Saturday, September 15, 2012

The New Superfood on the Block

Move over avocado, I have a new favorite superfood! Enter quinoa, the grain-like crop reminiscint of white rice or couscous in preparation and meals.

I hinted at a couple Real Simple recipes we were planning on trying out this week and was so glad we did: consider both of these added to the regular rotation.

First up, Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes and Kale.

The quinoa was prepared according to package directions, absorbed by water on the stovetop after about 15 minutes of simmering. For reference, finding the box in the grocery was a bit of a chore. I assumed it would be by the rice but came up empty. Eventually I found it in the organics aisle by the gluten free foods.
After peeling and dicing 2 large-ish sweet potatoes, they were added to a pot of 1/2 cup heated olive oil. I let these cook, covered, for about 8 minutes or so and then added red onion, stirring regularly. I chopped up a bunch of kale and added half at a time to the mix until it wilted down enough to mix in. I think this might be one of the first times I have really used kale in a recipe. I'm a fan. A little bit of salt and a little bit of pepper later, and things were smelling pretty wonderful.
I dished out the quinoa and added the sweet potato mixture on top. The recipe then calls for pesto and walnuts to be added. When making this meal I was on a bit of a time crunch, so even though I had bought basil at the store for the pesto, I decided against getting the food processor out and taking that step. I stuck with just adding a few walnuts and it worked out just fine.
The theme of the Real Simple article was about building a new meal the next night out of leftovers. So I was excited to try the second quinoa recipe: Crispy Quinoa and Bean Patties. Especially since the first recipe made a ton and we had a huge container of cooked quinoa hanging out in our fridge.

We started with a can of kidney beans that has been taking up space in our cupboard for quite some time. Using our new potato masher from our Crate and Barrel registry, the beans were mashed in a bowl. To that I added 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 3/4 cup parmesan, 2 cups cooked quinoa and the leftover sweet potato mixture, chopping the pieces up into smaller bits.

Mixing everything together, the egg and parmesan helped it take on a meatball-like consistency. Perfect to make into patties. I didn't have as much sweet potato mixture leftover as the recipe called for, so I cut everything down a bit. However, I still got 11 patties out of it, when the recipe said to make 12. So I have to wonder how large I was supposed to make them!
I got out the cast iron skillet and added about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heating that up, I added three patties to the pan and let them cook on each side for a few minutes.
The sweet potatoes and beans made each bite soft and a bit creamy, while the outside was nice and crunchy from the skillet and oil.
Winners both! And we still have some leftover quinoa, looks like I need to find another recipe soon!


  1. i love quinoa! i will spend sundays making a couple different varieties to have for lunch that week, and then freeze the other half. i like the southwestern version, so easy and you can modify it to whatever you might have on hand. the Protein Bar makes a great buffalo quinoa bowl that tastes just like hot wings, i need to replicate that since theirs is expensive! :)

  2. I recently discovered quinoa, too! I made this recipe:

    The sweet potato and kale recipe sounds wonderful, but 1/2 cup seems like an awful lot of oil for 8 servings. Does it really need that much?

  3. Thanks for sharing recipes! Amy, I am sure you could get away with less, but the oil helped brown the sweet potato chunks nicely and it did not feel at all like it was an oily dish.