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Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Mediterranean quinoa breakfast bake

If you follow any health food blogs, you’ve undoubtedly seen something about quinoa. Why all the hype about this grain? For starters, 2013 was dubbed the “International Year of the Quinoa” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. And it has some amazing qualities that should make you consider adding it to your diet.

  • Quinoa’s claim to fame is that its protein content is higher than other grains. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Because this is unusual to find in a plant, quinoa is an ideal food for vegetarians and those looking to eat less meat.
  • Packed with nutrients and fiber, quinoa is also completely gluten-free and perfect for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
  • Quinoa contains a bitter coating on the outside, which is why you should always rinse it before preparing it, even for varieties that claim to be pre-rinsed. Use a fine-mesh strainer so you don’t end up washing all of your quinoa down the drain!
  • Quinoa is very versatile and very quick to cook compared to other grains, including brown rice. It takes just 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it gets slightly translucent and you see a curly “string” emerge (this is the germ portion of the seed).

Try using quinoa as a side dish instead of rice or top it off with your favorite stir fry. It’s also excellent as a grain-based salad. There are even plenty of breakfast recipes containing quinoa, including the recipe below that I recently tried. Make this ahead and store in the refrigerator for quick heat-and-eat healthy breakfasts all week.

How to Cook Quinoa

“Bon Appetit” magazine recommends the following preparation method:

Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Return the quinoa to the pan after you drain it, then cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Letting the quinoa rest in the hot saucepan after boiling/cooking dries it out, so you don’t end up with clumpy/wet quinoa.

Mediterranean Quinoa Breakfast Bake

INGREDIENTS
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ½ cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 8 eggs or combination of eggs and whites (I used 6 eggs and 2 whites)
  • 1 ¼ cups skim milk
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach (packed, roughly chopped)
  • ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. Place quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse and drain well. Dump into prepared pan and shake to distribute all over the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, oregano, and pepper until combined. Stir in olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped baby spinach. Pour over the quinoa. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and tap lightly on the counter to make sure the quinoa is on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to melt and brown cheese. This is a very versatile recipe that you can change depending on what you like. Next time I will try omitting the parmesan and stirring in some crumbled feta cheese along with the olives, tomatoes and spinach. This recipe was analyzed at 6 servings using 6 eggs and 2 egg whites.

Optional: Top with a bit of parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes before serving.

Nutritional Information
200 calories, 9 g fat, 350 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein

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The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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