Friday, June 4, 2010

Baked Quinoa with Spinach, Cheese, and Chorizo

I'll admit it, I've been on a bit of a quinoa kick recently. My friends started making salads featuring the trendy new grain and I've jumped on the quinoa bandwagon. It's just so versatile! Taking the place of rice, couscous, pasta, really any starch, it's much lighter and fluffier and works great with just about everything.

This recipe is from the Recipes for Health section of the New York Times, from their own experiments with 'unusual' grains. I substituted the cheeses and added some chorizo which made it a bit heartier for a one-dish meal, but this recipe seems foolproof. I also added some chili pepper in (cayenne and achiote) for the spice lovers among us. But feel free to experiment, adding in your own ingredients to suit your taste!

Serves about 4-6 people as a main course


1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 plump garlic cloves, minced
4 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked) (For Quinoa cooking instructions see here)

2 large eggs
3 ounces cheddar cheese or Gruyere , grated (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)

3 ounces diced dried Spanish sausage (chorizo)
chili pepper (to taste, approx. 2 tsp)


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish.

2. Heat a medium frying pan or a wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Wash the spinach and without spinning dry, add to the pan and wilt in the liquid left on the leaves after washing. You may have to do this in 2 batches. As soon as the spinach wilts, remove from the heat and rinse with cold water. Squeeze dry and chop. Set aside.

3. Wipe the pan dry and heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in it over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir with the onion until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the quinoa, the onion and spinach mixture, the Gruyère/cheddar, the chorizo and the sage. Add freshly ground pepper and stir the mixture together. Scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until nicely browned on top, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, allow to sit for about 5 minutes, and serve.

Advance preparation: The cooked quinoa will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. The recipe can be made through Step 3 several hours or even a day ahead. The gratin can be assembled several hours ahead.

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