Baked Quinoa Casserole with Kale and Chickpeas

Quinoa is a super food that has become loved by not just the health nuts but everyone as a substitute for classic rice. Yet, often times quinoa is prepared the same way — in a salad or with vegetables or grilled chicken. Here’s a twist on quinoa: let’s bake it!

This recipe is a simple crowd-pleaser with tons of flavor. Plus it can be adapted for vegans (by excluding the cheese) and for meat lovers (by including sausage).  Enjoy!

Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients:

8 ounces kale, chopped
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 6 ounces crumbled feta
> 1 cup quinoa
> 1 can chickpeas
> 1 lemon
> salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions: 

Heat oven to 450°. Toss kale with olive oil and spread in an even layer on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until crisp and lightly browned at edges, 6 minutes.

Rinse quinoa and chickpeas and combine with roasted kale in a 8-by-8 baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups boiling water over mixture. Cover dish tightly with double layer of foil.

Bake until quinoa is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with feta and continue to bake casserole, uncovered, until feta is heated through, about 6 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from YumSugar.

Acorn Squash with Kale and Chickpeas

Recently I’ve been experimenting with cooking stuffed foods, and this week’s is stuffed acorn squash. One of my favorite winter vegetables is squash, regardless of the variety. Some types, like acorn and butternut, are sweet enough that they could almost be dessert. This recipe has many different flavors and textures that combine for a perfect vegetarian entree.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
> cooking spray
> 2 teaspoons olive oil
> 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
> 1 medium onion, finely chopped
> 4 cups tightly packed kale, torn
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
> salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375°. Sprinkle acorn squash with salt; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 3 minutes, then add kale. Cook for 5 minutes, or until kale is sautéed. Add chickpeas and cook for 1 minute.

Divide kale-chickpea mixture among squash. Sprinkle squash with feta cheese. Broil about 3 minutes.

Makes 2 servings plus extra kale-chickpea mixture.

Adapted from Self.

Kale-Chickpea Mixture

Slow Cooker Eggplant & Chickpea Stew

Slow cookers are a dream come true for busy people who are always running from one place to the next. When I get home starving, the last thing I want to do is cook for an hour. I’ll be experimenting with different slow cooker recipes, and since I’ve been loving eggplant lately, the first one I tried is an eggplant and chickpea stew.

The stew turned out well but could use additional spices and herbs if I were to remake it.

IMG_1530

Ingredients:

1/2 cups vegetable broth
> 1 large eggplant
> 1 large onion, diced
> 6 cloves garlic, minced
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 teaspoon salt
> 1 teaspoon ground pepper
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and brush the cut sides with olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.

Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a slow cooker.

Meanwhile, add the vegetable broth, onions, garlic, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Transfer the cubed eggplant to the slow cooker, and cook for about 8 hours on low. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Eating Well.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

To celebrate the start of spring, I had a potluck dinner with friends, each bringing a yummy dish to share. As the hostess, I decided to make the entree. Others brought roasted broccoli, a spinach salad, bacon-wrapped dates, chocolate-covered matzoh and cookie brownies. To add some protein and flavor, I made a vegetable curry with chickpeas. Since curries can take a lot of time and patience to make, the crock-pot was my best friend, since I threw all the ingredients in and let it cook.

Alternate vegetables may be substituted. To change the consistency of the curry, add more vegetable broth to make it more soupy and less for a thicker sauce. The curry can be enjoyed on top of brown rice, combined with sweet potatoes or solo.

Vegetable Curry Stew 2

Ingredients:

> 1 head cauliflower, divided into bite-size pieces
> 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
> 1 cup baby carrots
> 1/2 cup chopped onion
> 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
> 3 teaspoons curry powder
> 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
> cooked brown rice

Instructions:

In a crock-pot, combine cauliflower, chickpeas, carrots and onion. Stir in broth and curry powder.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 hours, or on high-heat setting for 3 hours.

Stir in coconut milk after letting it sit for 5 hours. Spoon rice into bowls, and serve curry on top.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from  Fitness Magazine.