Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole
Happy 2016! I’m back after large portions dinners, family, friends and a reasonable amount of party. With my husband and a friend we spent a few days in Crans Montana, even if the snow was sadly scarce, we still had a great time strolling around, tasting wine, treating ourselves to great foods like alpine cheese, fondue, pastries, Argentinean beef on a hot stone… Continue reading

Like many, the beginning of January is ideally for me a detox period. This doesn’t mean I’ll have steamed veggies and water, but at least no alcohol, no meat and not too many sugary and/or fatty foods. So to please myself with healthy food I made a healthy quinoa casserole where the use of cheese is limited and the white sauce contains no butter. A little over a year ago I made the Swiss grape juice pie and although a sweet treat, this recipe required a form of white sauce. Today’s recipe was a great opportunity to re-use such cooking process. With the light béchamel sauce I added the goodness of quinoa, carrots and kale to complement the healthy recipe aura.


Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Healthy Quinoa Casserole

Recipe for 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main meal

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min
Ingredients:

120 g quinoa

120 g carrots

120 g kale

1 red onion

60 g grated Gruyere

1 tbsp. butter

50 g flour

2.5 dl milk

2.5 dl vegetable stock (alternatively replace this part with more milk)

salt and pepper

Topping:

20 g grated Gruyere

3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

3 tbsp. milk

(optional: 1 tbsp. butter)

 

Recipe:

Place the quinoa in a pan in two times its volume of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 13-15 min. Set aside once done.

Wilt the kale in a pan over medium heat with a couple tbsp. water until the leaves have softened then set aside.

Prepare the white sauce by placing the flour in a bowl and adding a little milk. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and gradually add the rest of the milk and the stock. Transfer to a pan with high sides and heat the white sauce by constantly stirring. Once the preparation has thickened, remove form the fire and add the grated cheese and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chop the onion and cut the carrot into small cubes of about 0.5 cm. To cut the carrots, start by slicing by their length into 0.5 pieces. Take each slice and cut strips out of them. Finally place the strips together and cut them into small cubes.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 min or until the carrot has softened but is not mushy. Stir occasionally.

Coarsely chop the kale and add it to the carrots and onion along with the quinoa and the white sauce. Mix until all ingredients are combined and transfer to a baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp. milk and the grated cheese, mix and spread over the other ingredients. Optionally scatter a pieces of butter on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 min at 200°C.

Avocado and Roasted Tomato Grain Salad

Avocado Roasted Tomato Grain SaladNow, this is a dish I would never have thought my dog would taste. As a pup and for years she has been so difficult with food but either my cooking has improved or she has become more of a glutton. Hopefully both theories are right. Continue reading

I love the colour of vegetables and find they always manage to make any dish livelier. In addition to the avocado and the cherry tomatoes, I added some grains to this Avocado & Roasted Tomato Grain Salad to bulk it up a little and make it more nutritious. Although the recipe portions are for four people as a starter or as a side dish, one can easily make a nice meal for two out of it.

Avocado and Roasted Tomato Grain Salad

Recipe for 4
Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 25-30 min.

Ingredients:
200 g amaranth (alternatively use quinoa, bulgur or cuscus)
300 g cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil (+ 1.5 tbsp. to drizzle on the tomatoes)
2 tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1 small red onion
1 avocado
1 small bunch coriander leaves
Salt and pepper

Recipe:
Heat oven at 200°C.
In a pan bring to a boil the amaranth with two times its volume in water. Let simmer for 15-20 min or until water has all been absorbed. Once done, set aside.
Meanwhile cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them cut side up on an oven paper lined baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil on the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15.20 min. Once they are done remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
Prepare the dressing by mixing the sherry vinegar, the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Finely chop the red onion and the coriander leaves. Cut the avocado in two, remove the pit, scrape out the inside with the help of a tablespoon and cut it into pieces of about 2 cm per side.
In a bowl combine the amaranth, chopped onion, coriander leaves, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and dressing and gently toss. Alternatively save a little dressing to drizzle over the salad at serving moment.

Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

Cauliflower Chickpea Salad
I don’t know about you but I go through periods where I love eating healthy food and other times when I have a passionate attraction towards anything greasy, chocolaty or very cheesy. Continue reading

As you can see from this recipe, I am now in the first phase. Since the days are not as warm as before, when I make a salad I like to have something warm in it so in this recipe I baked some cauliflower florets. To make this salad I used flavours that pair well with the cauliflower: lemon juice, almonds and parsley. This salad can be easily made ahead and the ingredients are easy to find all year round.

 

 

Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

 

Recipe for 3-4 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 18-20 min.

 

Ingredients:

280 g cauliflower florets

250 g cooked chickpeas

2 tbsp. finely chopped onion

2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. almonds

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 230°C.

If the cauliflower florets are too large cut them into smaller pieces and place them in a baking tin. Drizzle a tbsp. olive oil on top and season the florets with salt and pepper, toss to coat evenly. Bake the cauliflower for 18-20 min tossing once or twice during the process.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 2 tbsp. olive oil, a few drops of water, salt and pepper to taste.

Roughly chop the almonds.

Finely chop the onion.

Once the cauliflower is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool a moment before roughly chopping it.

Place the chickpeas in a bowl with the cauliflower, onions, almonds, and parsley, drizzle the dressing on top, toss and rectify taste with salt and pepper if needed. Serve.

Roasted Butternut Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers

Roasted Butternut Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers Not being beach types we have finally found the destination for our honeymoon and it will be Paris and the Loire Valley: castles, history, food and wine all to be shared with my new husband! Since we’re not leaving for another couple of weeks I’ll keep enjoying my time here in Switzerland. Continue reading

I love living in a place where there are four distinct seasons, each is as enjoyable as the next for one reason or another. Autumn, not only has beautiful colours, it also has amazing produces and I’m always in for anything with squash or chestnuts. Last Saturday I stayed home getting ahead with my work but to keep my motivation up I felt like spoiling myself with a nice vegetarian burger… something I can hardly make when my husband is home because he loves his meat. After searching for a few ideas on what to cook, the quinoa burger idea grew on me and so I gave it a try. And in the end the roasted vegetables gave a great taste to this meal.

 

Roasted Butternut Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers

Recipe for 4

Cooking time: 30-35 min

Prep time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g butternut squash (peeled)

160 g button mushrooms

6 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

120 g quinoa

1 red onion (not too large)

Olive oil

¼- ½ tsp. smoked paprika

¾ tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 210°.

Place the quinoa in 1½ its volume in water and bring it to a boil until done, about 12-15 min. Once done set aside and let it cool a little.

Cut the butternut squash into cubes of 1.5-2 cm. Peel and slice the onion by its length and then cut it in half.

Place the butternut squash, the mushrooms and the onion pieces in a baking tin, drizzle with 1-1.5 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and bake in the oven for about 20 min. flipping the ingredients once or twice.

Once the vegetables are brown remove them from the oven and let them cool a little before finely chopping them.

In a bowl combine the chopped vegetables, quinoa, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and a dash olive oil. Mix everything together and let it rest for about 30 min.

Once the time is up form four patties about 1.5-2 cm thick.

On a medium to high fire heat a couple tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the burgers to brown on both sides, cook for about 3-5 min per side. Serve them either on their own or with a bun complete with your desired topping.

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

Crispy Tofu Asparagus RiceTofu is something I have always liked, unfortunately a lot of the people around aren’t fans or I never really get a chance to cook for them. Continue reading

One I’m trying to convert to like tofu is my mother so today when she came over I made this dish. Knowing she loves everything that is crispy I thought I could pull it off with such a recipe… and I did! She really enjoyed it, so did I and even my fussy dog had a taste of it and ate it. I used some asparagus for this dish because the season will soon end but during the rest of the year there are tons of other options you can pair this with. And depending on which veggies you’re using you could also add some 2-3 cloves of garlic or some onions.

Next week trying and testing my wedding hair and make up and in addition I’ll be choosing the different décors for the event so I’ll take the week of. I’ll be back the following week. Meanwhile I wish you all a nice weekend!

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus Rice

 

Recipe for: 4-6 people

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

300 g fine asparagus

300 g tofu

240 g long grain rice (I used basmati)

3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 chillies (seeds removed)

3-4 tbsp. rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Soy sauce to serve

 

Recipe:

Cook the rice according to package instructions. Once done set aside.

Finely chop the chillies and roughly chop the asparagus into about 1 cm pieces.

Rinse the tofu and pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Lay a tea towel on a bowl and with your hands crumble the tofu in it. Close the tea towel by twisting it on top and wring out as much moisture as you can.

Heat 2 tbsp. of the sesame oil the tbsp. olive oil to a pan on a high fire. Once the oil is almost at smoking point add the crumbled tofu. Spread it evenly on a single layer in the pan. Season it with salt and pepper. Without touching it, let the tofu fry for a couple of minutes. Once it’s crispy toss and continue to cook it until it’s nice and crispy all over. If the pan is too small do it in two batches, dividing the oil too. Once done set the tofu aside and give the pan a wipe.

Reduce the fire to a medium heat and add the last tbsp. of sesame oil with the chopped chillies. After a minute add the asparagus and cook until they’re done but still crispy, about a couple of minutes. Then add the crispy tofu and the rice, toss and add the rice vinegar. Once all the ingredients are nice and hot transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve with soy sauce on the side.

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad 2.2 These Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad are the kind of dish I love making, eating and sharing. Continue reading

The more I cook the more I notice my love for making veggie filled dishes. On the other hand I also notice that my sweet baking skills have room for improvement… Anyway, since I haven’t seen much sun lately I wanted to encourage warm days by making something with an eye towards summer. Aubergines and salad to me scream warm and sunny days. With the wedges I made the wheat salad by adding ingredients that pair well with aubergines: tomatoes, walnuts, chilli and a little garlic. Easy and healthy, I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Aubergine Wedges with a Rich Wheat Salad

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15-20 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients

2 small aubergines (stem trimmed) – about 500 g

160 g tomatoes – the meatier the better

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1-2 cloves garlic

Chilli powder

2 tbsp. dry roasted coarsely chopped walnuts

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp. lemon juice

160 g wheat (I used the precooked kind)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, and then cut each half into four equal sized wedges. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges (skin side down) on a parchment lined baking tray and cook for 25-30 min in the oven. If the top gets too dark turn the wedges on one side and flip them after a few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the wheat according to package instructions (about 10 min.) in salted water. Drain if needed once done.

Chop the tomato into about ½ cm pieces and using a garlic crusher crush the cloves (alternatively finely chop it)

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a bowl combine the cooked wheat, chopped tomatoes, garlic, parsley, walnuts and dressing.

Place the aubergine wedges on a serving plate(s) and add the wheat salad on top. Serve

 

Springtime Pasta

Springtime Pasta Because asparagus season always seems too short so I wanted to take advantage of it at least once more. Continue reading

For this quick and easy dish I dressed the pasta with a creamy goat cheese sauce filled with tasty and healthy greens. These will provide two of the five portions of fruits and vegetables one needs a day. And since after almost eight years I’m still trying to get my fiancé to improve his diet, this is a good way to trick him 😉 .

Springtime Pasta

 

 

Springtime Pasta

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10-15 min

 

Ingredients:

320 g pasta (fusilli, farfalle…)

320 g fresh peas (frozen ones are fine too but make sure they are at room temperature)

320 g fine asparagus

160 g fresh goat cheese

2 tbsp. olive oil

3-4 tbsp. cream

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Chop the asparagus into 2 cm pieces (I cut mine a little too big).

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a low-medium heat. Add the chopped asparagus and the peas with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tenderstirring occasionally, about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Once the vegetables are done add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for another half minute before reducing fire and adding the cream and goat cheese. Cook while stirring until the goat cheese has melted.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the vegetables and the goat cheese. Toss and serve.

 

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

Pan Fried Artichokes with CroutonsI have to admit that some dishes really are more difficult to photograph than others. Anyway, I just love spring for its seasonal produces and I always try to make the most out of this time of the year since it only lasts a limited time. Continue reading

I had some leftover bread that was going a little stale and since it was made with whole flour I didn’t feel like making breadcrumbs. Finally I decided to combine it with the artichokes and so I came up with this dish. Adding a little sun-dried tomatoes and olives with the final touch of the Parmesan flakes really brought the dish together. This is a simple and friendly recipe with a Mediterranean inspiration that will work well for a relaxed lunch or dinner.

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

 

Pan Fried Artichokes with Croutons

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

Ingredients

4 artichoke hearts

200 g bread – preferably a little stale

2 tbsp. olive oil

18-20 olives

8 sun-dried tomato fillets

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Parmesan flakes

 

Dressing

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

 

Recipe

 

Cut the artichoke hearts in four parts and remove the hairy part with a knife. Cut each quarter in half. While preparing them, fill a bowl with water and add lemon juice to prevent them from oxidising.

Cut the bread into 2 cm cubes.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium fire and add the artichokes with salt and pepper to brown on the cut side for 5-7 min. Turn them and brown the other cut side for another 4-5 min. Once done set aside.

Heat the second tbsp. of olive oil and add the bread cubes to brown on all sides.

Meanwhile halve the olives and cut the sun-dried tomatoes into strips. Also, make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together and set aside.

Once the croutons are nicely coloured add the olives, the sun-dried tomatoes and the artichokes to the pan. Cook another couple of minutes then remove from the fire and add the dressing.

Serve with the Parmesan flakes sprinkled on top.

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs Last Sunday, while mister was still in bed recuperating from an evening campaigning through the region, I got into the kitchen and prepared this quinoa, tomato baked eggs. Continue reading

Usually I try to stick to seasonal products but I have to say that I was really in for a change. I made this quick and healthy dish for the two of us and even if my fiancé just had a bite because he had to leave to another of his political events, I still managed to make him eat something, something healthier that he usually does when we are not together. By the way, how do you get a man to care more about what passes through his stomach? After almost eight years I still haven’t figured that out… when you care about someone it’s hard not to nag him about taking better care of himself. My hopes are still up and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe 🙂

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

 

Quinoa Tomato Baked Eggs

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Coo time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients

220 g quinoa

250 g cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 chilli pepper(s)

Salt and pepper

4 eggs

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Recipe

 

Cook the quinoa in 1 ½ times its volume in water for 12-15 min. Once done set aside.

Chop the onion and the chilli pepper and divide the cherry tomatoes into 4.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and chilli, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with the oregano, salt and pepper and cook on a low-medium fire for 10 min. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes. Mix in the quinoa. Correct flavour to taste with salt and pepper.

Make four little concavities with the back of a tbsp. and in each add an egg. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 7-9 min, until the egg has reached the desired consistency.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

Carrot Hummus

Carrot HummusLast weekend was a very relaxed moment for me and since my fiancé is busy going around for his political campaign, I made myself busy in the kitchen and prepared this lighter hummus made with carrots. I didn’t really have lunch but with a little toasted pita bread I enjoyed it while re-watching a documentary on Henry VIII (I already know so much about the subject but still enjoy hearing about it, history is my drug). It was the second time in my life I was making hummus and the first time (which was a few years ago) was not a satisfying experience. This time on the other hand was much better. I more or less followed the recipe written on the jar of my tahini but for tips on how to proceed I looked up on this site. It’s actually a fun and easy recipe to make and after this test, next time I’ll have guests over, I’ll give it another try, maybe then I’ll use bell peppers or tomatoes…

Carrot Hummus

 

Carrot Hummus

 

Recipe for about 8

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time:15 min

 

Ingredients:

350 g peeled carrots

150 g cooked chickpeas

4 tbsp. olive oil (+ extra to serve)

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 tbsp. lemon juice

70 g tahini

(optional: 3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves)

 

Recipe:

Cut the carrots in four parts lengthwise and then dice it. Place them in a steamer or a steaming pan and cook them until soft (about 10-15 min). Set them aside.

In a food processor place the tahini and lemon juice and blend for a about a minute. Add the chickpeas and process them for another minute. Repeat with the carrots and olive oil. At this point add the coriander leaves if using them. Place the hummus in a bowl, drizzle a little olive oil on top and serve with pita bread, toasted bread or vegetables.