soup and such

simple, fresh vegetarian soups and more


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kale and quinoa salad with feta

 

kale + quinoa salad

Meet my new favorite salad. I made it for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve made it about three times since then. It’s delicious and very easy to throw together. The only thing you have to cook is the quinoa; everything else just gets chopped and thrown into the bowl. Mix up a super simple honey-dijon dressing and that’s it! Lunch is ready.

This is one of my new favorite ways to eat kale, too. I’ve tried a few raw kale salad recipes before, but this is by far my favorite. For this salad, make sure to use flat-leaf kale (not the curly kind). One of my grocery stores calls it lacinato kale, and the other calls it dinosaur kale. The name dinosaur kale is appropriate because its leaves are bumpy, like what I imagine petting a dinosaur would feel like.

quinoa and kala salad ingredients

I find that it’s a great variety of kale to eat raw in a salad because the leaves seem more tender and don’t require any massaging to break down. I never have any trouble finding it in my various grocery stores, so keep an eye out for it!

kale and quinoa salad2

I hope you give this salad a try. It’s so good!

~Inge

 

Kale and quinoa salad with feta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This salad makes a super satisfying lunch, especially on a work day. The nuts and berries can be easily substituted with whatever variety you have on hand. I used feta, but the original recipe calls for ricotta salata. The lemon zest really adds some flavor, so be sure to include it. 

½ cup quinoa, rinsed well (or 1.5 cups cooked leftover quinoa)
1 bunch of Lacinato kale, very thinly sliced (see directions below)
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or more, to taste)

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white/red wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
Scant 1 teaspoon honey
Salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. To make the quinoa, combine the rinsed quinoa with 1.5 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Set aside to cool, then fluff with a fork.

2. Rinse and dry the kale leaves. Remove the tough stems and ribs from the leaves. You should end up with long, thin leaves. To slice them, stack a few of the leaves into a small pile. Then, roll up the stacked leaves (the long way) as tightly as you can. Using a sharp knife, very thinly slice the rolled-up stack of leaves. You should end up with thin ribbons of kale that resemble the fake green grass people put in Easter baskets.

3. Combine the kale ribbons and cooked quinoa in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients (almonds, cranberries, scallions, lemon zest, and feta).Toss to combine.

4. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Alternatively, you could add all the ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake to combine. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss to combine. I find that tongs work best for this job.

Enjoy!

 


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Caprese quinoa bake

This is an idea for quinoa that I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest in different forms. I finally decided to take the plunge and try it out. It was tasty!

caprese quinoa bake 2

 

We made this quinoa dish a few nights ago for dinner. It is basically a quinoa casserole made with mozzarella, tomato, and basil, and baked in the oven until hot and bubbly. We ate it with a green salad on the side. Overall, it was an easy and satisfying weeknight meal that will definitely go into the rotation. This is a good recipe to try when you’re in the mood for lasagna or pizza, but want to make something a wee bit healthier. Oh, and leftovers were great the next day for lunch, too.

Until next time! ~Inge

quinoa bake

Caprese quinoa bake
Inspired by a similar recipe here

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1.5 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup grated parmesan
Big handful of basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Method:
1. First, prepare the quinoa. Combine the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until almost all of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit (covered) for about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.

2. Combine cooked quinoa, marinara sauce, half of the mozzarella, and almost all of the sliced tomatoes in a medium bowl. Stir in the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Then, fold in half of the basil. Transfer the quinoa mixture to a 2-quart baking dish that has been coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and all of the parmesan cheese on top. Place the remainder of the sliced tomatoes on top.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly. The cheese should be a little brown and everything should be heated through. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle on the rest of the basil and then let it sit for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy with a big green salad on the side!


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Quinoa with leeks, cranberries, and walnuts

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Here is a quick and easy side dish made with quinoa that looks great on a holiday table. The recipe is very flexible. If you don’t like cranberries, substitute dried cherries. Instead of walnuts, you could use almonds or any nuts you have on hand. The possibilities are endless!

I’ll be back before the end of the year with another tasty treat. Until then, wishing you all a happy and delicious holiday week ahead! ~Inge

Quinoa with leeks, cranberries, and walnuts
Adapted from an old issue of Cooking Light

 

2 cups veggie stock
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced leeks
½ cup sliced celery
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground sage
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Method:
1. Bring veggie stock and ¼ teaspoon salt to boil in saucepan. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Let stand a few minutes off the heat; fluff with a fork.

2. Melt butter in large skillet. Add leek, celery, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, and sage. Cook about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Then, stir in the quinoa, cranberries, and walnuts. Cook until everything is heated through. Enjoy!

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stuffed collard greens in spicy tomato sauce

This is a new favorite recipe! Collard greens are stuffed with a quinoa, spinach, and cheese mixture, then covered in a spicy tomato sauce and baked until bubbly. It is so, so good. I had never stuffed and baked greens like this before, but I am now hooked! It’s fun to find new ways to prepare familiar ingredients. And of course, we are a quinoa-loving household, so this dish easily made its way into the regular rotation.

Stuffed collard greens in spicy tomato sauce

Stuffed collard greens in spicy tomato sauce

I was inspired by this recipe from Lattes and Leggings. I made some alternations, though, using collards instead of chard and changing up the filling a bit. I think there are endless possibilities with the filling and I’m looking forward to more experimentation in the future.

The assembly is very easy. Prepare the sauce and ladle a bit in the bottom of a baking dish. Then, mix up the filling and place a small amount in the center of a collard green leaf.

Getting ready to wrap and roll

Getting ready to wrap and roll

Roll or wrap it up, then place each roll-up in the dish. Cover with more sauce and bake until hot and bubbly – simple and delicious!

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collard roll-ups

This dish is so tasty. I hope you give it a try. I love when a new recipe really works. I’ve tried a few duds in the kitchen this week, so it’s nice to have something new turn out so well! Have a great weekend, everyone! ~Inge

Stuffed Collard Greens in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Lattes and Leggings

My recommendation is to use 3 cups (cooked) of whatever grains you have on hand for the filling. The original recipe calls for a mixture of lentils and farro. I’ve made this dish two different ways, once using all quinoa and once using 2 cups quinoa and 1 cup cooked lentils. Results were tasty both times. I think brown rice would also work. Also, I included ricotta cheese in the ingredient list, but I’ve also used goat cheese, which makes the filling a little tangier. Overall, the filling mixture seems very flexible, so play around with it.

For the filling:

3 cups cooked quinoa (or other grain, see note above)
1 ½ cups packed baby spinach, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup ricotta cheese (or 4 oz. goat cheese)
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the sauce:

28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted, if possible)
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ – 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

You’ll also need a nice bunch of collard greens. You’ll need 5 or 6 big leaves to make 10-12 of these roll-ups.

Method:

1. To make the spicy sauce, sauté the minced garlic and red pepper flakes in a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan. When fragrant (don’t let the garlic burn!), add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Set aside.

2. To make the filling, combine the quinoa (and other grains, if using) with the remaining seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir so that everything is combined.

3. Prepare your collard green leaves. For the large leaves, I cut them in half lengthwise, cutting out the hard stem in the middle of the leaf. You want them to be pliable enough to be able to roll them up.

4. To assemble, put a few ladles of sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. I used a 9 x 13 pan. Take a collard green leaf that you’ve prepared and place a few spoonfulls of the filling in the middle of the leaf. Carefully roll or wrap it up. This part gets a little messy, but it’s also kind of fun. Place each roll-up in the baking dish. It’s okay if they are tightly tucked together; it’s easy to get them out individually after they’ve baked. You should end up with 10-12 roll-ups in the dish. Ladle the remaining tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.

5. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Enjoy!


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stuffed peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta

This is a really tasty recipe that I don’t cook nearly enough. Bell pepper halves are filled with a flavorful quinoa and spinach stuffing, with some feta crumbles thrown in for good measure. It is filling and wholesome. Served with a fresh green salad on the side, it makes the perfect dinner and leftover lunch the next day.

Here’s how I make this dish. First, I prepare the pepper “cups,” making sure to season them with a little olive oil and s+p. I want the peppers to have as much flavor as the stuffing. Then, I cook the quinoa and prepare the stuffing mixture. It all comes together pretty quickly.

pepper "cups" and quinoa stuffing mixture

pepper “cups” and quinoa stuffing mixture

Next, the peppers are stuffed. I add an extra drizzle of olive oil over the tops of the stuffed peppers and pour a few tablespoons of veggie broth (or water) in the bottom of the pan. I think the broth helps keep the peppers from drying out while baking. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are crispy and a little brown. Enjoy! ~Inge

Quinoa stuffed peppers with spinach and feta

Quinoa stuffed peppers with spinach and feta

Stuffed peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta
Adapted from Deborah Madison

I often prepare the pepper “cups” first so that they are waiting for me when the stuffing is ready. For the spinach, I usually use two entire bags of baby spinach leaves. It seems like a lot when you add it to the pan, but it really cooks down. Also, don’t forget to add the extra drizzle of olive oil before baking – it helps to brown and crisp up the tops!

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bags of baby spinach
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 container crumbled feta
4 bell peppers, whatever color you’d like

Method:
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt, then the quinoa. Give it a stir, then cover and simmer over low heat about 15 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when most of the water has been absorbed and the grains reveal their spirals.

2. Prepare the pepper “cups” for stuffing. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and cut out the membrane and seeds. Simmer them in some salted water for about 3-4 minutes. You just want to get them a little soft; don’t overcook them. Remove with tongs and set them in a baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the peppers and season with salt and pepper.

3. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add garlic, cumin and spinach, along with 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, cooked quinoa and feta. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper. Then, stuff the peppers with this quinoa mixture.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the peppers and pour a few tablespoons of veggie broth (or water) in the pan. Bake the dish (uncovered) for about 30 minutes until nice and brown on the tops. Enjoy!


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Quinoa with roasted garlic, spinach, and tomato

Our microwave was recently the casualty of an electricity incident in our apartment building. Instead of immediately replacing it, we decided to go microwave-free for a few weeks as an experiment. It’s actually been really easy to do, and looking back, it seems silly that we let such an unnecessary piece of kitchen equipment take up so much counter space. Counter space is like gold in tiny kitchens. With the microwave gone, there are now two comfortable prep areas in the kitchen, which makes cooking together so much easier. I’d take that over a microwave any day.

Another upside to this new normal is that I now get so much more use out of these little Le Creuset baking dishes. I always kept them around because I thought they were cute, but now we use them almost every day to reheat leftovers in the oven. And guess what? Leftovers taste a million times better when cooked in the oven rather than the microwave. Who knew?

Quinoa with roasted garlic, spinach, and tomato reheated in a cute little dish!

All of this is to say that this quinoa dish reheats very well in the oven, making a tasty lunch the day after you make this for dinner. It’s one of our favorite ways to eat quinoa. You toast up uncooked quinoa with some chopped shallots and a dash of white wine before cooking it in veggie broth. When the quinoa is fully cooked, you stir in roasted garlic, chopped tomato, fresh spinach, and a little cheese. It’s really, really, really good.

~Inge

Quinoa with roasted garlic, spinach, and tomato
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 whole garlic heads
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons white wine
2 cups veggie broth
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Method:

1. First, you need to get the garlic roasted. Remove as much papery skin as you can from each head. Then, cut each head in half crosswise. Make sure each clove is exposed (sometimes I have to do a little trimming here and there). Wrap both heads in aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about an hour. Let the roasted garlic cool for a little bit and then squeeze out the individual cloves (which will be kind of pulpy and paste-like at this point) and set them in a small bowl for later.

2. Now, make the quinoa. Heat oil in saucepan. Add shallots and red pepper; cook for a minute. Add quinoa and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully add the wine and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed. Then, add the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

3. Remove the quinoa from the heat, and then stir in the garlic pulp, spinach, tomato, cheese, and salt. Eat and enjoy!