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Zucchini Quinoa Squares

One convenience food we like to have on hand is frozen sliced zucchini. It is very versatile and can become the key ingredient in a fantastic vegetarian meal. We use the crinkle cut zucchini, but any sliced frozen zucchini will work well in this recipe. These squares have a light-as-a-feather consistency and delightful flavor. Serve with a baked potato.Zucchini Quinoa Squares

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients:

  • 1-16 oz bag frozen zucchini, thawed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 oz solid cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c Colby-Jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa*
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Place the thawed zucchini in a colander and press gently to remove excess moisture. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and generously butter an 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil for about 1-2 minutes over medium low. Add the garlic, basil, salt and pepper; saute another 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and cream cheese. Allow the residual heat in the pan to further soften the cream cheese; blend it in. Add the Colby-Jack cheese and again, allow the heat in the skillet to help blend it in.
  4. Fold in the zucchini next and when incorporated, fold in the quinoa. Lastly, add in the beaten eggs and blend well.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Bake 35 minutes or until set up and golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

You can cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on stovetop, using about 3/4 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 cups water. If using the stove-top, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to lowest setting, and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until fluffy and dry. Unlike rice, it is okay to stir the quinoa a couple of times while cooking to assure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

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