Monday, June 2, 2014

southwest quinoa cakes

Since my surgery, I've discovered quinoa.  I knew about it before surgery, but now that I don't eat pasta this acts as my "pasta."  It's very versatile and has a nutty taste and chewy texture.  I'm always looking for quinoa recipes to try and I came across one in my latest Eating Well magazine.  (The subscription fairy struck again!  Every year I get new magazine subscriptions from someone in the family and never know who.  I suspect it's my in-laws, who order for school fundraisers.)

The recipe calls for making the cakes in a muffin tin (easy!) and then making a homemade salsa for the topping.  I'm not into making homemade salsa, mainly because it requires me to go to the store a couple miles away for ingredients I never have.  But looking through the recipe for the cakes I noticed that, without the salsa on the top, I'd have to find a way to make the cakes themselves more interesting; the recipe lacks seasoning.  I decided I would add the salsa (store-bought) directly into the cake mix and also add some taco seasoning.  I also would add some raw onion.

So, I made the recipe with those additions and they were great!  As soon as I took them out of the oven, it smelled like tacos in the kitchen.  The taste was good and not spicy.  Good moisture and texture, too.  Next time I might add some corn just to make it a little more interesting.

I'm thinking I will take these for lunch this week.  I don't know how they will do with reheating, but I'm pretty sure the addition of the salsa will avoid any drying out.

Here's the recipe (adapted from

Southwest Quinoa Cakes

Makes 12

1 cake contains: 221 calories; 7 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; and 12 g protein.

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
3/4 cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup medium salsa
1/2 cup raw yellow onion
1/4 cup sliced scallions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (I skipped this)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Add eggs, beans, cottage cheese, salsa, scallions, onions, taco seasoning, flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the quinoa and stir until well combined. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Top each quinoa cake with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

Bake the cakes until puffed and a little brown on top, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently loosen and remove with a paring knife.

You can top with more salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  Anything you want!

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