Guest Post — Alyssa of Everyday Maven {And Quinoa Spanakopita}

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Today I am excited to share a guest post by another fabulous blogger, Alyssa from Everyday Maven!  She is a master at creating beautiful healthy meals that leave you nourished and satisfied.  I always leave her blog hungry for something healthy.  Thank you so much for your lovely post, Alyssa!

Hi Everyone!  My name is Alyssa and I am the Everyday Maven.  My blog is about cooking delicious, interesting, and clean food while losing weight and staying slim.  Essentially, Whole Foods meets Weight Watchers! 

Everyday Maven came about when I began a weight loss journey to lose some stubborn baby weight.  I joined Weight Watchers but didn’t find a lot of exciting recipes that featured natural ingredients.  Or real, delicious food as I like to call it.  I began creating my own dishes and never felt like I was on a diet.  I am not willing to eat steamed vegetables and grilled chicken over and over again to lose weight.  I want crispy appetizers, crunchy snacks, decadent desserts and everything in between – all while losing weight and staying slim! 

As soon as I knew that I would be guest posting on An Edible Mosaic, I immediately thought of sharing my Quinoa Spanakopita recipe with you.  Faith and I tend to like a lot of the same flavors and I knew this would be something she would make! 

A couple of months ago, I had the most incredible plate of spanakopita at a restaurant.  It was so wonderful, so creamy and so ridiculously high in calories and fat (or Points Plus if you are doing Weight Watchers) that I was wishing I was wearing sweat pants instead of skinny jeans after eating it.  

But seriously I couldn’t stop thinking about it for what seemed like weeks.  I was contemplating making a batch and trying to use the minimum amount of butter for the Phyllo dough but that just doesn’t sound good to me.  Even though I am all about cooking healthy food, I don’t like to cut corners where it matters most with my recipes.  And when it comes to real Spanakopita, Phyllo and butter are best friends.  Best Friends Forever. 

So I sat with it for a couple of days and it hit me – a Quinoa Spanakopita.  A dish infused with all the traditional flavors found in Spanakopita with an added bonus of protein from the quinoa and without all the added fat from the butter. 

An everyday dish that is quick and easy to prepare and loaded with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts, and finished with freshly ground nutmeg.  A dish that is still wonderful and creamy but only 7 Points Plus per serving!  

Thanks again for having me, Faith! 

Alyssa – Everyday Maven

…everyday recipes made healthy and simple. 

Quinoa Spanakopita 

By Alyssa Brantley, Everyday Maven          

Prep Time:  10 Mins; Cook Time:  30 Mins; Serves:  6

7 Points Plus Per Serving — Recipe Makes 6 Servings — Individual Serving is 1 Heaping Cup 

INGREDIENTS: 

QUINOA:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cups broth or water 

SPINACH MIXTURE:

1/3 cup organic pine nuts, toasted

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large yellow onion, chopped

6 ounces organic baby spinach

1/2 small organic lemon

1/2 + 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more for serving

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

QUINOA:

Quinoa Ingredients

Heat medium saucepan over medium-high heat; once hot, add the oil.  Add the quinoa and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the garlic and spices, and cook 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly. 

Slowly add the broth or water and bring to a boil; cover, lower to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let covered pot sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool. 

SPINACH MIXTURE:

Spinach Mixture Ingredients

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; once hot, add the oil.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook 5 minutes more. 

Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon water; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes until the spinach is completely wilted.  Remove the spinach and onion mixture from pan and let cool.  (This is so that it doesn’t melt the Feta.) 

Toast the pine nuts by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the pine nuts in one even layer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning and tossing frequently.

 Toasting the Pine Nuts

Finally, toss the quinoa with the chopped dill, parsley, lemon juice, pine nuts, Feta cheese, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, ground nutmeg and spinach-onion mixture. 

Serve and Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi :) This is my first time visiting your blog, and I just love what you have going on here… I’ve already seen some dishes that I’ve bookmarked – like your Lasagna soup! :) Love this dish – and I think that it’s awesome when something this tasty-sounding is also good for you!

    I am so glad I stopped by & I will be back for more!

  2. says

    Spanakopita has always been one of my favorites, and it\’s nice to see a more whole foods version! This would definitely fill me up better than the million slices of the pie I have to eat to feel full. Phyllo dough is tough to work with anyways!

  3. says

    Hi, Faith – I have now subscribed to you – I love your corner of the internet!! And Alyssa, I have never heard of spanakopita, and I’m from Ann Arbor (a culinary hotspot of the world, seriously). I’m feeling kinda self conscious about that but I can change it b/c I have Evernoted this recipe. I’m so intrigued now! Thank you, ladies.

  4. Juanita says

    This sounds delicious. I prefer red quinoa to the regular variety. Do you think it would work in this recipe?

  5. says

    I love quinoa and am always on a lookout for something new to cook with the grain..this is a wonderful recipe! Lovely guest and beautiful guest post, Faith.

  6. says

    Great post and recipe :) I honestly never knew there were so many blogs that focused on healthy food and that it was possible to eat such healthy and delicious food before reading your blog Faith :) Thanks for always sharing your recipes with us!
    Now i just need to stop being a pig and actually make them :D WOO HOO!

  7. Leah says

    This recipe looks delicious! I always rinse my quinoa before using it to get rid of the bitter flavor. Since you toast the quinoa for this recipe, would you just do this step a day ahead and let it completely dry out first? Thanks!

    • says

      Leah, That is a great question! I do the same thing as you — always rinse my quinoa before using it. When I make any kind of rice or bulgur wheat I always rinse and soak it first and then toast it in olive oil or butter right away (I drain the water, but don’t really let the rice/bulgur dry out), so it may work to do the same with quinoa. If not, maybe just skip the toasting step? (I’d hate to do that though, since I’m sure it adds a ton of flavor.) Hopefully Alyssa will check back and we can see what she thinks!

    • says

      Hi Leah,
      I always rinse my quinoa as well and still toast it much like Faith does with rice and bulgur. I don’t suggest skipping the rinsing for the reasons you mentioned. P.S. If you shop at Costco, they have a 5lb bag of Organic Quinoa that is pre-rinsed for about $12! Thanks and Enjoy – Alyssa

  8. Stephanie says

    This was wonderful! I made it for a dinner party last night, and it was a huge hit. I will definitely be making this again. I loved it!

  9. Michelle Tibbs says

    This was wonderful. I added a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar as well as a big handful of raisins. I can’t wait to make it again with fresh dill.

  10. Jennifer says

    This was delicious and I plan to make it often!
    Faith, THANK YOU for sharing all these wonderful recipes! I just pre-ordered your book and can’t wait to receive it in November! I’m Palestinian and a lot of these recipes are familiar to me, so I’m excited to start cooking :)

  11. Sara says

    Since we cool the quinoa and spinach before combining–do you serve this at room temperature? What about reheating as that would also melt the feta? Thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Sara, You don’t need to fully cool either component – you just don’t want either steaming hot or the feta will immediately begin to melt.

      I like to serve this warm or even room temp but if you plan to reheat, just hold back the feta and add at the last minute.

      Hope that helps!

  12. molly says

    help! I was really excited to make this tonight and just got back from the store… but I forgot the pine nuts and can’t go back. should i wait until I can pick some up, or will the spinach mixture be ok without them? any substitutes? ack :(

    • says

      Hi Molly,

      I think you really need pine nuts for the true “spanakopita taste”. They also add a lot of needed texture.

      You could substitute toasted sunflower seeds in a pinch but please know that the end result will be quite different.

      Thanks,
      Alyssa

  13. Molly says

    thank you Alyssa! I will just have to go back later this week for pine nuts then. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!

  14. Joanne says

    Excellent! Can this be frozen without the pine nuts and feta? I would add them when I thaw before serving.

    • says

      Susan, The reason quinoa should be rinsed before cooking is because it is naturally coated with a bitter-tasting substance called saponin. Most commercially produced quinoa has been pre-rinsed prior to packaging, but most people still like to rinse quinoa at home before cooking to remove any residual saponin. I’m very sensitive to the flavor, and I’ve personally noticed that when I don’t rinse my quinoa before cooking, I do detect bitterness in the final dish. If possible, I would try to get a fine mesh strainer so you can rinse your quinoa. Hope this helps!

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