Meatless Monday – Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan & Quinoa

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My Mom used to steam whole artichokes and serve them with bowls of melted butter or mayo as a special treat. I have fond memories of sitting around the table with my brothers and sisters, peeling off leaf after leaf and watching the piles of toothmarked leaves growing ever larger.  That is certainly the easiest way to prepare artichokes and sometimes simple is best, however, I was looking for a recipe that would feature an artichoke as a main course, rather than an appetizer or side dish.  Most of the stuffed artichoke recipes I found call for some variation of garlic, olive oil, parmesan and breadcrumbs, which I’m sure is delicious, but I wanted something healthier and heartier.  So I swapped out the breadcrumbs for red quinoa which is more nutrient dense, added fresh herbs and several cheeses. I used an Italian blend of parmesan, romano, mozzarella and provolone. The cheesy crust and savory quinoa are delicious and satisfying but the true gem is the artichoke heart.  I was tempted to revert back to my childhood and ate the larger leaves and heart with a homemade aioli; Just Mayo with a little lemon juice, minced garlic and a dash of salt.  Yum!

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Artichokes are a delicious way to get nutrients that research shows we typically lack in our diets — fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium.  They are a little bit of work to prepare for stuffing, as the fuzzy choke needs to be removed, but it is totally worth the effort.  I like to soak the cut artichokes in lemon water while I work to prevent them from turning brown.  The extra water keeps them from drying out in the oven too.  Cutting the sharp tips off of the leaves is an optional step.  It only takes a minute with kitchen shears but if you are in a rush, don’t bother.  Chefs do it because it looks pretty and prevents people from piercing their fingers on the spiny tips but is not really necessary.

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I like to use red quinoa because I love the gorgeous color and it ‘feel’s meatier than the white, although that may be an optical illusion (or maybe I’m just easily fooled).  In fact, I use it instead of meat in my Black Bean Chili con Quinoa and Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with really great results.  If you don’t have red quinoa, you can use regular white quinoa.  Their nutritional value is the same and their flavor is very similar.  Regardless of the color, quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber but low in calories and fat.  It also fills you up so you’re not rushing back to the refrigerator right after dinner. Just sayin’.

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TIPS:  I cut the artichokes in half to stuff them but you could also stuff them whole.  Just remove the stem so they will sit flat.  Remove the center leaves and choke.  I find that a melon baller or ice cream scoop works better than a regular spoon and/or knife.  Then pack the center full of stuffing as well as between the leaves.  Bake as directed.  Larger artichokes will take longer.  You know it’s done when a knife can easily pierce the stem end and the outer leaves are easily removed.

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ROASTED ARTICHOKES STUFFED WITH GARLIC, PARMESAN AND QUINOA

This recipe calls for 2 large artichokes which serves 2-4 people as a main course depending on appetities.  You can easily double the recipe for a larger crowd.

2 large artichokes
2 Tbsn lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
3/4 cup red quinoa
3 large cloves garlic
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup parmesan (or mixed cheeses, romano, mozzarella, fontina, provolone)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs or 1 tsp dried (parsley, oregano, thyme)

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  • Using a fine mesh colander, rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Combine quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in shallots and garlic while it’s hot so they start to soften.  Set aside.

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  • Fill a large bowl with water and lemon juice. Stir well. If you are stuffing whole artichokes, cut stems from artichokes so they can sit flat.  If you are stuffing half artichokes, slice in half vertically, including the stem.

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  • Place artichokes in bowl with lemon water. Working with one artichoke at a time, scoop out the center leaves and the fuzzy choke (an carefully use a serrated knife to cut off the top third, then use scissors to clip off and discard sharp leaf points, returning each artichoke to the lemon water as you finish.

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  • When quinoa is cool, stir in cheeses, red pepper flakes and herbs.

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  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place artichokes  leaf side side down in a baking pan and brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired, and  stuff with qunoa mixture.  Don’t hesitate to pack each in a large mound.

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  • Pour about 3/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan to create steam and prevent sticking, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes.

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  • Remove foil, add remaining cheese and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.  For a golden brown top, broil the last five minutes.

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  • Serve with melted butter or aoli if desired.

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Roasted Artichoke Stuffed with Garlic, Parmesan and Quinoa

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

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2 large artichokes
2 Tbsn lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
3/4 cup red quinoa
3 large cloves garlic
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup parmesan (or mixed cheeses)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsn fresh herbs or 1 tsp dried (parsley, oregano, thyme)bsp;

  • Using a fine mesh colander, rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Combine quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in shallots and garlic while it’s hot so they start to soften.  Set aside.
  • Fill a large bowl with water and lemon juice. Stir well. If you are stuffing whole artichokes, cut stems from artichokes so they can sit flat.  If you are stuffing half artichokes, slice in half vertically, including the stem.
  • Place artichokes in bowl with lemon water. Working with one artichoke at a time, scoop out the center leaves and the fuzzy choke (an carefully use a serrated knife to cut off the top third, then use scissors to clip off and discard sharp leaf points, returning each artichoke to the lemon water as you finish.
  • When quinoa is cool, stir in cheeses, red pepper flakes and herbs.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place artichokes  leaf side side down in a baking pan and brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.  stuff with qunoa mixture.  Don’t hesitate to pack each in a large mound.
  • Pour about 3/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan to create steam and pre ent sticking, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove foil, add remaining cheese and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.  For a golden brown top, broil the last five minutes.
  • Serve with melted butter or aoli.

Meatless Monday – Black Bean Chili Con Quinoa

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Can we talk about the Superbowl?  Or rather I would just like to watch Katy Perry’s Halftime Show again!  She and her guests, Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz, were fantastic, so fun to watch, even the dancing chessmen and sharks! For those of you who missed the show here is a chance to watch it again – Katy Perry Superbowl Halftime Show.  If you thought the Superbowl was about football, guess again.  For many of us it’s really about the commercials, halftime show and FOOD! So what did I serve for this great American event?  I went with a tried and true crowd favorite, Chili with all the fixin’s.  Yum!

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Chili without meat is kind of like thick soup, or so I thought…until I tried using red quinoa instead of ground beef.  I know it sounds crazy but the quinoa adds a similar texture to chili con carne, unintentionally fooling some of my Superbowl guests. I wasn’t actually trying to pull a fast one on anyone. I thought everyone knew by now that I no longer cook with meat.  When I asked my husband how he liked the meatless chili, he said “There is no meat in there?”  I declared it a personal victory.  There are quinoa chili recipes all over the internet and I was tempted to try one, but in the end I decided to use the chili recipe in my head that I have been using for years and just substitute cooked red quinoa for the more traditional ground beef. Red quinoa makes a good meat substitute, in that it provides a good texture and adds lots of great usable protein (similar to beef), vitamins and minerals so it’s not just adding bulk. In addition, the dark reddish brown color blends in better with the chili beans.  I sauteed the cooked quinoa along with the onions and garlic before adding the crushed tomatoes, broth and spices, and then finally the beans. Sauteing the quinoa infuses it with some of the savory flavors of garlic and onion and the olive oil gives it a ‘fattier’ feel.  I was surprised at how well this technique worked!

I like to make a ‘Chili Bar’ and stack big and small bowls next to the pot of chili and a row of pre-chopped toppings laid out for easy serving.

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TIP:  I enjoy soup or chili with lots of saucy juice, but this chili also makes a good taco filling.  Just add less of the crushed tomato and let the water or broth evaporate until it’s the right consistency.   I used canned beans but, of course, you can use dried beans and let them soak overnight.  Then you will need to add them along with the tomatoes and broth and be prepared to cook them for at least an hour.

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BLACK BEAN CHILI CON QUINOA

1 cup red quinoa
2 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with juice
4 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and  pepper, to taste
3 (16 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

SUGGESTED TOPPINGS:  shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, olives, jalapenos and shredded lettuce with corn tortillas.

  •  Rinse and cook quinoa according to directions and set aside.

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  • Saute onions in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and quinoa and saute a few more minutes.

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  • Stir in broth, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover saucepan and simmer about 20 minutes

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  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more broth or water if necessary.

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  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, olives, jalapenos and shredded lettuce with corn tortillas. (suggested toppings optional)

Black Bean Chili Con Quinoa

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup red quino
2 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with juice
4 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
SUGGESTED TOPPINGS:  shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, olives, jalapenos and shredded lettuce with corn tortillas.

TIP:  This chili also makes a good taco filling.  Add less crushed tomato and let the water or broth evaporate until it’s the right consistency.

  • Cook quinoa according to directions and set aside.
  • Saute onions in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until transluscent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in garlic and quinoa and saute a few more minutes.
  • Stir in broth, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover saucepan and simmer about 20 minutes
  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more broth or water if necessary.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, olives, jalapenos and shredded lettuce with corn tortillas. (suggested toppings optional)