Friday, June 7, 2013

Lunch Made Easy: Quinoa Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Ideas

This week Little Miss and I both had fun trying Quinoa Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly recipes in our Work & School Lunches!

I've included links and recipes in the post below. If you've not experimented with Quinoa, this is a great way to try! Quinoa is a gluten free and a complete protein. It actually has all nine of the essential amino acids, as well as, being a great source of fiber and iron. Offering 100% whole grain per serving (even though it's actually a seed, not a grain). 

Towards the bottom of the post you'll also find our Quinoa Raisin Muffin recipe. Great for lunches, breakfast, or snacks!

What some of you may not know is last year I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. June happens to be MG Awareness Month. It's an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that attacks my muscles and nerves. It causes me extreme fatigue, weakness, blurred vision & a drooping eye lid, along with slurred speech, trouble swallowing, and breathing issues. 

Thankfully there's a medication to help control my symptoms. The only problem... the medication causes extreme GI side effects. So as we've had to increase my milligrams and dosages to, the side effects have become an issue. 

In an effort to curb this, I've gone completely dairy free in my own diet. Little Miss will still eat it, though too much has always bothered her tummy too. So far, it's already made a noticeable difference! Hopefully this helps me feel like I'm getting my life "back to normal" between my medication and new dietary needs. 

A yummy idea for breakfast, lunch, or brinner ;) are Quinoa Pancakes. I used a yummy recipe from Rachel Cooks and just subbed for all-purpose gluten free flour, dairy free milk, and dairy free butter. A delicious way to sneak in nutrition! Little Miss loves "pan-a-cakes", as she calls them. 

Also packed in her EasyLunchboxes container were oranges, strawberries, and unsweetened applesauce. 

This was a lunch I packed for me for work this week. It was probably my favorite of the week! I always love a good salad, and even more so when it's topped with fresh veggies. 

I packed a spinach salad, topped with Quinoa, carrots, red sweet peppers, and thinly sliced cooked chicken breast. Eliminate the chicken breast to keep this lunch vegan/ vegetarian. I enjoyed mine with an Italian dressing, but use what fits your dietary needs. Super filling and nutritious!

Another idea that's sure to be a kid favorite are these Quinoa Pizza Bites. I found the recipe via Circle of Moms. Easy to make, I topped Little Miss' with a little extra cheese on top. That girl will eat anything with the word "pizza" in it so I knew she would love them!

I gave her a Mini Dipper with marinara for dipping her bites, pear slices, and baby carrots in her EasyLunchboxes container. 

This delish lunch idea is courtesy of MOMables! Another easy dish to make that is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and top 8 allergy free. I packed it with orange slices and an Enjoy Life Foods Cocoa Loco bar. Got to have a little chocolate in your life! 

If you're not a fan of Quinoa on it's own or still intimidated to try it, I highly recommend these muffins! You won't even know it's in there! 

We packed them for lunch this week in our Lunchbots Duo, but I've also eaten them for breakfast since and have some in the freezer to enjoy later. Great for grab & go snacks, as well!

Quinoa Raisin Muffins
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yields 12 Muffins

  • 1 Cup of uncooked Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 Cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-3/4 Cup of gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup of ground flax
  • 1/2 Cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/2 Cup of raisins (we used golden)
  • 3/4 Cup of dairy free milk (we used organic vanilla soy milk)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Cook quinoa in a saucepan on your stove top in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed. This will take approximately 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, flax, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and raisins. Mix in only 2 cups of the cooked quinoa (save any extra for another use/ meal)
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and milk. Add to the flour mixture, along with adding the unsweetened applesauce. Stir until combined. 
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin tin cavities. Bake until toothpick comes out clean and tops are firm to touch. Approximately 25-30 minutes. 
  6. Let muffins cool in pan five minutes after baking before removing to a wire rack to finish. 
Want even more recipe ideas using Quinoa?
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  1. I love this post! First off, amazing lunches and great pictures! And I have to admit I am very intimidated by quinoa for no real reason. I have to try some recipes now after seeing your lunches!

    1. Thanks Nina! Def play with some recipes :) Don't be intimidated. It's delicious!

  2. Same here about the quinoa. I have always been scared to try it. I will be trying those pizza bites and muffins soon! :)

  3. We love quinoa! I made up a recipe the other day with sauteed peppers and quinoa and it turned out pretty good. I hope to share it on my blog soon. I can't wait to try these muffins you've shared on this post! We need some new breakfast/lunch ideas and I've been craving muffins, so this is the recipe I'll try! Thanks!

    1. Thank you!
      I love it with peppers too. Yummo!!

  4. Glad you liked the pancakes! One of our favorite recipes.

  5. Yummy! I didn't know Quinoa could be used in so many things!

    1. There are *endless* possibilities... I just didn't have enough time in the day to try them all in one week. ;) Can't wait to experiment more!

  6. All of these are beautiful, but that Quinoa and Spinach Salad looks incredible! We had quinoa pasta last night, which was delicious!


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