Kitchen Mailbox: Fear not quinoa; try it in these cakes

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OK, the holidays are over, it's time to start eating healthy again. And you don't have to sacrifice taste to follow a healthy low-fat diet.

Here's a recipe to get you on the healthy eating track. Quinoa Vegetable Cakes are loaded with healthy ingredients, beginning with quinoa. Quinoa is a complete grain, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. And it's higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. Besides quinoa, the cakes are made with other healthy ingredients such as spinach, carrots and whole wheat flour. A sauce made with yogurt, lemon and fresh dill not only adds to the flavor of these tasty cakes, but also adds an extra boost of good-for-you foods.

QUINOA VEGETABLE CAKES

1 cup quinoa

2 cloves garlic, minced

10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 cup finely shredded carrots

1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Yogurt Sauce

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let dry completely.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (preferably olive oil).

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, garlic, spinach, carrots, green onions, flour, Italian seasoning, baking powder, salt, pepper and egg.

Scoop 8 equal mounds (about ½ cup each) of quinoa mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten to ½-inch thickness with a spatula. Place on prepared pan.

Bake 15 minutes. Turn cakes over and bake 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and hot in the center.

To make yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together dill, yogurt and lemon juice. Serve the cakes with sauce drizzled on top or served alongside.

Makes 4 servings (208 calories and 3 grams of fat each).

-- "5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking" by Camilla V. Saulsbury (Robert Rose, 2012, $24.95)


If you have a healthy low-fat recipe you would like to share with our readers sent it to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222 or aburnett@post-gazette.com.

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