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Mediterranean Quinoa & Spinach Casserole

I was so excited when my physician suggest that I start following a more mediterranean style diet. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I heard the good news! Doesn't this mean unlimited amounts of red wine paired with a crusty baguette dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar? I am afraid that is not exactly what the doctor ordered. But the good news is that I can still enjoy a glass or two of my favorite cabernet but paired with plant based foods (fresh vegetables & fruits) whole grains, legumes, nuts, lean sources of protein (chicken & fish) replacing butter with olive oil, fresh herbs and good quality salt such as himalayan.  

 

The recipe I am sharing with you is the first recipe I came across online that made my mouth water. Being a girl from Minnesota my first choice will always be the quintessential comfort food also known as "the casserole." Ahh, yes....the casserole. Being a native Minnesotan, I grew up eating tater tot hot-dish which primarily consists of ground beef topped with, you guessed it....tater tots. Not to dis the tater tot, I've been known to indulge from time to time, but not exactly a good source of nutrition. 

 

I chose this recipe that includes quinoa and lentils because both are chock full of lean protein, dietary fiber, folate, and iron. Served with a delicous glass of wine and a green salad, I hope you find this dish as satisfying as I did. Enjoy! 

 

Ingredients: 

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)

1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils (1/2 cup dry)

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

10 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 eggs

1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (optional)

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese 

1/2 cup fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)

1/2 teaspoon salt

 black pepper

 

Directions:

Prepare in advance the quinoa and lentils according to package directions. This will save a bunch of time. 
 
Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9 x 13” casserole dish. 
 
In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil until hot  Add garlic and onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until onions are soft. Add the spinach and stir together then cover with a lid. Stirring occasionally, cook spinach & onion mixture for about 5 minutes until spinach is wilted. Once wilted move spinach mixture to a strainer to drain excess liquid then place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. 
 

In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, lentils, spinach mixture and tomatoes.

 

In a separate large bowl, combine the yogurt (optional) eggs, feta, dill, and salt & pepper and stir together. Next add the quinoa mixture to the bowl with the eggs and feta and carefully stir until everything is evenly coated.

 

Transfer to casserole dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until light golden brown. Allow casserole to rest for 10 minutes. Delicious! 

 

 

Recipe courtesy of Sarah at Making Thyme For Health   http://makingthymeforhealth.com

 

 

 

 

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