Quinoa Tuna Bake

I am a massive fan of pasta bake. Creamy, cheesy pasta bake. Having IBS and being mildly lactose intolerant doesn’t mean one of my favourite dishes is ruined. As this was intended for work lunches, I wanted it to be lighter and healthier than the original pasta bake.

So… I switched out the pasta for quinoa. This was definitely an experiment. I have cooked with quinoa numerous times and have a good feel about what flavours work best with it. And since tinned tuna has basically become a staple part of my diet, I have incorporated tuna into the dish as well (over the usual BBQ chicken and bacon). I also figured if I was trying to “healthify” my favourite dish to this extent, I should add broccoli as well.

Now to the sauce. I went for more of a buerre blanc style sauce instead a bechamel style sauce which is what the pasta bake I have at home normally consists of. Definitely losing health points here but hey, the flavour needs to come from somewhere.

In conclusion, I only post food that I believe is worth trying out for yourself so if i wasn’t happy with this, I would not have shared. Be brave and see how you go.

Quinoa Tuna Bake (serves 6, or 6 work lunches for 1)

What you’re going to need

1 cup quinoa, cooked to packet instructions

1/2 broccoli, roughly chopped in small pieces

2 tins 75g tuna (I used Greenseas Tuna in Oil but you can use the Springwater one as well)

cheddar cheese, for grating on top

Sauce

1/3 cup white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc for cooking but up to you)

150ml cream (I use lactose free)

1-2 tablespoon butter (to taste)

sprinkle nutmeg

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. In a saucepan on a medium heat, add the wine and cook out the alcohol. Add the cream and butter and stir until well combined. Add the nutmeg and any seasoning.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa, broccoli and tuna to the sauce or vice versa (you will need a big saucepan for this) and mix until all the added ingredients are coated in the sauce.
  4. *** Add mixture into a large baking dish and distribute evenly. Top with grated cheddar  (i’ll leave you to decide how much cheese you want to add).
  5. Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and darkened slightly. Serve warm.

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*** If you don’t want cheese on top, then you can skip the oven steps. Another option for extra flavour is a homemade chunky breadcrumb to give the dish more texture.

 

Saucy Quinoa with Mushroom and Avocado

Bit of a long winded name but when there are so many good components I wanted to mention them all! I wanted something filling and healthy for lunch today. I also wanted something relatively straightforward and with ingredients in my immediate vicinity.

If you ever get the opportunity, you should definitely try your next tomato sauce based dish with oven roasted tomatoes! If you cook them enough and get a nice char on the top, they just give the dish this phenomenal flavour. If you don’t have home grown tomatoes, that’s okay just grab some Roma ones, they roast up real nice.

The avocado for this dish was a great addition. It provides a smooth, creamy texture without the heavy feeling you get with cream. It’s also a great way to get more vegetables on your plate.

This dish is dairy free, gluten free and entirely plant based.

Saucy Quinoa with Mushroom and Avocado (serves 2 or 1 very hungry person)

What you’re going to need

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to packet instructions

7 roma tomatoes, halved

2 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced vertically

1 tablespoon Nuttelex dairy free spread

2 teaspoons pinenuts

small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Move shelf to the highest in your oven.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, salt and pepper and just enough olive oil to coat all the tomatoes. Place spread out on a baking tray with a wire rack. Bake until roasted to your liking.
  3. Whilst the tomatoes are roasting, cook your quinoa. Once cooked set aside.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, blend them a little bit so as to maintain a slight chunky texture. Set aside.
  5. In a fry pan, melt the Nuttelex and cook the mushrooms until soft. Town down to the lowest heat and add the tomato sauce. Mix through then add the quinoa and mix through until completely coated.
  6. Serve straight away topped with pine nuts, basil and avocado. Yum!

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Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

So one of the first times I had stuffed mushrooms was at one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. They were delicious but not something that you could eat on a regular basis. These ones I’ve whipped up are healthy enough that you can eat a heap in one sitting and not feel a) sick b) guilty and c) not pay the absurd price that I payed for the restaurant ones… A friend of mine gave me the idea of quinoa stuffed mushrooms! I had a play around with things I had in both my garden and the pantry to get some good flavour combinations going! Here’s what I came up with

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

What you’re going to need 

6 cup mushrooms (the medium sized ones)

1/4 cup quinoa, cooked as per packet instructions

25 grams feta cheese (adjust this as much as you like!)***

2 teaspoons pine nuts

small handful basil, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. Get quinoa cooking so you can do all your other prep at the same time.
  3. Peel and remove stalk from mushrooms.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the pine nuts, basil and feta. Once quinoa is cooked, mix through with the other ingredients. Season if required.
  5. On a lined baking tray, place the mushrooms evenly spaced apart. Spoon some of the quinoa mixture into the centre of each mushroom (they can be overfilled)
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are baked to your liking.
  7. Serve and eat straight away!

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*** Feel free to omit the cheese for a dairy free and vegan friendly option. However, to alleviate the mixture being dry, I would suggest mixing through some olive oil for both moisture and another element of flavour!