one of those herbs that I don’t use a lot, but whenever I do, I wonder why I don’t use it more! Sage has a very earthy and peppery flavor and it pairs perfectly with the butternut in these fritters. Plus the health benefits of sage are quite impressive. It helps keep skin healthy, improves digestion, it’s rich in antioxidants, helps in growth and development of bones, boosts cognitive development and the immune system, and helps to reduce inflammation and overall health! As for the horseradish – I think it’s a love it or hate it thing, and I happen to LOVE it! It’s got several health benefits as well including that it can aid in weight loss, help prevent cancer, and boost the immune system – just to name a few. So the combination of sage and horseradish is not only delicious, but incredibly healthful as well! I love learning about the health benefits of different foods and herbs that I use…it makes me feel even better about living the CEBH Lifestyle!
And if you think the sage and horseradish are packed with health benefits…just wait til I tell you about the rest of the ingredients! Butternut squash helps prevent high blood pressure, promotes regularity, improves eyesight, keeps bones strong, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation, and aids in weight loss! Quinoa is one of the most protein dense foods we can eat, it’s high in fiber, rich in iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese. Coconut oil can help you burn fat, helps prevent infections, reduces hunger, improves cholesterol levels, acts as a natural sunscreen, and boosts brain function. WOW!!! Everybody to the kitchen…STAT….it’s time to make some Butternut & Quinoa Fritters with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream!
Tip: Peeling the squash is easily accomplished with a regular vegetable peeler. If you find it’s difficult to hold onto, rest the bottom of the squash in the sink drain while you’re peeling! After the squash is peeled, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and then shred it. I used my food processor, but you could certainly get the job done with a box grater as well…and you’d get an arm workout at the same time! 😉
Bonus Tip: This recipe calls for 2 cups cooked quinoa which is easily made by combining 1 cup uncooked quinoa with about two cups water, bringing it to a boil, then covering the pan, reducing the heat to low, and simmering approximately 15 minutes – or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. For this recipe I make the quinoa earlier in the day and refrigerate it until I’m ready to make the fritters.
Making these little gems is super simple! Once the butternut is shredded and the quinoa cooked, all the fritter ingredients are mixed together and the fritters are pan-fried in just a smidgen of refined coconut oil until they’re golden and crispy, then set on a paper towel to drain any excess oil! The horseradish & sage cashew cream can be made while the quinoa is cooking, or, preferably it can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve the fritters.
Butternut & Quinoa Fritters with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream
Freshly shredded butternut squash and quinoa lend a real taste of autumn to these light and tasty fritters served with horseradish and sage cashew cream.
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2-3 hours, then drained
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp prepared horseradish (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
Filtered water as needed to reach desired sauce consistency
For the fritters
Combine everything except the coconut oil and mix well.
In a non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat. When oil is hot and shimmering pack a portion of fritter mixture into an ice cream scoop, gently release into hot oil, and flatten slightly.
Fry fitters in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. I cooked 4 at a time.
After 3-5 minutes, when the bottom side is golden brown, turn carefully and continue cooking the flip side another 3-5 minutes until it's golden brown.
Remove from pan and drain on clean paper towel.
Continue cooking in this manner, adding small amounts of coconut oil to your pan as needed, until all the fritters are completed.
Serve immediately with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream Sauce.
For the cashew cream
In a blender or food processor combine drained cashews, sage, salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp horseradish. Blend on medium speed, adding water a tablespoon at a time until the sauce smooths and is almost the desired consistency.
Stop the blender and taste the sauce. Add more horseradish if desired, and water if needed, then continue blending until smooth and creamy. (I really like horseradish so I used about 4 tbsp total)
Store sauce in refrigerator until ready to serve fritters.
I found a regular sized ice cream scoop was exactly the right portion size for these fritters.
You might consider making the horseradish and sage cashew cream a day in advance as it keeps well in the refrigerator, and the flavors develop over the course of 24 hours.
Leftover quinoa would be perfect for this recipe - plan ahead and that's one less ingredient to prepare the day you make the fritters!
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
Just today my friend and I were fantasizing about winning the lottery and paying off houses, cars, and college tuition bills so we could retire, travel, and live the “good life”. But she was right when she prefaced all that with good health – because without that, we couldn’t enjoy all the riches our lives have to offer! So here’s to Cooking, Eating, and Being Healthy, while enjoying every single morsel of food we put in our mouths, in order to live as rich a life as possible!
This is one of those super simple casserole recipes that morphs into something different every time I make it….and that’s why I love it so much! I firmly believe that a recipe is more of a guidebook than a rule book. And for all my recipes I share here, I hope you all use them as such as well. Don’t like the spices I used? Swap them out for ones you do like! Different vegetables in season? By all means use whatever is fresh and readily available! Prefer to go vegetarian? Perfect! Leave out the meat, sub in tofu, beans, or whatever other protein source you like. I’ll never know anyway – it’s not like I can actually see into your kitchen! 😜 And even if I could, I’d be your biggest cheerleader – I want you to make meals you and your family will love – ones that they’ll request over and over again! And if you hit upon a particularly fabulous combination of flavors and ingredients then I’d ask you to please share that with me if you would! I love the collaborative effort involved in sharing recipes!
Anyway….today’s recipe could easily be called “I Need to Use This Stuff Before it Goes Bad”. But that’s not very appetizing, is it?!? Somehow Turkey Quinoa Skillet Casserole sounds much more palatable! And who decided casseroles are the black sheep of family dinner time? Personally, I think casseroles are rock stars! They’re simple, they’re convenient, they’re economical, they’re perfectly sneaky ways to get your kids (or husband) to eat vegetables, and they’re delicious! For this recipe I kept it extra easy by baking the casserole in the same pan I pre cooked the ground turkey in….fewer dishes = happier me!
For this particular casserole on this particular day I used ground turkey. I’ve chosen to avoid most red meat, so ground turkey is a great option in casseroles that might typically be made with ground beef. It’s lean and delicious, and I actually prefer it – it’s a much milder flavor which lets all the other flavors shine through! For vegetables I used garlic scapes , mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, yellow bell pepper, and a small jalapeño – all were lurking in my fridge begging to be used! I pre-cooked the quinoa with chicken stock to give it a little more flavor before adding it to the casserole. Then for seasonings I used salt & pepper, cumin, and oregano, along with a little tomato paste to enhance the tomato flavor. Finally, just before popping it in the oven I sprinkled just a little tease of fresh grated Parmesan cheese!
First thing you’ll want to do is start the quinoa by combining the chicken stock and quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, give it a stir, turn it to low, and simmer 15 minutes until tender and all the stock is absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, prep your vegetables by dicing the jalapeño into small pieces and slicing garlic scapes into thin rounds. Chop the rest of the vegetables into similar bite sized pieces.
Once the vegetables are prepped it’s time to brown the ground turkey over medium high heat in a large skillet drizzled with a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Stir frequently, breaking up the large chunks of turkey. Cook approximately 5 minutes then toss in the garlic scapes, yellow pepper, and jalapeño. Stir to combine.
After stirring in the peppers and garlic scapes it’s time to add in the zucchini and summer squash.
Then stir in the mushrooms and spices and continue cooking another 10 minutes until turkey is cooked through and vegetables are softened.
Next add in the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook about 5 more minutes.
And finally it’s time to stir in the cooked quinoa!
Finally sprinkle the skillet casserole with the 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese and then pop it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until it’s hot and bubbly and the cheese is slightly browned!
Turkey Quinoa Skillet Casserole
Not your ordinary casserole.....this one is chock full of healthy ground turkey and vegetables.
Part of the Cook Eat Be Healthy lifestyle is to simplify what I eat. That means pretty much cutting out all processed foods because there’s nothing simple about most of them. The problem with simplifying my diet is that it complicates grabbing a quick snack or meal out of convenience sake. So I’ve learned to plan ahead when possible, have healthy snacks at the ready, and to make more healthful versions of my favorite foods, like my homemade granola! That way I control exactly what goes into it, and I can change it up to suit my mood by adding a variety of different fruits, nuts, and grains!
Today I’m making a Cherry, Almond & Toasted Quinoa Granola. I love the flavors of almond and cherry together, and the toasted quinoa gives it a super crunchy element that I really like! I like to sprinkle it on top of fresh fruit or enjoy a little bowl of granola with fresh cherries and some vanilla almond milk. My husband likes it with vanilla yogurt and fresh cherries. And of course it makes a great snack all by itself!
For this recipe I’m using old-fashioned oats, quinoa, honey, maple syrup, almonds, dried cherries, almond extract, a little salt, some cinnamon, and coconut oil. The very first thing I did was cook the quinoa as usual, then spread it on a jelly roll pan (the same one I’ll be using to bake the granola….the fewer dishes, the better), and pop it in a 350 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes until it just barely starts to turn golden.
While the quinoa is toasting, melt the coconut oil in a large bowl in the microwave, stir in the maple syrup and 1/4 cup honey until the syrup and honey are dissolved in the warm oil. Then add the almond extract, salt, and cinnamon, and stir to combine.
To this mixture add the oats, almonds, and toasted quinoa, and stir well making sure everything is completely coated. Then spread it on the same jelly roll sheet the quinoa was toasted on, and pop it into the oven which has been reduced to 250 degrees. Bake it for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Before returning it to the oven for the last 15 minutes of baking time, add the cherries and drizzle on an additional 2 tablespoons of honey, mix it well, and return it to the oven for the final 15 minutes baking time. When the final baking cycle is complete, remove it from the oven a cool just a few minutes on the baking sheet, then spread it on a piece of parchment paper on the counter to cool completely.
Once it’s cool, I store it in a jar or zip-lock bag in the pantry. This recipe doesn’t make chunky granola – the pieces are much smaller, and I prefer it that way. I just don’t want you to be disappointed when you can’t pick up a big piece and chomp down on it! 😉
Cherry, Almond, & Toasted Quinoa Granola
Homemade granola that you can feel good about feeding your family, made with ingredients you can actually pronounce!
For most of my life I thought I didn’t like fish and seafood. I know! I know! Crazy, right? But recently I’ve discovered that in actuality, I love fish and seafood. So you’re probably thinking what the heck??? You might be thinking that maybe I hit my head, or had some other traumatic event in my life, or maybe some crazy allergic reaction that caused me to suddenly like fish…but nope….you’d be wrong! You see, the real problem was that since as early as I can remember, my mom convinced me that I hated fish! I mean, she does, so it sorta makes sense that I would think I do too. But as I grew to adulthood I just went along with our mutual dislike instead of developing my own opinion as to whether or not I like fish and seafood. It’s a shame really – all those years of potential fish dinners just wasted!
Now, I live in Iowa, and in the United States it doesn’t get much more land-locked than that, so our options for seafood are pretty limited and nothing we get here is nearly as fresh as it is along the coasts. That doesn’t mean our selection is nonexistent, it just means it’s not as abundant, nor as fresh. I do know, however, that there are some pretty amazing fishing spots in Iowa. We have many beautiful streams and rivers where a fisherman (fisherperson) can spend a blissful day relaxing by the water while dangling a worm, just waiting for the “big one” to take the bait!
My friend and business partner, Karen, was raised on a farm in northeast Iowa and took me to her folks’ place one day for a visit to the farm, and for some of her dad’s famous fish. I admit I was skeptical. Karen had raved for years about her dad’s fish…caught in one of those beautiful Iowa streams…..but she’s a hardcore fish fanatic. I worried I would hate it! And even though Mom taught me to hate fish, she also taught me manners, so I knew I had to eat it, and I had to pretend I liked it – even if I didn’t! The first thing I noticed when Norbert started cooking his famous fish was how GOOD it smelled. And then I saw how crispy and golden and delicious it looked, and I started to feel hopeful…maybe I’d like it enough to not gag and make a fool of myself! 😜 Then came the moment of truth, as Karen and her folks watched me take that first bite, and it was like the heavens opened and angels sang, and I’m pretty sure unicorns danced too – because I liked it….a lot….I might have even loved it! My fish-fate was sealed. I was a brand new member of “The Fish & Seafood Appreciation Society”! Since that fish-fateful day, I’ve expanded my culinary experience to include many different kinds of fish and seafood dishes, and I’ve yet to meet one (other than shrimp and oysters) that I don’t like. It only took me nearly 50 years to come around to Team Fish – but hey – better late than never!
Today’s recipe uses the freshest scallops I could get my hands on here in land-lubber country! Thankfully we have a fantastic grocery chain here in the Midwest that carries a pretty diverse selection of fresh fish and seafood, so I rarely have to buy frozen. And I trust Hy-Vee to sell me only the absolute freshest product that they are able to procure!
The ingredients for making the scallops themselves couldn’t be much easier or straight forward. All you need for two servings is 8 scallops, about 1/2 pound, some extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper! I rinse the scallops and pat them dry, and if the little side muscle is still attached, just pull that off and discard it. I sprinkle both sides with a bit of S & P, drizzle the EVOO into a large skillet, heat it to screaming hot – yep, that’s a technical cooking term – then place the scallops in the pan, sides not touching, and cook for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Then flip the scallops and cook another 3o-60 seconds until they are just cooked through.
Tip: One of the most important things to remember when preparing scallops is to not overcook them. You’ll be sad if you do, because they’ll be tough and rubbery and you’ll have spent a lot of money for a disappointing dinner. 😟 Also don’t try to flip them until a crust has formed on the first side. Once this has been achieved you can be certain they won’t stick when trying to turn them. A sear on the second side is not as important, and they only need to cook long enough after turning to be cooked through.
To make this a complete dinner for two I served the scallops over some lemony quinoa, and topped them off with some of the Fruit Salsa with Creamy Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette from last Wednesday’s post. I told you I had an idea for that delicious creamy and tangy fruit salsa! You can find the salsa recipe here!
The Lemony Quinoa just could not be simpler….combine the dry quinoa with some water, a little bit of lemon juice, the zest of a lemon, and then cook as usual and you’ll have a tasty bed of quinoa upon which to place your scallops!
Pan Seared Scallops, Lemony Quinoa, & Fruit Salsa for Two
A light and exceptionally healthy and delicious dinner for two, perfect for a special occasion, or even just because Tuesdays happen!
Did you know that 2013 was declared “The International Year of Quinoa” by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations? Did you also know that quinoa was a mainstay of the Inca’s diet dating as far back as 1200 AD? Me neither, but I’m not surprised! I’ve got a thing for quinoa. I mean….I really love it….a lot, and apparently so does everyone else! But please tell me I’m not the only one who, when trying to spell it, pronounces it in my head as kwin-o-a ! 😉 Of course it’s actually pronounced keen-wah, but speaking it and spelling it are two different things!
One of the best things about quinoa is that it’s so versatile. It can easily switch gears from a savory meal accompaniment or salad, to a sweet dessert or breakfast porridge. But aside from the joys of cooking, and obviously eating quinoa, the health benefits are significant! Quinoa is a nutrient rich food which adds many minerals, fiber, protein, and ‘good’ fats to our diet. There is also some evidence that quinoa can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Quinoa is also gluten free and therefore an excellent substitute for those with gluten-free dietary restrictions.
Since quinoa is one of my favorite foods I’m always trying to find new ways to use it by developing new recipes with it as the main ingredient. Today I’m sharing a recipe for Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus. It’s a rich side dish that goes great with grilled chicken or fish, or by itself as a light lunch selection. Typically risotto is made with Arborio rice because it’s high starch content is what helps lend to the creaminess ( the butter in the traditional recipe doesn’t hurt any either) of the dish. But I wanted to try a version that has all the same rich flavors and creamy texture of traditional risotto, but with the health benefits of quinoa. Happily, the end result surpassed my expectations! My Quinoa Risotto is still creamy, it’s richness comes from the addition of white wine (a risotto must), good chicken stock, and refined coconut oil instead of butter. Add in two of my favorite vegetables, mushrooms & asparagus, some fresh thyme, a healthy dose of patience, and….voila…..Quinoa Risotto! The ingredients are simple, the flavors, however are not! The end result is a dish classy enough to serve guests, but homey enough for a cozy mid-week family dinner!
Tip: There is a slightly bitter natural coating on quinoa called saponin, and most cooking instructions will tell you to rinse it before cooking. But I have to be 100% honest and say I rinsed my quinoa exactly one time – the first time I ever cooked it! Frankly it’s kind of a pain. And truthfully, I can’t tell a difference in the taste, so why make more work for yourself?!?
Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus
A rich & luscious spin on a traditional risotto recipe!