A typical lunch for me is anything from leftovers…to a veggie patty…to a protein shake…to a cookie with handfuls of popcorn. If I’m not cooking for Hubby or a whole crowd, I just don’t feel the need to hover over the stove for myself. Even big-time chefs admitted to keeping things simple for their midday meal.
Today, however, I was eager to start creating some of the healthy recipes I promised. I’ve had this idea brewing in my mind for a while and after an adrenaline rush from Zumba class (my first time at the gym all year! Get it? Ha!) it seemed like time to experiment.
I recalled my quinoa stuffed peppers I made awhile back, I remembered what a great staple this light and fluffy rice-like grain is. Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber, high in magnesium and iron and although completely vegan, is also a great source of calcium. Can you believe they fit all that into such a tiny package?
Although it naturally boasts a slightly nutty flavor, I chose this roasted garlic version for an extra kick of seasoning. I tossed in finely diced cippolini onions along with smashed kidney beans for additional texture. I utilized the beans as a binding agent to keep this dish gluten-free, but you can certainly add about a tablespoon of all-purpose or GF flour to the mix if it starts to fall apart on you. (Be patient. Allow time for the first side to brown before flipping it over so it stays together.)
I pan-fried the cakes using cooking spray for a negligible amount fat and calories, (heart healthy olive oil would work great as well!) giving them a crispy crunch without unnecessary grease. Top them with tomato salsa and you’ve got yourself a feel-good meal that’s kind to your waistline, gluten-free and vegetarian.
Keep the requests coming! I love reading all your e-mails (firstname.lastname@example.org) and promise to keep my wheels spinning for ways to tackle all your dietary needs, picky-eating kiddies and family-style desires! Happy eating!
(Makes about 18 cakes. Each cake has approximately 50 calories and about 1 gram of fat. 1 WW pt. each)
1 (5.46 oz.) package Roasted garlic quinoa
1 (15.5 oz.) can dark kidney beans
1/4 cup diced onion (or 2 cippolini onions)
1 egg, lightly beaten
A pinch each of salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil cooking spray (Ie: PAM)
Salsa for garnish
Prepare quinoa according to the package directions by boiling 1 1/2 cups of water and allowing mixture to simmer until liquid is absorbed.
Finely dice onion.
Rinse and drain red beans.
Transfer beans into a bowl.
Using the back of a spoon, mash beans into a paste.
Pour quinoa into a large mixing bowl and add your lightly beaten egg.
Toss in onions and stir to incorporate.
Add bean paste to your quinoa.
Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Place your pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.
Using an ice cream scoop, transfer the quinoa mixture to your hot pan.
Flatten each cake with the back of a spoon.
Cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Eat and enjoy with a little salsa!