15 Minute Meals: Quinoa Sliders (I literally made these between 8:00 and 8:20 on Tuesday Morning)

Toddler Quinoa Burgers
Toddler Quinoa Burgers
Toddler Quinoa Burgers

No one can argue with Quinoa. It’s the pinnacle of healthy food with all it’s protein and amino acids. I’m sure you’ve heard lots about it, I won’t go into the nutritional preaching, but I will say – it’s an EASY, forgiving grain. It cooks in 15 minutes – not 45 like some of the other super-healthy grains.

I have made these slider burgers several ways, but the recipe below is the one I use when I literally have almost no time to cook. We’re talking super fast action in the morning, while Raquel does laps around the kitchen island.

What you need: 

1 cup Quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp steamed, minced carrots*
1 heaping tbsp almond butter
1 heaping tbsp hummus
Dash of vegetable salt (herbamare), Olive oil, tamari, and other spices to taste

*Or minced dried fruit like apricots or apples, or steamed peas, or whatever you have handy. They’re fine plain too.

Directions:  

1. Rinse quinoa in a metal sieve.

2. Cover with water (the 1:1 ratio means quinoa should be just covered.)

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on (on low, but still an active bubble or two). After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit in the pot, cover on, absorbing all the extra moisture.

4. Check for doneness – if too hard (it should be bouncy but not crunchy), simmer longer. Add water if it’s completely dry.

5. Add almond butter, hummous, salt, olive oil and tamari and stir until distributed.

6. Take a small handful and squish like it’s a little mud pie, so it sticks together (as pictured).

7. Lay patty in shallow, wide container to cool. Refrigerate (or eat when cool).

TIPS: If this is your first time making quinoa for your little one and you’re not sure how it will go over, just make a few patties. The rest you can eat yourself (it’s yummy), especially if it doesn’t go over well. You can also bake or fry these if you like, but that’s extra work and extra oil. These patties are crumbly, but even baked and binded with egg, they’ll still be crumbly, just harder.

SERVING TIP: Serve with the leftover soft steamed carrots or another vegetable or sliced fruit.

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Simple, easy, healthy meals for picky, busy, hungry toddlers!

Corn Salads

Cold salads aren’t the first thing you think of for little people with 8 or so teeth, but these are kid-approved. I’m kind of obsessed with them right now actually, because they are so easy, and perfect for the warmer weather.

1. Toddler’s Picnic

  • 2 cups of cooked corn
  • 3 -4 hearts of palm and/or artichoke hearts in oil (diced. Don’t use the tough leaves either, just the tender ones.)
  • As many Cherry tomatoes as you can dice before getting bored (around 6?)

Dressing: a dash of mayo, a dash of lemon, some olive oil, and Herbamare or sea salt

2. Monster Pasta Mix (some cooking required) 

  • 2 cups Rotini (spiral pasta)
  • 1 bunch Asparagus Tops (steamed well in water first, chopped diagonally is good)
  • 1/2 Avocado (Diced)
  • 1/2 cup Peas

Dressing: Olive Oil, Lemon, Mayonaise (a dash), Dill (a dash), Soy Sauce/Tamari (a splash), Herbamare  

3. Cleopatra’s Quinoa (some cooking required)

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked carrot or sweet potato chunks (steamed or roasted until soft)
  • 1 handful rehydrated dried raisins or cranberries

Dressing: Olive Oil, Lemon, Mayonaise (a dash), Dill (a dash), Soy Sauce/Tamari (a splash), Herbamare. Quinoa can be a bit dry, so you could also add yoghurt or a little extra olive oil to taste.   

4.  Bambino Risotto (some cooking required) 

  • Brown Rice or Orzo, or Arborio Rice
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Blueberry

Dressing: Creme Fraiche (Fancy!?), Sour Cream + Cinnamon

5. Cloud and Rainbow Salad 

  • Cottage Cheese
  • watermelon (diced)
  • honeydew
  • strawberries

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