Wednesday, 8 April 2009

quinoa pasta bake

It,s easy these days not no overdose on wheat...especially in the dried pasta world...theres so many delicious wheatfree types.Don,t get me wrong I love pasta but every now and then our bodies need a break from wheat.
My gorgeous other half finishes work at different hours every day so I never know when to start cooking...This bake is handy as you can prepare it beforehand and pop it into the oven to warm it up in 5 minutes.

Fry onions in olive oil with some rosemary.
After a few minutes add chopped mushrooms and chopped garlic.
Cook and leave to one side.
Boil Quinoa pasta ,drain and place in a cassarole dish.
Add a splash of soya milk,olive oil,nutrional yeast,and grated cheese and mix well with the pasta.
Top with the mushroom mixture,toasted sunflower seeds,hazelnuts,chopped parsley,bread crumbs (wholewheat and white...its what I had at hand )and grated hard cheese of choice,some black pepper and another drizzle of olive oil y esta!

Heat up in oven until cheese melts and the pasta is heated thru.Alternatively you could just place it under a grill(we are without one at the moment)

Notice that I didn,t add any salt?I,m learning because of little anouk my daughter to cut out or cut back on salt so she can try a little bit of my food..and I won,t feel guilty.
I served the pasta bake with a simple green salad with kitchen grown fresh cress sprouts(umm spicey)and a dressing made with ume plum seasoning,olive oil and a drop or two of balsamic vinegar.
Ume dressing is salty but very alkaline and a good alternative to vinegar...It may be more expensive but a little goes a long way.
Also the parmesan or cheese in the recipe adds the salt it needs.
But if not for kids add the salt you like and enjoy...

When heating it up again I added a spoon full of sundried tomatoe paste ....yummy.

The salt topic for babies and kids is this...guidelines suggest no more than 1.75g a day(for adults 6g a day)
I got out my weighing scales to see what it looks like.
Theres a lot of hidden salt in breads,cornflakes,cheese and theres no harm in having a peek at food labels or better still making your own.For instance cornflakes or rice crispies have more salt than ready salted crisps! Look in healthfood shops for salt free or low salt varieties)
Food packages put sodium on the labels ...if you want to calculate salt content muliply the sodium figure by 2.5

Too much salt puts pressure on your kidneys...which can lead to calcium excretion and therefore more risks of osteoporosis in later life.
Becoming a mum makes me want to look for more salt alternatives and use less because lets face it babys and kids are sponges they learn there eating habits from us.
Ah, but also I feel its good to relax and not get too obsessive...a balance of pleasure and health and all is good.
Also when you feel like salty popcorn eat it ...
or extra sprinkles of sea salt..
just if possible cut down for the kiddies.

I don,t want to bore people on this topic but I,ve been experimenting- before when I cooked pasta I always threw a good whack of salt in I add at the end (and dont notice the difference)..
same goes for potatoes,rice..grains.
A lot of the time its just habit.

For Pasta Alternatives try...quinoa,corn,rice,buckwheat,spelt...or others.......... look in wholefood stores or oriental shops.....enjoy!


  1. So funny, I just finished eating a bowl of quinoa pasta, and it was the first time I've made it. I usually make whole wheat, but I think I like the texture of the quinoa better, not as chewy as the whole wheat pasta tends to be. I love that you added hazelnuts - I'm always looking for an excuse to use them, and I don't often enough. This is really a great recipe, I will definitely try it!

    I made the quinoa pasta with duck sausage, tomatoes, and fresh peas. I'll post it soon!

  2. I LOVE quinoa and this bakes looks so nice and rustic, very stasfying, I'm sure!
    Thanks for sharing it :)

  3. I too am trying to weed out hidden salt in my diet. I generally try not to eat packaged foods these days. I think most home cooking cuts way down on the sodium, at least compared to store bought foods. I've got to try cooking pasta without salt like you did. Thanks for the idea!