Spanakopita Quinoa

Hello, Delicious!  This is a must make.  This super delicious dish is packed with flavor and definitely filling.  Quinoa is a good protein source, containing most of the essential amino acids our bodies need from food sources.  And while I have heard complaints that quinoa is boring, this is anything but boring!  There’s a little spice to it, and a ton of flavor from garlic, onions, spinach, dill, and best of all, feta.  This all mixes together into a creamy serving of deliciousness.  You’ll definitely want to be making this.  Pair it with a simple Greek salad, or grill up some vegetables or chicken to go with it and you’re all set!

I originally made this using a pot and a skillet.  However, I think the spinach would wilt enough just being mixed with the hot quinoa, so I’ve adapted the recipe so you’ll only have to use one pot.

Spanakopita QuinoaSpanakopita Quinoa (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6

Adapted from An Edible Mosaic

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or almond slivers), toasted
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups water (or broth)
  • 8-10 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 1 1/2 Tbsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 oz Feta cheese, crumbled

In a medium pot, toast nuts over medium heat until fragrant and flavorful.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In the same pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tsp olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, and chopped onion.  Sautee until onion is soft and translucent.  Remove contents from pot, and place in a large serving bowl.

Return pot to burner and add 2 tsp olive oil.  Add remaining garlic and quinoa.  Toast the quinoa for a couple minutes until fragrant, stirring regularly.  Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried dill and oregano, mix well.  Add water, stir, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in the large serving bowl with the onion-garlic in it, add the remaining ingredients.  Once quinoa has finished cooking, add the hot quinoa and mix well.  The heat from the quinoa will wilt the spinach.  Garnish with toasted nuts and serve.

Mediterranean Quinoa

This is a great grain salad.  It’s got everything you need!  Quinoa is packed with protein, but still has the starchy taste of a grain, the vegetables add fresh flavor and color and vitamins, feta and olives add to the whole Mediterranean deliciousness, and herbs make it fresh and summery.  I expect I’ll be making this a lot more this summer.  It’s easy to make, great for potlucks, picnics, or lunches.  The flavor is a little subtle, which I found to be a great refreshing taste, but if you want to kick it up a notch, add more feta and/or olives, or herbs, just taste as you go (remembering that it’ll come together more the longer it sits).

I can also picture this being a great tomato filling for later in the summer, just leave out the grape tomatoes and stuff a large tomato with this salad for a pretty presentation.

Mediterranean QuinoaMediterranean Quinoa Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 20

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

  • 3 cups dried quinoa
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill (twice as much if using fresh)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint (basil would also be fantastic)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 8 oz feta, crumbled

In a large saucepan, add quinoa over high heat.  Toast the quinoa, stirring the pan frequently, until fragrant and starting to pop.  Carefully add water and salt, reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover the pot and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, dill, mint, salt and pepper.

Once the quinoa is done, pour about half of the dressing over the quinoa and mix well (adding it to the hot quinoa will allow the quinoa to better absorb the flavors).  Allow the quinoa to cool partially, then add the remaining ingredients, and top off with the remaining dressing.  Mix well and serve room temperature or cold.

Springtime Quinoa Salad

Spring this year in DC was a little weird.  We got some crazy hot 90° days and then had some rain and dropped back down to the 50’s…so with our little heat spell, spring seemed to pop all of a sudden.  And despite the fact that the warm weather keeps coming and going, I can’t help but get excited about some new, fun, cold salads.  Does that sound lame?  But really! Salads are great and feel so refreshingly spring!  All of the bright green vegetables in this salad are mixed with quinoa (an awesome “grain” that’s technically a seed and is protein packed!), and then it’s taken to a whole new level of freshness with the addition of a lemon basil dressing.  Yum!  This is great for a crowd and can be served cold or at room temperature.  If you don’t think you’ll eat it all at one time, I’d suggest only adding avocado to the portion you’ll eat.  Avocado has a tendency to turn brown when exposed to oxygen, which will make it less appetizing, although the acid from the lemon should help, as does keeping it in an airtight container, so it should be fine for at least 1 day before it starts looking a little sad.

Springtime Quinoa SaladSpringtime Quinoa Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


  • 2 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut in 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Lemon Basil Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp agave (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp salt)

Pour the quinoa into a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Allow the quinoa to toast for a few minutes, until fragrant, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning.  Add water and salt and allow quinoa to come to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and then add to a large bowl to cool.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes until tender.  Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.  (If your peas aren’t thawed you can add them to the skillet for a minute or two to thaw them).  Add the asparagus and peas to the bowl with the quinoa.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Pour dressing over the salad, toss to combine.  Just before serving, fold in the avocado.  Serve room temperature or cold.


Turkey, Spinach, and Quinoa Lasagna

Lasagna is a great winter food.  It’s cheesy comfort on a plate.  It’s also a great way to sneak some more vegetables into your diet and served with a side salad, it’s downright nutritious and delicious.

I was intrigued by this recipe since it added quinoa to the mix.  And actually in the final product I didn’t really notice the quinoa.  But I like the idea especially if you make a vegetarian lasagna, it’s a great way to add some extra protein.  I added some zucchini and onion, but you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand, just sauté them up and mix them in with either the tomato sauce or the ricotta.  I went ahead and doubled the recipe below and made two 9×13″ pans of lasagna, it takes a little bit of extra time, but then you’ll have a spare that you can share, freeze or serve for a large crowd.

Turkey Spinach, and Quinoa LasagnaTurkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Chasing Some Blue Sky

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 jar (24oz) tomato pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (I used about 10oz, but next time I’d use the whole 16oz bag), thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 3 cups low-fat ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 8 oz mozzarella (sliced or shredded)
  • 8-12 no-boil lasagna noodles

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add diced onion and sauté until it begins to soften, then add zucchini and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until veggies begin to brown.  Remove veggies to a plate while you cook the turkey.  In the pan add a little more olive oil if needed and cook the ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces as you go.  Once the turkey has cooked through, add the vegetables back in and add tomato sauce, balsamic and wine.  Let simmer while you assemble the ricotta mixture.Turkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna with Salad

In a large bowl, mix together strained spinach, ricotta, eggs, cooked quinoa, spices, and parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To assemble, scoop about 1 cup of the tomato mixture into the bottom of your 9×13″ pan.  Lay noodles in a single layer over the tomato mixture.  Scoop ricotta mixture over noodles, top with tomato mixture, then sprinkle with a thin layer of mozzarella, repeat with noodles, ricotta, tomato and mozzarella, until your pan is full, ending with the layer of mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top begins to brown and cheese is melted.

Savory Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Dinner last night was a bit of a cleaning out of the fridge.  We had some veggies that needed to be eaten, some ground turkey that needed to be used or frozen, and a bunch of bell peppers.  Naturally stuffed peppers came to mind.  Figuring out what to stuff in a pepper takes a little creativity.  I knew I wanted a whole grain involved, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking up barley or something.  I like having something kind of creamy/cheesy in my peppers.  I knew I had the protein covered with the ground turkey.  And I always like to have as many veggies as possible in any meal.  So those were my guidelines.  I did a little bit of recipe searching and found a basic recipe to follow for quantities/timing, and lo and behold, dinner was born.  This turned out really well!  I used goat cheese which melted into creamy decadence.  I used quinoa as the grain which adds a lovely nutty flavor and absorbs the creamy melted cheese and the juice from the tomatoes.  I like to cut the peppers in half before filling them so that your pepper is overflowing with filling, but if you prefer the look of a whole pepper being filled that works too.  All and all this turned out perfectly for a use-what-you’ve-got recipe.

Savory Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz goat cheese (I had tomato and herb on hand)
  • 6 bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp julienned basil, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small sauce pan, toast your quinoa over medium-high heat until it starts to pop and smells fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms until tender.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add turkey, breaking it up with your spatula as it cooks.

Mix in tomato paste and salt.  Stir in tomatoes and goat cheese.  By this time your quinoa should be done, so stir that in as well and remove skillet from heat.  In a nonstick pan, line up your pepper halves, scoop filling into each half.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, carefully take off the foil and garnish the peppers with fresh basil.  Serve and enjoy!


Turmeric Quinoa with Apricots and Almonds

This is a simple side.  It’s a bit more exciting than your usual rice or plain quinoa.  While the dried fruit adds a little pop of flavor, it doesn’t make the dish overwhelming sweet, just a subtle, chewy fruit flavor.  Turmeric is a lovely spice, so bright and cheery.  It’s also supposed to be good for your joints, so if you suffer from knee pain or any other joint discomfort, try sneaking in some extra turmeric to your diet and see if you notice a difference (then report back!).

Turmeric Quinoa with Apricots and Almonds

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Girl Cooks World

  • 1 3/4 cups dried quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried currants (cranberries or blueberries would also work)
  • slivered almonds, toasted for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, apricots, broth and turmeric, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, combine oil, lemon juice, orange zest and mint in a bowl and whisk together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  When the quinoa is done, toss with the dressing.  Mix in the currants and top with toasted almonds.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this recipe.  It’s not exactly an exciting, standout recipe (glowing review, I know).  However, it is convenient and perfect for those times when you know you need to be eating healthy things but just want to stuff your face with the nearest and easiest anything, preferably carbs.  We’ve all been there, and salads just don’t sound like they’re going to satisfy the way something dense and starchy would.  So if you’re looking for a way to bulk up a salad without a lot of work during the week, this is your guideline (it’s super adaptable, so run with the idea).

Southwestern Quinoa Salad 

Serves about 6

Adapted from FitSugar

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes,  halved (you might do this right before serving so they don’t water down the salad)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a small saucepan, toast the quinoa over medium high heat for a few minutes, until quinoa starts to turn golden and smells fragrant.  Add the water to the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve on a bed of lettuce with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food process and pulse until well mixed.

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mom and I made this for lunch the other day at the spur of the moment.  I saw a recipe for stuffed shells with kale and thought we could mix something up for stuffed peppers.  Dishes like this are a great way of using up some of the things you have in the fridge that you don’t have a plan for.  This used up some extra cheese and vegetables; stuffed peppers are super versatile and are a great opportunity to try new flavor combinations.

I would definitely make these again.  Maybe with even more kale in the peppers because the kale in the stuffing was my favorite part!  As you can see we steamed the whole bunch of kale and used half for the stuffed peppers and had the other half on the side.  Delicious!

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

Adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 5 bell peppers, cored and halved
  • 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella (plus more to sprinkle on top)
  • 3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a large pot steam or saute the kale.  In a small pot, toast the quinoa then add 1 1/2 cups water, a sprinkle of salt and the pressed garlic; bring to a boil.  Simmer the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed.  Place the halved peppers cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Place peppers in the oven for about 8 minutes, while finish making the filling.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Mix in the kale and quinoa.  Take the peppers out of the oven, flip and fill.  Top with a little bit more mozzarella or parmesan, loosely cover with foil and return to the oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole

For Tuesday’s School of Christian Living class, I tried a couple new things.  We had Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole, Salad, Focaccia Rolls, and Triple Chocolate Brownies.

The casserole dish was based off a Mexican flavored dish that I’ve made before.  It’s a simple dish, and I knew that the flavors could be adapted very easily, so I was excited to try out this Italian variation.

Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole

Serves 18-20

Adapted from Stepfanie’s Quinoa-Black Bean Casserole

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 large (29oz) cans cannelini beans
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 2 large bunches swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic oil (or regular olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes

Toast the quinoa in a saucepan for a few minutes.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.  In a large pan, heat oil and add chopped swiss chard.  Add the minced garlic and saute until chard is just beginning to wilt.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 large baking dishes and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, swiss chard, beans, corn, 1 cup cheese, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, eggs, and tomatoes; mix well.  Divide mixture into prepared baking dishes and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.



Black Bean, Quinoa, & Citrus Salad

I was very intrigued when I first saw this salad.  It’s a really unique combination of ingredients that I would have never thought to combine, but I like them all separately, so how could it be bad?  It is DELICIOUS!  Such a wonderful fresh spring salad!  You’ll definitely want to give it a try!

Black Bean, Quinoa, & Citrus Salad

Serves 6-8

Slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


  • 1 large (29oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn, thawed (or 3 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, minced


  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Toast quinoa in a small saucepan for about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.  Remove from the stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a large bowl, combine black beans, shallot, grapefruit, bell pepper, corn, avocado, and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Add cooled quinoa to the salad, then pour dressing on.  Mix well and serve.