Quinoa gets transformed into comfort food

In the midst of one of the snowiest and coldest winters we have had in Michigan in many years, I can’t stop craving comfort food. Unfortunately, eating my go-to feel-good dishes like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and fried chicken is not an ideal diet. Making an effort to eat fresher, heartier, and healthier meals every day, I went on the search for a recipe that would please my winter comfort cravings as well as my waistline.

And what I discovered was the amazing whole grain bowl concept. With a base of whole grains like brown rice or quinoa, these dishes provide protein and nutrition while filling you up. I have become obsessed with the fresh ingredients and the flexibility of adding anything you like to the bowl, and here is one of my favorite combinations.


Stir Fried Rice and Black Quinoa with Cabbage, Red Pepper and Greens

Prep/Cook Time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4-6


1 bunch of greens, washed and coarsely chopped (recommended: kale and chard; however, you can use any favorite greens)
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 to 3 teaspoons minced ginger
2 eggs
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
6 ounces firm tofu, diced (substitute in cooked chicken if you prefer)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
½ medium or small head of cabbage, cored and shredded
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1½ cups cooked brown rice, room temperature
2½ cups cooked black quinoa, room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce, to taste
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro


  • Combine garlic and ginger in small bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs and season with a pinch of salt.
  • Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Swirl oil in bottom of pan. Add eggs and cook like a thin pancake on both sides. Transfer to a plate and cut into strips.
  • Add more oil to pan and add tofu (or other protein). Stir-fry for a minute or two until it begins to color. Swirl remaining oil and add garlic, ginger, chard and red pepper. Stir-fry for two minutes, then add cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for one minute and add rest of greens, cooking until leaves wilt. Add rice and quinoa and stir-fry for about two minutes. Add soy sauce, more scallions, tofu, eggs and cilantro. Remove from heat and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (4 servings):
434 calories; 16g fat; 56g carbohydrates; 10g fiber; 506mg sodium; 17g protein

Recipe courtesy of New York Times.

What are some of your favorite healthy comfort food dishes?


Photo credit: Andrew Scrivani



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