Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Crazy for Quinoa

I've been a quinoa-eating machine lately.  It seems like once I started, I just can't stop.  And while there isn't actually any leftover prepared quinoa in my fridge right now, it's so easy to make I definitely think they'll be some more in their again soon. 
It all started when I came across this recipe for Quinoa Pizza Bites on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.  I live right by a Papa Johns, so I'm always smelling pizza-y goodness, and these seemed like a great way to satisfy the craving for pizza without fully succumbing in the dark side (or is that the delicious side?).  The pizza bites proved super easy and really tasty - definitely a recipe I will be making again and again.  I've also already started to envision all sorts of modifications I could make too - Quinoa Mexican Bites, anyone? 
Of course when I was preparing the pizza bites I failed to notice that the recipe only called for one cup of cooked quinoa, so I promptly started off by preparing a cup of dry quinoa and ending up with more than two cups once it was made.  So what was I going to do with all that leftover quinoa?  Experiment, of course! 
Successful experiment #1: quinoa mixed with chalula and guacamole, then eaten as a dip with tortilla chips.  This may not look all that appetizing, but I can assure you it was delicious!  It was spicy, but still cool and creamy with the guacamole.  It also packed a big protein punch that made it a lot more satisfying than chips and salsa alone, but not as high in fat as if I'd eaten that amount of guacamole.  I really think this would be a party appetizer winner. 
Following along the same lines, I used more leftover quinoa as lunch one day by mixing in more chalula plus a generous helping of black beans and serving it with a bit more guac on the side (not shown in the picture).  All mixed together this didn't necessarily look too pretty either, but it definitely tasted amazing.  Plus the double protein punch of black beans and quinoa kept me full right through the afternoon. 
And maybe my favorite quinoa innovation yet?  Mixing quinoa with cashew cheese sauce and whatever other ingredients you feel like (or can imagine!).  I will definitely have a follow-up post on this soon.  The cheesy quinoa was so warm and satsifying - like mac 'n cheese without any of the guilt!  I had this twice - once mixed with black beans (shown) and once mixed with broccoli.  Amazingly delicious both times!  This is definitely one of my new favorite meals. 

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