One of the conversations we had with David’s cousins during our trip to NYC was about our diets. We discussed David’s adversity to eating fruits and his love of chips and pop. They wisely advised that we eat more natural and less processed foods.
We also told them about our plans to do a cleanse. But after hearing about some of their experiences with cleanses and seeing as how much we love our food, they suggested we start with incorporating one vegetarian day a week. This definitely seemed more feasible and less extreme.
Upon our return, David enthusiastically went grocery shopping and came back with bananas, oranges, mangos, cherries and grapes. I am happy to report that his fruit consumption has doubled…from once to twice a week. ;) At least it’s a step in the right direction. As for the chips, we still have some in the house, but hopefully won’t be purchasing more once those are done.
For our first vegetarian meal, I went to my trusty vegetarian friend for a recipe. She recommended these quinoa “meat” balls. I’ve heard a lot about quinoa’s health benefits (high in balanced protein, fibre and vitamins and gluten-free), but have never eaten or cooked with it. Boy have I been missing out! These quinoa balls were delicious and satisfying. It may have been a placebo effect, but I actually felt like I was eating real meatballs. I’m liking this whole vegetarian concept…
What’s your favourite vegetarian recipe?
makes about 12-13 balls
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water (or chicken stock)
- 6 crimini mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 of 1 pound bag of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 2 egg - one for egg wash
- 4 tbsp pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh or dry oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flasks
- salt (1/2 tsp) and pepper (20 grindings) to taste
- a drizzle of olive oil
- Cook quinoa according to package using either water or chicken stock and set aside to cool a bit.
- Fry up the peppers, onions and mushroom in a little bit of olive oil until the peppers and onions have softened and the mushrooms have browned and set aside.
- In the same pan, wilt the spinach until it just softens.
- In a large bowl, combine the fried mushrooms, wilted spinach, pepper and onions.
- Add the oregano, rosemary and red pepper flasks.
- Salt (I used 1/2 tsp, but it could have used a bit more) and pepper to taste.
- Add the pine nuts and combine mixture.
- Add the cooled quinoa and mix in one of the eggs.
- Shape the mixture into even-sized balls (I used an ice-cream scoop or you can flatten them into patties for faster cooking) and place on a greased (with olive oil) and foil lined baking sheet.
- Make an egg wash by mixing together the remaining egg and a splash (1 tsp) of water.
- Using a brush, paint the meatballs with the egg wash.
- Bake at 400°F until they are cooked through, browned and slightly crispy (~25 min, shorter if balls are smaller).