Saturday, January 12, 2013

Eat Yourself Healthy

Over the holidays, Matt, the kids and I stopped to get a bite eat. An interesting appetizer popped out at me straight away -- quinoa balls with marinara sauce. I used to love my girlfriend’s mother’s rice balls at Christmastime and I hadn’t enjoyed those in years. This seemed like the perfect appy to take me for a stroll down memory lane.

While they weren’t as good as Mrs. Refano’s rice balls, they did live up to the hype I had created in my head; however, they were fried. We closed our eyes and pretended not to notice but we both knew we would more than likely not enjoy them a second time.

I did a few quick Google searches on the way home to find a healthful version, but nothing turned up that jazzed me so I moved on.

Just this week, Vegetarian Times posted a recipe for Crispy Quinoa Cakes, not exactly balls but the mix of ingredients sounded to-die-for (with a couple modifications).

Tonight I followed the recipe almost to a T, omitting the feta cheese and replacing the egg with a water/flaxseed mix. The end result was heavenly. Matt said they were more delicious than the fried version. I thought so too, but I think being able to enjoy food without feeling guilty makes everything taste better.

You must find the time to make these cakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become a weekly staple in your kitchen, as they will mine. Yes, they are THAT good!

Bon Appétit.

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Quinoa Cakes
3 Tbs. warm water
1 Tbs. flaxseed meal
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ½ Tbs. tahini or natural nut butter (We used almond)
1 ½ tsp. red or white wine vinegar (We used red)
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
½ cup finely grated sweet potato
½ 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup chopped nuts, optional (We used almonds)
2 Tbs. finely diced onion
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (We used cilantro)
2 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
Bunch of kale, spinach or other greens

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper.

Whisk together warm water and flaxseed meal. Let sit five minutes.

Combine flaxseed mix, flour, nut butter and vinegar in bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, then mix together with your hands until mixture is firm enough to shape into cakes. Shape mixture into ¼ cup patties with wet hands. Bake on cookie sheet 25 minutes, turning once, or until cakes are browned.

Top with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and serve on a bed of greens. (We sautéed kale in four minced garlic cloves and a tablespoon of olive oil.)

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, drained
½ cup toasted almonds
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Purée all ingredients in food processor.

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