Loafing Around With Quinoa

Qunioa has quickly become one of my favorite whole grains.  I first had it last summer when I came across a recipe for a 3-bean quinoa salad.  That salad quickly became one of my favorite summer dishes so I started keeping quinoa on hand at all times.  I buy it from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Quinoa is really easy to cook and packed with nutrients.  One cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.  It’s also a complete protein as it contains all 8 essential amino acids.  With all that fiber and protein, quinoa keeps me full for awhile!

Plain, cooked quinoa can be served as a side dish like rice.  It can also be tossed with veggies to make a pilaf-type dish or tossed with beans and veggies and dressing to make a nice salad.  I think it’s good hot or cold.

Last week I received the recipe below from Whole Foods in my e-mail.  Another way to use quinoa!  Although any recipe with the word “loaf” in it sounds somewhat unappetizing, I thought it looked delicious so I scheduled it into our meal plan for this week.

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peasrecipe from Whole Foods
Serves 6-8

1 tbsp EVOO, plus more for greasing the pan
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
3/4 cup oats
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
10 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained & chopped
1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 onion)

The above ingredients are how the original recipe was written, however I made a couple of changes when I made it myself. First since parsley & thyme are not in season, I used 1 tbsp dried parsley for the fresh herbs. Also I used my own dried tomatoes from the garden last year instead of store-bought ones packed in oil. If you use dried tomatoes, just reconstitute them in some very hot (boiling) water or broth for 10 minutes or so before adding them to the dish.

If you do not know how to cook quinoa, read these simple instructions from Whole Foods.  It’s a lot like making rice.  While the quinoa is cooking, get everything else ready. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8 inch loaf pan with oil and set aside.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Chop mushrooms while oil is heating.  When pan is hot, sautee mushrooms with salt and pepper until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, put garbanzo beans, oats and 1/2 cup water into food processor.

Pulse until smooth.

In a large bowl combine bean mixture, mushrooms, cooked quinoa, peas, parsley, tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper. 

 Transfer mixture to the prepared loaf pan, gently pressing down and mounding the middle with a spatula (to look like meatloaf!). 

 Bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours.  Set aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Here it is sliced with some sauteed kale. 

It was a little crumbly when I sliced it hot.  But it didn’t matter because it was all going straight into my belly!

Overall Benzo and I both enjoyed this dish.  I think it would be great to serve for Sunday dinner or to take to a potluck or family gathering.  I think if I had baked it a little longer, it would not have been as crumbly.  After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, it was not at all crumbly when I sliced it cold.

We each ate two slices for dinner and then two slices each for lunch over the next two days (so 3 meals each, 6 meals total, 12 slices total).  On one of those lunch days I ate a slice on a sandwich with yellow mustard and it was delicious!

Next time I make quinoa loaf I would like to try a glaze, sauce or gravy on top.  Any suggestions on what you think might be good?


3 thoughts on “Loafing Around With Quinoa

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