Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quinoa Veggie Loaf

A fresh, new year means it's time for resolutions!  We all aim to be healthier, right?  (Or at least try to cut down the sweets consumption, however briefly)  Well, if you're looking for a healthy, easy, affordable recipe to add to your repertoire, I've got just the thing for you - a Quinoa Veggie Loaf!  My version is vegetarian, but could easily be made vegan.  (I'm from the Midwest, so cheese is an entire food group for us)  :-)

To start, some of you may not be familiar with the amazing grain - quinoa.  Hailing from South America, and gaining popularity as a "superfood," it's a wonderful grain to add to your diet.  Low-fat, high in fiber, high in protein (unusual for a grain), gluten-free, and easy to cook - what's not to love?  There are many colors, and it has a nutty flavor and a texture that's sort of like cross between barley and couscous.  It works well in many applications such as a pilaf, veggie burger, or breakfast cereal - with many more possibilities.  If you're intimidated by the preparation of it, don't be!  This website will show you the way to make it perfectly every time!

Growing up in the Midwest, wheat and corn were the grains I knew.  (Anything else might have thought of as hippie food)  On a recent trip home I introduced quinoa to my family and had fun taking my dad down the "natural foods" aisle for the first time.  I was afraid they would be tough critics, but they loved the quinoa dish I made for them.  So if you haven't yet tried quinoa - give it a shot.  It's tasty, economical, healthy, and boyfriend-approved - jackpot!

Quinoa Veggie Loaf
(adapted from Whole Foods)
Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can  garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups cooked quinoa (How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
10 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup (about 1 onion) chopped red onion
1/4 cup cheese of choice (cheddar is a good choice, but basically something you want to see golden brown and bubbling)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 kale leaves - stems removed, chopped, and sauteed (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan with oil; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).  Add onions, and cook until soft.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add chopped kale and wilt.

Meanwhile, put beans, oats and 1/2 cup water into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. (This mixture is the "binder" in this recipe)  In a large bowl, combine bean mixture, quinoa, salt and pepper and all other ingredients except cheese. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan, gently pressing down and mounding it in the middle. Sprinkle cheese on top of loaf.  Bake until firm and golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Set aside to let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.



  1. just made this with kale and no cheese (and parsley and thyme with some cayenne pepper :-))

    I put it into 2 pans instead of one and upped the oven to 400 to decrease the cooking time - approx 35 minutes. I'm letting them cool now, I'll let you know how they are when we taste them!

  2. (oh yeah, and I subbed the chickpeas for black beans too)
    Turned out great! I should've added a tad more salt in the beginning, but otherwise most delicious!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Glad you liked it! Interesting tweaks, too. This is a staple food for me during marathon training, with all its nutritional goodness. I'm also told the slices make killer veggie burgers!

    1. oooh... great idea for the veggie burger/sandwich idea! Bobby just got home from grad school and LOVES the loaf too :-)