“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. ”
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Author, Life’s Little Instruction Book
As a Mom to a toddler I am constantly looking for quick, healthy meals that I can make with minimal effort. They have to be something that will last at least 2-3 meals and they must be tasty to the little chief.
I have been trying to figure out how to get more quinoa and buckwheat into our lives, since they are so healthy and kind of cook themselves while you walk away and do other things. Quinoa has nearly 15% protein and is debatably the healthiest grain out there, but how to make it appealing to a toddler?
Well, we are lucky in that our son is a bit less picky than the average toddler. I attribute this to our use of baby led weaning as our method of feeding him from day one. But it is also the variety of tastes that he has been exposed to, including curries, sushi, sauerkraut, gourmet cheeses and such. Generally he will eat anything that has a good flavour and combination of spices. Grains, however, are not easy for him to hand-feed himself unless they are a part of something else.
Enter my new creation, quichoa. You take your basic quiche ingredients and give them a nutritional boost by adding ample amounts of quinoa. Voila! You’ve got a dish that can take any old, nearly spoiled veggies and cheese that you need to get out of your fridge and that can also be dumped in a pan and baked without fuss. It’s fast becoming a favorite in our home!
For this version I used some leftover onion, a sadly neglected tomato, a tiny bit of cauliflower and my last mushroom. There was also a bag of cheese curd that remained after a cheese fries snack that I made last month. Added some eggs and cooked quinoa to complete the bake. I cooked the Quichoa in a square pan so they ended up as a sort of Quichoa bar once they were cut.
What I adore about this particular recipe is the way that you can literally use anything you have on hand that needs using up. You can substitute fresh sage or basil for the dried herbs, you could use carrots and broccoli instead of tomatoes and mushroom, you can use tofu instead of cheese, etc. Heck, you could even make it into a fruity Quichoa, by replacing the salt and herbs with sugar and cinnamon and then adding apples, grapes, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, peaches, pineapple…whatever you have.
Papa was terribly astounded at the fantastic deliciousness that resulted simply by adding quinoa to eggs and veg. I was pretty chuffed too, since it was one of my anything but the kitchen sink, last-minute recipes. And the wee chief? Well, he liked it! He especially liked taking the squares of it in his little hands and eating them bite-by-bite like a big boy. :-) Having the quinoa embedded in eggs makes for much less mess as well.
Go on and try it. You know you want to!
- Quichoa Veggie Bake
Makes: 6-12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-45 minutes
Cooking Temp: 325°F
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 large eggs
1/2 cup soy milk (or other milk)
1 large tomato
1 medium onion
2-3 brown mushrooms
1.5 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup crumbled or cubed cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp provençal herbs
pinch cayenne pepper
saucepan & lid
knife & cutting board
8×8″ square cake pan OR
a quiche pan
1. Rinse quinoa and place in a pan with 2/3 cup water and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast.
2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
3. Cover and simmer until all water is absorbed.
4. While quinoa is cooking, chop all vegetables. (I prefer diced.)
5. Sauté vegetables in oil, briefly, just to soften them.
6. Remove quinoa from heat.
7. In a mixing bowl, scramble eggs with milk, herbs & spices.
8. Slowly mix in the warm quinoa and veggies.
9. Stir thoroughly and then add your cheese.
10. Pour the entire mixture into a greased pan and cook on 325°F for 35-45 minutes.
11. Remove from oven when the edges are slightly brown and the center stops being a bubbling, floppy mess.
12. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve with salad, soup or fruit.