Tag Archives: quinoa

Beef Kebabs and Quinoa Tabbouleh

15 Nov

I found a great recipe to use with my grass-fed ground beef and found it on the Wholefoods site of all places.  It’s listed as “Grass-Fed Ground Beef Kebabs” but from reading the comments below, it’s pretty much Beef Kofta, a Middle Eastern meatball – mixture of ground beef and/or lamb with spices and onions – skewered and grilled. So there are other variations, but I stuck with this particular recipe.

For the life of me I cannot cut an onion without tearing up! And in this particular recipe I had to shred it! Goodness, my eyes were so blurred I had to move away from the kitchen not only once but about 3 times! Is there a method to cutting onion without crying?

The rest of the preparation for this recipe was not at all hard to do. The only thing different from the recipe directions was that I put it in the oven versus grilling them. I don’t own a grill so it’s a bit difficult to do without. I do however have an oven with a broil setting.


1 1/3 pounds ground grass-fed beef
1/4 cup grated white onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil


In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together, except the olive oil. Use your hands for mixing. Form the beef mixture into 8 oblong patties and thread 2 per skewer. Note: Make sure the beef has come to room temperature before broiling them. Lightly brush the patties with oil and place on top of a wire wrack on a baking pan lined with foil. The pan should be about 6 inches away from the top burner. Let brown for 3 minute then turn them around and broil for another 3 minutes.

I also tinkered with the associated recipe on the Wholefoods website for gluten-free Tabbouleh using quinoa. I used all the ingredients mentioned in this recipe except I handled the preparation a little differently. I blame it on my husband who said that to make good tabbouleh is to chop up all the ingredients to itty-bitty pieces. It’s a lot of work but is only the best way to make it, I say just put it in the food processor and chop-chop…. but alas I chopped everything up by hand (with some assistance from dear husband).

By the way, prepare the quinoa ahead of time to allow for it too cool or reach room temperature. Also, the recipe calls for 1 cup quinoa, that should be cooked quinoa. I prepared 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, I thought it looked like a lot. It’s also probably why my husband, my expert on tabbouleh, mentioned that our dish looked like it didn’t have enough parsley.


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of tomato with seeds removed and finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, more to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper, red pepper and lemon juice. Serve room temperature or chilled.

I thought the meal was amazing as did my husband. Mantou was a huge fan of the beef kebabs but not so much for the quinoa. I think it was too flavorful for him and his little tastebuds couldn’t handle it. My husband said we should introduce all kinds of flavors to Mantou now. I think we might as well starve him, Mantou knows what he likes and doesn’t like.

Not Too Quinoa

4 Aug

I have never had quinoa before, to be honest, I had no idea what it was. I first learned about quinoa around the time of Mantou’s first birthday. I didn’t find a bakery that was available to make a wheat-free cake so I searched for a recipe online. I learned that substituting all-purpose flour wasn’t simple. I had to mix a couple of flours like brown rice flour and tapioca flour with xanthan gum (another ingredient I never heard of before).  Other gluten-free websites used nut-based flours but with Mantou’s allergies to nuts, I had to avoid those too. My wonderful friend Grace took this as a challenge and ended up making a delicious looking chocolate cake based on quinoa flour. I didn’t get to taste it but the photos she sent me made my mouth water. So that was the first time I heard of quinoa.  (Grace, I bet you’re surprised!).

I do not tire of eating white rice, I’ll be perfectly happy eating rice at every meal, but my husband likes to mix it up… he’s so adventurous! He suggested we look into eating something like couscous. Historically, couscous was originally made from millet, but somewhere in time it became purely made from wheat. It took a long time for me to even buy a package of quinoa. I didn’t know what I could do with quinoa, but just like I didn’t know what to do with buckwheat, I was going to figure it out. And it’s not too hard – just add water and let it simmer. Actually, with quinoa there is a little more work. Per instructions on the package, I had to soak it in water for a couple of hours before cooking it.

When cooked, they appear as little brown balls with a funky wisp, probably from the shell coming off the grain (don’t really know how to explain it). My family ate it like it was rice so we didn’t dress it up. The texture is gritty and it was slightly bitter, I wonder if we didn’t let the quinoa soak long enough. It was not a big hit with Mantou so we later mixed it up with some white rice and veggies for him to take to day care.

Another time I tried quinoa was from the Whole Foods deli. My husband was hungry while we shopped so we went to check their salad bar. They had about three different type of quinoa salads. I was reading all the ingredients to figure if it was something I could make at home. Something like quinoa, garbanzo beans, parsley, lime and spices looked pretty easy to make. Another one with mushrooms and zucchini didn’t look too difficult to make either. I should visit their deli’s more often!

I do have a package of quinoa that I still need to finish so hopefully I will find a recipe that Mantou will be able to enjoy – So far he’s not too keen on quinoa.