Holiday Quinoa Bake

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Does your family get into the rut of making the same exact dishes every year for the holidays? This year I decided to think up a new recipe that could shake things up, and that could satisfy my food intolerances. To get the brainstorm going, I thought of the typical holiday comfort foods that I would be missing out on due to my gluten and dairy-free diet and discovered that the common thread in the foods I’d be missing is that they were all comfort foods baked in the oven. Then I thought about my ideal grain to base my bake around, and of course, quinoa came to mind! After some experimentation, and taking into consideration my love for mixing savory, spicy and sweet flavors, I came up with this festive and healthy Holiday Quinoa Bake!

The combination of the Quinoa Ancient Blend I used with the eggs produced a cake-like consistency, which was then layered with sweet potatoes and spicy-sweet toasted pecans. I also used a Japanese sweet potato, which is less sweet and lighter in color than regular sweet potatoes. To get back that sweetness, I drizzled them with maple syrup when I pre-baked them, but no need to do this if you use a normal sweet potato or like it less sweet.

This dish has a few steps to complete separately before assembling the whole thing in the cake pan, but all in all it’s pretty easy and an interesting, new and fun dish to contribute to a holiday gathering. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did!

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Ingredients (makes one 8-inch cake):

7 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp stevia

1 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa Ancient Blend (or regular quinoa), cooked per package instructions with chicken broth

1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

1 handful dried cranberries

1) Grease springform cake pan with spray oil. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2) Cook quinoa: Cook quinoa blend according to instructions with chicken broth, set aside

3) Pre-bake sweet potato: Spread sweet potato slices on a baking tray and drizzle with oil of your choice and cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes, set aside.

3) Toast pecans: Lightly spritz a baking tray with cooking spray. Mix the pecans with the black pepper and maple syrup and spread on the baking tray. Bake until fragrant (no more than 5 minutes – watch for scorching!) then set aside to cool.

4) Beat eggs and combine with cooked quinoa in a bowl.

5) Pour quinoa + egg mixture into greased cake pan, then layer sweet potato slices in 2-3 layers. Add layer of toasted pecans on top.

6) Bake at 350F degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

7) Garnish with dried cranberries and any other garnish of choice.

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