Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Very Veggie Pesach: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers; Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage

Quinoa is one of the best, most complete vegetarian sources of protein available.  It looks like a grain, but it's really a seed related to beets and spinach.  It has a mild nutty flavor and an interesting crunch.

As I reported on my website, many widely-respected kosher certification organizations have indicated that quinoa (whole seeds, not processed) can be kosher for Passover.  See, e.g., Quinoa: The Grain That's Not (Star-K); Consumer Pesach Q and A (CRC, page 5 indicates that quinoa is not kitniyot, but can be used only if one is certain no forbidden grains are mixed in).  Nevertheless, there is some dispute about whether quinoa is forbidden, so you should check with your rabbi before using it.  See Curious about Kitniyot? (acknowledging that there are differences of opinion, OU does not recommend quinoa, but elsewhere says that if you use it you should inspect it carefully).  A food scientist with the website has indicated that Ancient Harvest (the green box) is grown in areas where chametz cannot grow and is processed in plants where chametz is not processed, so it can be used for Passover.  See Quonfused About's Passover Guide recommends Ancient Harvest,Trader Joe,or Northern Quinoa, but says they should be purchased before Passover and inspected for chametz. UPDATE: Even OU now accepts quinoa, but of course they insist on using KFP certification.

OK: So if your rabbi says quinoa is kosher for Passover... here are a couple of quinoa-based recipes.  These recipes can be made gluten-free and non-gebrochts.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  1. 1 cup dry quinoa
  2. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  3. 5 green bell peppers (4 whole and 1 chopped)
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup matzah meal (optional -- skip for gluten-free / non-gebrochts)
  6. Tomato sauce
Kashrut Notes:
  1. Quinoa has been discussed amply above
  2. Peppers and onions are fresh produce.  Star K's website says that fresh supermarket produce is not a Passover problem.
  3. OU's website currently states that all extra virgin olive oils are kosher for Passover without any certification.
  4. Make sure your matzah meal is kosher for Passover.  Believe it or not, sometimes matzah and matzah meal is made for year round use and is not kosher for Passover!
  5. Tomato sauce must be certified kosher for Passover.  You can use a simple canned sauce like the ones produced by Manischewitz or Rokeach, or the fancier pasta sauces or pizza sauces produced by Gefen.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  When it is ready, set it aside covered.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the peppers by either cutting off the tops (the most common procedure) or slicing lengthwise (my preference).  Clean thoroughly and remove all seeds and membranes from inside the peppers.
  4. Saute the chopped onion and pepper in the olive oil until the onion is lightly browned
  5. Add the cooked quinoa to the sauteed vegetables.  If using matzah meal, add that at this point as well.  Add enough tomato sauce that the quinoa-vegetable mixture sticks together
  6. Spoon the quinoa-vegetable mixture into the peppers and put the peppers into a baking pan lightly greased with olive oil or Passover butter or margarine
  7. Cover the peppers with additional tomato sauce
  8. Cook until the peppers begin to brown around the top edges, about half an hour?  (watch them -- I haven't timed this well)
Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage

This recipe is based on the stuffed cabbage recipe I have made for Passover for many years, but substitutes more or less the same stuffing as in the peppers for the meat stuffing I used to use.  The filling is stuffed into steamed cabbage leaves and covered with a sweet-and-sour sauce.

  1. 8-10 leaves of cabbage
  1. 1 cup dry quinoa
  2. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
    1. 16 oz. can tomato sauce (just plain tomato sauce, not the fancier pizza or pasta sauces, which may have flavors that conflict with the sweet-and-sour flavors
    2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
    3. 1/4 cup lemon juice 
      Kashrut Notes:
      1. Most of these ingredients are discussed amply above
      2. Cabbage is fresh produce, like onions and peppers.  The leaves should be checked carefully for bugs, which are never kosher.
      3. Domino's light brown sugar is routinely made with Passover certification, and is found in the regular grocery aisle.  Check for the OK-P certification on the side of the box.
      4. OU has stated that RealLemon lemon juice is kosher for Passover and does not require any special Passover certification.
      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
      2. Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  When it is ready, set it aside covered.
      3. While quinoa is cooking, saute the chopped onion and pepper in the olive oil until the onion is lightly browned
      4. Add the cooked quinoa to the sauteed vegetables.
      5. Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves (it will dissolve faster if you pour the lemon juice over it). Pour about 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish or lasagna pan. 
      6. Gently remove the cabbage leaves from the head. You want them to be intact. It may help to steam the head briefly before attempting this. Boil the leaves for a minute or two to make them soft enough to roll.
      7. Spoon some quinoa-vegetable mixture into the soft end of the cabbage leave and roll it up from the soft end to the spiny end. Fold the sides into the middle partway through the rolling, to keep the filling from spilling out the sides.  Put the resulting roll into the casserole dish with the sauce. Do this until you use up all of the filling, making 8-10 cabbage rolls. 
      8. Pour the remaining sauce over the top.
      9. Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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      Josh said...

      Quinoa -- almost an old Pesach favorite already.

      Good stuff! Keep it coming!

      JewFAQ said...

      @Josh: I have to keep it coming! There are 8 nights to Pesach and I've only posted 5 recipes so far! :^)

      KleoPatra said...

      i'm with Josh!!