Modifying Original Recipes to Fit Your Needs!

A blog about healthy eating, healthy living and happiness. Join me and I'll show you how easy it is to substitute, modify and enhance your favorite recipes to accommodate your special diet, all without missing a thing!

August 11, 2011

BLT Quinoa Pasta + a Quinoa Sidenote

Quinoa is... an acquired taste. The first time I had it I wasn't exactly thrilled, but through trial and error I've come to love it and have learned what forms of it are best and the best ways it can be put to use :)

Exhibit #1: Quinoa Flakes
They are okay as a hot breakfast cereal as long as you add the right amount of sweetener, fruit and whatever milk you can tolerate. They are also GREAT to use in baking recipes, they can (for the most part) be substituted for oats if (like me) oats are not part of your diet. I really fell in love with quinoa flakes when I made Karina's Quinoa Breakfast Brownies from Gluten Free Goddess. Make them!! I promise you won't regret it :)

Exhibit #2: Quinoa, the grain
Unless you plan to use it for something sweet I've found that the best way to cook quinoa is with a broth rather than water. Quinoa is cooked similar to rice, a 1:2 ratio. I have only used chicken broth but I'm sure vegetable would be great too. If you're still a little hesitant about quinoa, check out my Summer Quinoa Salad and I'm sure you'll change your mind.

Exhibit #3: Quinoa Pasta
Simply delicious in any form... hot pasta, pasta salad, leftovers - you name it! Which brings me to the BLT Quinoa Salad...

The boys in my house were going to have one of those boxed mac 'n' cheese dinners but this one is from Paula Deen... Creamy Cheesy Bacon Shells... sounds pretty good right? I knew they'd want some extra bacon to throw in which made me think... well if they're having bacon so am I!!! While I was cooking the bacon I noticed the fresh garden tomatoes I had just gotten from my dad and thus... the BLT Quinoa pasta was born.

What you'll need 
Quinoa Pasta (any of your favorite type of pasta will work here)
Fresh Tomatoes
Baby Spinach
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Italian Seasoning
(*you'll notice I don't have specific measurements here, cook by taste! It turns out better and gives you more wiggle room)

Gather 3X the amount of spinach you actually want, it shrinks!

To Prepare
Cook bacon until crispy, then set aside. Cook quinoa pasta (takes 6 - 9 minutes), while cooking cut your tomatoes and gather spinach. Once pasta is cooked al dente drain and place back in warm pan but not over heat. Add about 2 tbsp olive oil to the pasta and immediately add the spinach. Stir and cover the spinach with the pasta, the heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach. Once wilted add the tomatoes and as much or as little spice as you'd like, and a little more olive oil. Serve in pasta bowls and top with crumbled bacon. This is a light, flavor-filled and nutritious meal made for a warm summer's night. Enjoy!

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