No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe (Gluten-Free)

I love quinoa. The taste is decent, and it’s a fun texture to eat. When I first started eating it like a decade ago, it was mostly in soups, as a healthier (and more fun!) alternative to noodles or rice. Sometimes I’d serve it on its own, almost like a rice… but it was only a few years ago that I started using it in what’s now my favourite application for quinoa: tabbouleh!

Even before discovering that I need to be gluten-free, I found that I actually preferred the taste and texture of quinoa to the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh.

Beyond being inherently gluten-free, this recipe was created with another need in mind – my husband’s utter hatred of tomatoes. I wanted a tabbouleh I could share with him, rather than hoard for myself. So: red peppers.

Usually, I’d consider this more of a summer thing, but I’ve been craving it lately, so did up a batch yesterday. Sitting here on Christmas eve munching on some… it has green, red, and mint involvement. I’m officially declaring it holiday canon.

So say we all?

No-Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

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“Spanakopita” Spinach Tortellini

We recently purchased a pasta machine. As we debated what the first thing we would make should be (Plain pasta? No. Running before you walk is always more fun!), I had an idea:

One of Porter’s favorite meals ever is Spanakopita. What if I took the basic flavors of spanakopita, made a filling from it… and then wrapped it up in spinach pasta dough, for a funky take on tortellini?

It turned out wonderfully! So much so, that my husband declined the idea of sauce, and loudly proclaimed it to be the only pasta he’s ever had that didn’t NEED sauce.

Awesome – Hope you enjoy this as much as he does!

“Spanakopita” Tortellini

Spinach Pasta:

5 oz fresh baby spinach
2+ cups flour
2 eggs

Boil spinach for 5 minutes or so, until very soft. Strain, use a spoon to push all additional water out of the spinach – you’ll want it as dry as you can get it.

Blitz spinach in a food processor until finely chopped, almost a paste. Add 2 cups of flour and the eggs, blitz for 30 seconds, until everything is evenly distributed and crumbly.

Remove the lid of the food processor, and pinch a piece of dough. If it’s sticky, add a little flour and blitz again, adjusting as necessary. When dough feels soft and a little moist, without actually being stick, you’re good to go!

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead for 2-5 minutes, until soft and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, to relax the gluten. Go ahead and make your filling while waiting!

“Spanakopita” Filling:

4 oz feta cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg

Combine all ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until use.


Spinach Pasta
Spanakopita filling
1 egg, whisked

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it well.

Run your spinach pasta through a pasta maker until it is as thing as you can get it. One sheet at a time, transfer pasta to a floured work surface.

Cut pasta into 3″ squares, drop a bit of filling in the middle of each – about 1/2 tsp.

Use a pastry brush to brush a little whisked egg along the edges of pasta.

Fold each piece in half to form a triangle, pushing out excess air from around the filling as you go. Press to firmly seal edges.

Fold the “top” tip of the triangle down lightly.

Bend ravioli edges backwards, pressing together on the opposite side from the folded down top.

Press edges firmly together to seal.

Transfer tortellini to boiling water in batches, cooking for 3-5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Strain well, serve hot!

Maple Walnut Baklava

So… this weekend is the start of October. Yikes. That realization sent us into a stress frenzy recently – we still have a TON of exterior work to get done before the weather gets too cold/snowy!

For me, the start of October still means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on October 10th this year. We usually try to celebrate both Thanksgivings, with different menus. This year… I’m not so sure I can pull everything together in time. That sucks 🙁

I always look forward to the variety of Canadian dishes we serve for the October Thanksgiving. Tortiere, Butter tarts… Mmmm. This year, I had been looking forward to a new favorite: Maple Walnut Baklava. Kind of a Canadian-Greek crossbreed, and SO tasty.

Sigh. It’s probably for the best, having gone gluten free again.

Anyway, baklava is actually quite easy to make, despite what you may have heard. Just make sure your filo / phyllo dough has thawed properly, and it should work up quickly for you!



Making Spanakopita in the Tornado Kitchen (Recipe)


My tornado memoir – “Twisted” was released on 05/22/12! click here for more details, or to purchase!

Can I just say that I’m sick of not having a kitchen?

Yesterday I had a bit of a meltdown. I got myself out of bed (I was on day 2 of bedrest on account of heat stroke, and bored out of my mind!), went down to the grocery store* with a rough idea of what should be in Spanakopita, and set about to make some – for the first time. I’d been craving it recently, and had a fairly disappointing experience with the ones we picked up at a local cafe.

Yes, I’m aware that it was a stupid move with regard to the heat stroke, and I’m paying for it this morning. It sounded like a good idea!**

Yes, I’m aware that the kitchen was NOT ready to be cooked in. We have no cabinets or counters. we haven’t even grouted the floor, and shouldn’t be doing anything messy/dirty in there at ALL until we do. It’s more accurately an unfinished room with a fridge and a stove randomly tossed in it, rather than an actual kitchen.

Yes, I realize that one would traditionally follow a recipe the first time. Gleaning a basic idea and winging it from there is FAR more my style, though. I don’t know that I had the reading comprehension skills to follow a recipe yesterday, anyway…

No, I didn’t have any measuring utensils, and all of the ingredients listed below are a “best guess” on what I did, from eyeballing it…

Oh, but it was SO worth it! (I do think I earned some Badass Points as a result of the whole deal, too!)


Jalapeno Beer Baklava Recipe

Jalapeno Baklava – sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? Well, much like our Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, this recipe adds beer and jalapenos to a traditional dessert, coming up with something awesome.

Unlike the brittle, which has a “low, slow” burn, there is almost no burn to this at all. Rather than bringing heat to the table, the jalapenos are there for a fruity, complex flavor. The beer also adds an interesting complexity, and doesn’t jump out at you as being – in fact – beer. Although a total bastardization on tradition, many people who’ve tried this have declared this to be their favorite baklava. Try it!

This is one of the many interesting, awesome booze-flavored desserts in my first cookbook, “The Spirited Baker“. If you haven’t already, you should definitely check it out! 🙂

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.