Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Healthy Lunch Series: Quinoa Zucchini Bake ~ served warm or cold (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)


As part of Inspired Edibles' ongoing Healthy Lunch Series, I'm excited to share this seasonal zucchini and quinoa bake that you can serve up warm and comforting from the oven or cool and refreshing from the fridge.

Many of us are experiencing mercurial weather this summer -- cold and rainy one day, uncomfortably humid the next.  This simple, nutritious meal will accommodate either end of the spectrum nicely.

Made ahead, these cooled squares pack up beautifully into lunch boxes and picnic baskets and you can easily vary the contents and flavor accents with different fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices as desired (see suggestions in the Cooking & Nutrition Notes section below).

I hope you have fun with it and enjoy adding the recipe to your lunch repertoire!



Healthy Lunch Series: Quinoa Zucchini Bake

Quinoa Zucchini Bake ~ served warm or cold (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups (500 mL) packed and drained shredded zucchini (I used a combination of yellow and green zucchini)
  • 3 green onions (scallions), sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) mushroom pieces
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) shredded Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)  lemon zest
  • 2 heaping Tbsp (30 mL) fresh dill
  • Sea salt & coarse pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 
  • 4 eggs

Makes 12 Squares

Cooking & Nutrition Notes:
  • Variety is the spice of life and in this case, there are many gorgeous combinations you can play around with.  I worked with mushroom, Parmesan, lemon and fresh dill but consider some of these variations: chopped apple and nutmeg; tomato and fresh basil; garlic, walnut and parsley; crunchy anise and tarragon; chopped pear and sage; blueberry and mint; cheddar, corn and chili pepper. 
  • Dubbed the “mother grain” by the Incas, quinoa’s nutrient profile has earned it star status. Rich in plant protein, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids making it an important staple for vegetarian/vegan diets. It also contains B vitamins and a number of minerals including, notably: magnesium (a natural muscle relaxant), manganese, phosphorus, copper and iron. Quinoa’s low glycemic index also makes it a good choice for blood glucose control in diabetics (and those wishing to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes).
  • If you are making this recipe for youngsters, you can cut the quinoa zucchini bake into fun and interesting shapes -- squares, circles, long stick shapes, triangles, any cookie cutter shape you have on hand etc.  You can also provide dipping sauces - tzatziki would work beautifully here - but any bean dip as well.  (Or, as one of my sons might advise, hot buffalo wing sauce!)


Directions:

Heat oven to 350 F.  

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (generally 1:2 ratio quinoa to water) and allow it to cool somewhat.  Quinoa increases about 4 times in volume when cooked. A 1/2 cup of dry quinoa should generate about 2 cups of cooked quinoa. Use 1 cup of dry to be safe and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.
  2. Meanwhile, place shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl or sink.  Press down on the zucchini to squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. Place cooked quinoa, shredded and drained zucchini, green onions, mushrooms, Parmesan, lemon zest, dill, salt & pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil and eggs.  
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry mixing only until combined.
  6. Line a baking pan (roughly 6 1/2 x 10) with parchment paper such that the paper hangs over the sides of the pan. Pour quinoa zucchini batter into the pan.  Add a final sprinkling of cheese and mushrooms to the surface.
  7. Place pan in oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until set (slightly golden and just firm to touch).
  8. Remove pan from oven allow it to cool.  Elevate the quinoa zucchini bake slab from the pan by pulling up on parchment (if you can) or with the help of a large spatula and slice slab into squares or desired shape.
© Inspired Edibles

  Print this recipe card




I must have eaten a pound of heirloom carrots with malt & salt 
while making this recipe...


Ready for the oven

so simple and packed with goodness

perfect picnic food

you just know I want to break into Seals & Crofts right now


20 comments:

  1. I totally love this baked quinoa with seasonal veggies! Can I skip the Parm and use more yogurt instead? Hubby doesn't eat strong hard cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You sure can Angie - this is a very versatile recipe. To make up for the extra liquid from the yogurt, you may want to add a bit more cooked quinoa.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great recipe, but but but, could you cut some for me in cute shapes too? I am still very young at heart! ;-)


    (loved all photos, but you know the one that made me melt... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've got a Tyrannosaurus rex here - does that work for you? :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. My favorite shape! thank YOU! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've already picked two zukes and you know they are like rabbits. Am pinning this for much use later! Thank you for another great recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had to read the ingredients three times because I was wondering how you managed to make it "set" (didn't notice the eggs until the last time)! It sounds like a very nourishing, filling meal Kelly, and full of tastiness. I bet the parmesan is a lovely touch! I'm curious as to why you used yellow *and* green courgette. I've never had a yellow one I don't think, so I'm not sure if they taste different. I've always viewed them as I view "white" aubergines.... pretty much the same thing but twice as expensive in the stores! Obviously they have the benefit of the lovely colour - was wondering if they taste varies though?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Emilie@TheCleverCarrotJuly 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Love this! I always had cooked quinoa on hand so this will be very accessible for me to make. I never know what to do with dill either so thank you for including it your recipe! And I have to agree with your sons- I'm a huge fan of buffalo sauce too! xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Picked two zukes from your garden you mean? How great!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah, I was surprised it set too given how much liquid was in the pan when I popped it in the oven (I wasn't expecting it to be quite so juicy ;0) and was a bit concerned but it ended up setting well.


    In terms of taste similarity of the zucchini, not much distinction I don't think but the same could be said for many vegetables including the whole spectrum of colorful bell peppers. Phytochemicals are responsible for the beautiful colors in fruit/vegetables so in addition to the visual appeal you are also availing yourself of a broader range of nutrients/antioxidants when you select different colors.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find myself purchasing hot wing sauce rather frequently come to think of it :). Cheers Emilie, thanks for popping by!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ah, yes, I didn't think of it that way, but sadly the "fancy", non-standard zucchinis are at least 2x as expensive here, while peppers are a dime a dozen (not literally) whatever the colour.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great lunch meal. I really need to get better about making time to make lunch. I love the flavors and veggies in this one. And carrots with malt...huh. Never thought of that. I will have to try it for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my gosh, I love that pic of Stella on the chair by the lake. So summery and peaceful :) This recipe is such a good idea to take to work! Now if I can just get my act together to make it this weekend...

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderful recipe. You're so right, there's so many flavor options a person could do here, making it fun and new using essentially the same recipe over and over. Love how packable this is!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sissi_Withaglass.comJuly 11, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Kelly, this looks so good and creative! I would never think of using quinoa as a cake "filler". So clever! The mushrooms and courgette combination sounds absolutely delicious and the colour is stunning. I wouldn't need anything else on a picnic.
    I love the photo! Is it your dog having a sun tan????

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's why they pay me the big bucks Charles :). That's so interesting about the zukes, it's the opposite here. Bell peppers are always the most expensive vegetable in my basket and zucchinis, now in season, are dirt cheap no matter their stripe!

    ReplyDelete
  18. mjskit @mjskitchen.comJuly 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    This is a fabulous dish! You've got everything in this - your proteins and your vegetables. Never would have thought to have added the quinoa, but I bet it gives this a nice hearty texture. Obviously the kind of meal that requires a short dog nap afterwards. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. mhmm! Kelly I think so I d enjoy this too in the rainy season here in Asia. We rarely get zucchini so I d go for luffa instead. Can't wait to try your recipe! =)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your feedback - it's wonderful to hear from you!