Ryan has been reminding me about the fact that I haven’t been making much quinoa lately, and he’s right. I was all jazzed up about switching over to quinoa for breakfast from our usual oatmeal, just for a change of pace, but then never really got around to doing it. I hate when that happens.
But as part of our “health kick” (see here for the first and last post about that…whoops) and because it’s the beginning of the week and we need to atone for our weekend sins, I thought a nice, clean quinoa recipe would be a great idea. I’ve been buying these giant vats of Earthbound Farm organic baby spinach (which keep surprisingly well, by the way), so I went hunting for ideas out there in Webland and prompting fell hard for a quinoa casserole recipe from the NY Times, which of course, has cheese in it. Not exactly part of the “clean” plan, but I figured that, for Ryan, I’d take half the recipe and do a non-baked version without cheese (and the kiddo and I can hoard all the cheesy goodness of the other half).
You can go in a lot of different directions with this dish too, which is nice. I used feta, but Gruyère, which is what the original recipe calls for, would be really nice and melty. You could also do chickpeas or another bean or cut that out altogether. Yet another flexible dish — this is becoming a habit (a good one though). Now if I can just keep up the healthy theme…
In the interest of my health (and bikini season, which is fast approaching), I’d love to hear about your favorite clean and healthy dishes. Me and my thighs thank you.
Quinoa Spinach Casserole
4 cups/6 ounces baby spinach*
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups cooked quinoa, (1-1/3 cup uncooked)
3 large eggs
1 cup black beans, rinsed
3/4 cup (3 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or thyme (or whatever you have on hand)
3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated or a few slices of fresh mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 400ºF/204ºC. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Wash the spinach and without spinning dry, add to the pan and wilt in the liquid left on the leaves after washing (you may need to do two batches). When the spinach is wilted, take off the heat and rinse it in a colander with cold water. Squeeze out as much water as you can and give it a rough chop. * If you use frozen chopped spinach, you can skip this step. Just thaw and squeeze out the liquid.
Wipe the pan out and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cook for about a minute. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, beans, cheese, herbs, the onion and spinach mixture, and black pepper and stir to combine. Pour into a gratin dish and sprinkle with Parmesan or mozzarella, which is what I used this time. Bake until browned on top, about 20-25 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.