Spinach-Tomato Quiche with a Quinoa Crust

IMGP2007The spouse and I find ourselves increasingly cutting back on meat and eating more vegetarian meals. So I am always surfing around the internet looking for interesting recipes that include quinoa and/or beans.

This dish began when I surfed onto the “Gazing In” blog where author Sarah had created a toil-free quinoa crust while developing her Spinach Quinoa Quiche.

How, you may be wondering, can a crust be toil-free? Here’s how: By adding uncooked quinoa to a liquid mixture where, during cooking, the grain falls to the bottom and thickens. Neat, huh? I also found that the quinoa crust kept thickening even when quiche leftovers took a time out in the refrigerator.

Sarah’s recipe looked good and easy, but it didn’t suit someone with lactose sensitivity who was dieting. Thus began my adaptation: Using non-cow dairy products, switching to liquid egg substitute, cutting back on the cheese, and making up for the missing cheese by adding pizza sauce for a tomato flavour, etc.

So, here it is—a tasty, dieter’s vegetarian dish that’s easy as pie…er, quiche!

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Tomato Quinoa-Bean Squares

Today I’m writing to you about a culinary triumph and a baking disaster.

Disaster first. Those who follow this blog may recall that I planned to experiment with my gluten-free angel food cake recipe to bring down the carb and calorie count. Well, experiment I did, substituting erythritol for some of the sugar. Erythritol is granular like sugar, has no calories or aftertaste, and is very low on the glycemic index.

sadfaceSo what happened? The erythritol (1) melted and created a messy, black residue on the bottom of the oven that had to be scraped off, (2) sealed the tube section to the rest of the pan so tightly that the spouse had to pry it loose with a knife—good-by pan, and (3) resulted in a very crumbly, nowhere near as delicious, version of the real thing.

The cake did rise and stay that way, but…sigh. Upwards and onwards…

Now the triumph—A tasty, filling, low-cal, vegetarian bake!

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This dish is packed with protein via the beans, quinoa, and cheese. As well, the quinoa can  help you fill your daily whole grain quota, which is not always easy to do on a gluten-free diet.

This is also a great way to get rid of quinoa leftovers. In fact, it was the cooked red quinoa hanging around in my fridge that got this dish off the ground along with some recipe-surfing on the Internet.

And what’s more, it is flexible.

  • Not quite enough quinoa? Not to worry.
  • Want to add more beans? Go ahead.
  • Prefer tomato paste to pizza sauce? Do your own thing and throw in some basil and oregano.
  • Like it hot? Go for it.

But most of all, enjoy!

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Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Avocados have been on sale.  If you’re like me and love avocados, three things then happen.  You can’t resist a sale; you buy more avocados than you should; they all ripen at the same time.  That’s avocado problem number one.

Avocado problem number two has to do with losing weight.  Avocados are incredibly nutritious (check it out at California Avocado Commission), but they are also extremely high in calories for a vegetable.  In fact, the Weight Watcher program, which allows its adherents to eat 99.9% of vegetables for free, has singled out the avocado for its high level of fats.  Good fats, of course, but fats nonetheless. 

An avocado is 8 points on the Points plan and 12 points on the PointsPlus plan.  That is, respectively, the same as eating 8 or 12 apples!

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