Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quinoa-Spinach Bake

When it comes to healthy grains, quinoa is king. It is a complete protein, gluten-free, and quick-cooking, so you can serve a crowd with all manner of dietary restrictions with minimal time and effort. Quinoa is a relative newcomer to the American food scene and some might be a little surprised by its flavor and texture, but I've come to really adore each nutty, chewy bite. This dish can't feed quite everyone (sorry vegans!), but it makes for a fantastic side or main for everyone else. I was a bit skeptical at first that it would turn out dry and crumbly, but the moist quinoa, vegetables, and delightfully salty pockets of cottage cheese were held together perfectly by just a couple of eggs. Fresh thyme and rosemary imbue each bite with a lovely herbal quality and generously perfume the house as it bakes. The contrast between the crunchy outside and tender center is a real treat, the cascade of textures throughout each bite elevating what would be a delicious, but monotextural, combination of ingredients to something much more special. I ate this as a main with roasted vegetables on the side, but it would also be a lovely accompaniment to meat or eggs. Whether you're feeding vegetarians, gluten intolerants, or just health-minded individuals, this dish is a crowd-pleaser appropriate for any meal or season.

Quinoa-Spinach Bake
adapted from Whole Living
serves 4 as a main or 8 as a side

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