Friday, November 15, 2013

Baked Quinoa Squares

Did you ever do something and as soon as you did it, you instantly knew that it was wrong?  Like when you go to the supermarket, spend an hour selecting a heaping basket full of groceries and carefully place them on the conveyer belt to be scanned only to look into your purse and suddenly realize that you don't have your wallet?  (Seriously, you don't really think that I would be that absent minded to pull a stunt like that?  haha)  OK, it was totally me.   I had to hang my head, walk out of the store leaving my groceries behind, drive home, get my wallet, drive back to the store, walk in and face the teenager who I'm pretty sure mocked me for the 40 minutes that I was gone, and then drive home again - this time with groceries in the car.  (So humiliating.)

Fortunately, my mistake was easily correctable.  It cost me an extra 40 minutes out of a busy day but no real harm done.  Sometimes, I'm not so lucky when it comes to cooking mistakes.  There are times when I just can't undo what I did wrong and I have to figure out another way to fix the problem. 

When I make cooking mistakes sometimes I don't even realize that I messed up and there are other times when I know immediately that I did something wrong.  I made a big mistake when I made this quinoa bake and I'm chalking it up to my lack of experience in working with tofu.  This time, I knew right away that I hadn't prepared my tofu correctly but there was no turning back.

Quite simply, I crumbled the tofu into the mixture because for some strange reason, I thought it would melt.  I realized instantly that I should have blended my tofu first into a smooth consistency before adding it to my mixture.  (It would have been extremely helpful if my brain had processed that information about 1 minute earlier.)  Oh well, there was nothing I could do to correct my mistake so I decided to just go for it.  The results, slightly crumbly quinoa bake.  Oh well, next time I'll blend it first. 

Quinoa Bake


Olive-oil cooking spray
Breadcrumbs, for baking dish
12.3 ounce box silken tofu
1 pound spinach leaves, picked and washed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked quinoa), made according to package directions
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with olive-oil spray. Coat with breadcrumbs; set aside.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add spinach; blanch until bright green, about 10 seconds. Transfer to ice bath. When spinach is cold, remove from ice bath, squeeze out all water, and finely chop; set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes, and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. 

Add spinach, quinoa, pepper, and tofu to the onion mixture, and stir until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and place in the oven. 
Bake until set and edges are brown, 60 to 70 minutes. Slice, and serve warm or at room temperature. 

This is a really nice little side dish for any vegetarians or vegans who might be joining you for Thanksgiving dinner.  (Just a suggestions.)   I liked the quinoa bake a lot so and I reheated the leftovers for lunch for several days after I made it.


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