spinach quinoa cakes with lemon dill sauce

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This is the pinnacle of healthy indulgence. The crown jewel of Things That Taste Sinful But Aren’t. Step aside, FroYo, and surrender your throne. You were only ever a vehicle for cheesecake bites and Reese’s peanut butter cups anyways.

Everybody is all about quinoa lately, and if you aren’t, you need to be. Not only is it delicious and versatile, it’s a complete protein! It contains all nine amino acids that the human diet requires. Once upon a sophomore year, I would have been able to recite AND draw out all of those chemical structures. Now I just munch on them.

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I happened to have Rainbow Quinoa on hand (hence the pretty colors), but any type will work. Before you cook quinoa, you want to be sure to give it a good rinse, otherwise the end product might have a strange, bitter taste. The general formula for cooking quinoa involves a 2 : 1 ratio of liquid : quinoa, and typically takes about 15-20 minutes. Cooking it in chicken stock (or any other kind of stock) is nice because of the added flavor boost, so what I typically do is use water and add half a bouillon cube to the pot.

Bouillon is not spelled at all how I expected.

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Another important lesson I’ve learned is that you should always chop way too much baby spinach, because when you wilt it down, it will all disappear and you’ll be sad about it. Just wildly overestimate how much you’ll need, because too much spinach is never a bad thing. Also, I used both white onions and green onions for these cakes, but you can use whatever kind you like.

I served these with a really quick and equally healthy sauce made from greek yogurt, lemon juice, and dill. So fresh and so good. (Good.)

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I lightly pan-fried these, but next time I’m going to try making them even healthier by baking them. Then I’m going to make them way less healthy by putting them in a burger bun and putting some avocado on top. Or in a pita pocket with tzatziki and onions and tomatoes. The possibilities are endless.

Recipe for Spinach Quinoa Cakes (adapted from Panini Happy)

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced/grated
  • 7 oz. chopped baby spinach
  • 1/4 white onion, diced (you can use more or less, if you prefer)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp. dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted and onions are soft. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

To the mixture, add quinoa, dill, salt, bread crumbs, eggs, and goat cheese crumbles. Gently combine all ingredients.

Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet (it may be necessary to rinse the skillet from the previous use), and heat oil at medium heat. Once oil is hot, drop the quinoa mixture in and flatten to form cakes of desired size and thickness.

Allow cakes to cook on one side for 1-2 min before flipping. Once cakes are golden-brown on both sides, remove from pan. Serve cakes hot, with lemon dill dipping sauce.

 

Recipe for Lemon Dill dipping sauce

  • 1 cup Chobani (or any brand) non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. dill
  • 1 tsp. chives
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.

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new digs and resolutions

My list of recent achievements:

  • I finished grad school and I am now a Master of Disaster Science Education
  • I got a job. Somebody actually wants to pay me a teeeeeeeny tiny amount of money to teach kids about science!
  • I found an apartment in New York City. This was by far the most challenging task on this list. It was hellish. I think that I saw every.single.apartment. on this island. But I found one and I LOVE IT.
  • I went to Ikea and bought furniture, because I did not previously own any.
  • I assembled said furniture all by myself (with the exception of the couch, which a friend was nice enough to do for me).
  • I only almost impaled myself with a screwdriver twice during the whole assembly process, and I only managed to sustain 11 bruises. This is particularly impressive, because, not unlike Ross, I bruise like a peach.
  • I spent two and a half hours making labels for my spice jars (pictures to follow). And then I alphabetized them. (kindly hold your applause till the end, Mother)
  • I did 90 minutes of hot yoga and survived to tell the tale.

Having done all of that, I feel as though I’m teetering dangerously on the verge of Growing Up, and one good Swiffering session is all it will take to push me over to the other side.

(I previously viewed the Swiffer as a means to push my possessions around on the floor. I now PICK THINGS UP before I Swiff.)

Surely someone who has matured to the point of no longer viewing the floor as an extra shelf can manage the added responsibility of, say, blogging more often? I think so. That is why I am resolving to blog once a week, instead of the pretty solid once-every-six-months pattern I’ve adopted. I now have my own kitchen (small, but allllll mine), and I have cookbooks, and the World Wide Interweb. I am going to come at you once a week with something delicious. It may not be fancy. It may be something as simple as grilled cheese with caramelized onions (a complete revelation, go try it). But it will be shared right here every single week. And if I can keep this up for the entire school year, next summer I will treat myself to a fancy new camera lens. And a damn cupcake.

See you soon!

Now look upon these adorable spice labels.

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These little magnetic jars are great, they stick right on the fridge, leaving you with more countertop and cabinet space for your two types of peanut butter and myriad of different hot sauces. I got them from my parents’ basement, a veritable treasure trove of housewares, but I’m pretty sure you can get them at Bed, Bath and Beyond too.

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Yes, one of the jars is missing a label. It’s driving me crazy. I have to go.