Cheezy Pumpkin and Spinach Quinoa
This recipe I found,compliments of foodreal.com. As usual, I took the original recipe and tweaked it according to my tastes and healthy lifestyle. I added protein to make this a complete meal. I soak the quinoa overnight, or for at least 4 hours before cooking (I use my handy dandy rice cooker, thanks to my mother-in-law who gifted this to me a few years ago) Soaking allows the seeds to sprout and increase digestion. Sprouting enhances protein and vitamins and minerals by 50 % or more. Now, mind you, quinoa is a seed, from the spinach family, that is actually a complete protein. So, technically, you don’t need to add the spinach or beans, which I put as optional. But if you have a family member that declares that it is not a meal without more protein, then there you go. Also, notice, that even though the name of this recipe says “Cheesy”, there is not a trace of dairy or cheese in this dish. It is the nutritional yeast that gives this recipe that cheesy flavor and a hearty boost of Vitamin B12, which is a difficult vitamin to get from foods, if you are a vegetarian. You could substitute Parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast, if desired.
- 1 cup quinoa soaked 4 hours, rinse and let sprout
- 1 onion diced
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
- 3 cups chicken (or vegetable stock)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper ground
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (not brewer’s yeast)
- 1 cup baby spinach chopped
- 1 15.5 oz white beans, drained or 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (optional)
- Drain and cook quinoa according to package instructions.
- In the meanwhile, in heated olive or coconut oil, saute onion and garlic till translucent. Add pumpkin puree, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove from heat. Stir in nutritional yeast; add quinoa and spinach. Stir gently to combine. Adjust thickness with extra stock. Add chicken or beans, if using. Heat thoroughly, adding liquid as needed.
- Serve hot.
Refrigerate leftovers in covered container for up to 3 or 4 days.