Cajun Spinach Quinoa

This comfort food dish will give you all the warmth you need during this crisp fall season. It is packed with healthy ingredients to balance out the smoked sausage and heavy cream. Creamy, dreamy, smoky, spicy, cajun spinach quinoa has it all.

Cajun Spinach Quinoa


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 7 oz smoked sausage, half of a 14 oz package
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper
  • 2 Tbsp adobo sauce, from chipotle can, add less for people who don’t like spice
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream
  • 5 oz frozen, chopped spinach (half of a 10 oz bag)

Instructions

  1. Slice sausage into ¼ inch thick circles. Dice onion and bell peppers. Dice chipotle pepper. Measure 1 teaspoon salt and seasonings into a bowl.

  2. Place large pot or pan over medium high heat. Add oil to pan and let oil heat until it crackles when water is added.

  3. Add sausage to pot and sear 1-2 minutes until browned. Remove sausage to a plate with a spoon. 

  4. Add bell peppers, onions, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt to pot. Sauté 2-3 minutes until cooked but still crisp. Remove vegetables to plate.

  5. Add quinoa, water, spices, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce to pot. Stir to combine. Make sure all quinoa is submerged under the water. Quinoa left on sides of pot will not cook. 

  6. Cover quinoa. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer quinoa for 12-15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

  7. Remove lid and add cream to the quinoa. Raise heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all cream is absorbed 5-10 minutes. 

  8. Stir in the peppers, onion, sausage, and spinach. Stir about 1 minute until spinach is warmed. 

  9. Season to taste with salt and chipotle sauce. Serve hot with your favorite vegetable.

Yum, yum, yum! Cajun spinach quinoa! Say it with me! Cajun spinach quinoa is definitely one of my new favorite meals. The spinach, the cream, the spice, the sausage! It’s all so delicious. I did not put spinach in this on my first attempt and I was shocked at how much better it is with spinach. Seriously, when is spinach the hero of a dish? It’s your day to shine spinach!

Searing meat is one of the things that elevates food to the next level. There’s something about sausage that makes this statement especially true. If you want a restaurant-quality dish you should almost always sear your meat! Sear your meat! Sorry for being so demanding.

Also, let’s talk about seasoning to taste. I’m going to channel Chef John for a moment. He teaches  how to achieve restaurant-style cooking at home and he loves to emphasize this. If something is under-salted it is your responsibility to fix it! Taste it! Get out the salt shaker! Salt it! Wow, I’m feeling really demanding today. This goes for spice too. If you’re not sure about the spice level start off with no adobo sauce and then add it to taste at the end. I think the heat really adds to this dish. My girls did not agree. To each their own.

This dish makes me think southern comfort food. It would not be out of place at some of the local barbecue places around here. Don’t miss out on this super delicious meal!

Enjoy!

Cajun Spinach Quinoa – Get Hooked on Cooking – This comfort food dish will give you all the warmth you need during this crisp fall season. It is packed with healthy ingredients to balance out the smoked sausage and heavy cream. Creamy, dreamy, smoky, spicy, cajun spinach quinoa has it all.

Simple Indian-Fusion Tacos

I love Indian food. The way the spices come together ignites every tastebud. This dish is a fun and tasty twist on regular tacos. And no one would guess that there’s quinoa hidden in there! Superfood boost for the win!


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry white quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T powdered ginger
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne more to taste
  • 1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 cup peas
  • Optional: avocado, tomatoes, and yogurt or sour cream for topping

Instructions

  1. Add the water and quinoa to a small pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and simmer 12-15 minutes until cooked through.
  2. In a separate larger pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the beef and onions. Cook 2-3 minutes until the beef is starting to brown. It doesn't need to be cooked through.

  3. While the quinoa and beef are cooking measure out your salt and spices.
  4. Add the spices and canned tomatoes to the beef and onions. Simmer 3-5 minutes.

  5. Add the cooked quinoa and peas. Let cook 1 minute until the peas are warmed.
  6. Serve over white rice, with fresh naan, or with tortillas.

If you’ve never tried Indian food this is a great intro recipe. The spices are accessible; you can find most of them at your local grocery store.

This recipe is inspired by an Indian dish called keema, which is made with ground lamb. I used ground beef and served it with avocado, tomato, and sour cream. It was amazing!

Who would think that all these healthy ingredients could become such a delicious meal? I’m seriously craving these tacos right now. And we’ve eaten them a lot recently since I’ve been working on the recipe.

I have to admit something. Even though the recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes I subbed in crushed tomatoes because I was out of diced. Phew… I’m glad I could get that off my chest.

This dish comes together so fast. Just sauté some lean ground beef and onions in oil. Then add the magical spice mixture, quinoa, and tomatoes and let the magic happen! Stirring in some peas right at the end adds little pops of different flavor throughout the dish.

You could serve this over white rice, with fresh naan, or with tortillas. One night we ate it with corn tortillas that I sprayed with cooking spray and heated in a skillet. It is amazing how a tiny bit of oil brings out the flavor in corn tortillas. When I was a kid we always ate our tortillas (flour and corn) deep fried. I was pretty surprised to learn the rest of the world doesn’t do that. I can’t recommend it health-wise, but if you’ve never tasted a deep fried flour tortilla you are missing out.

If you serve these with naan do yourself a favor and serve it with hot naan brushed with butter and sprinkled with garlic and herbs. If you buy pre-made naan, you can warm it in a dry pan for optimal eating bliss.

Enjoy!

Simple Indian-Fusion Tacos – Get Hooked on Cooking – I love Indian food. The way the spices come together ignites every tastebud. This dish is a fun and tasty twist on regular tacos. And no one would guess that there’s quinoa hidden in there! Superfood boost for the win!

Greek Quinoa

I could eat this quinoa every day, which is a good thing because it makes 10 servings, so I did eat it every day for 5 days. Serve it on its own or serve it with some chicken and roasted vegetables. Any way you serve it, it’s delicious!

Greek Quinoa

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 9.5 oz jar sliced kalamata olives
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Dice peppers and onions to desired size. You can substitute 4 cups of other diced vegetables of your choice if desired. 

  2. Heat oil over high in a large lidded pot or pan. Add diced peppers and onion. Cook the vegetables for 2 minutes while you measure out the spices. 

  3. Add remaining ingredients through quinoa and stir to combine. Make sure all of the quinoa is submerged or it will stay crunchy. I also stir 2 times while cooking to make sure all the quinoa is cooked evenly. 

  4. Cover and cook about 18 minutes. 

  5. Stir in the drained olives while there is still liquid in the pot. If it's looking dry add another ½ cup of water. 

  6. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Top individual portions with goat cheese.

Lets eat quinoa! It’s so good for you and this recipe makes it taste like a treat. The spice combination is so delicious and it plays off the salty olive flavor and the creamy goat cheese perfectly.

This quinoa is loaded with vegetables but you would never know it because they soak up the amazing spices and olive flavor. You don’t have to use onions and peppers, those are just some of my favorites. Sub in 4 cups of your favorite vegetables instead; make it your own. Look at all those delicious vitamins!

I’ve always found Kalamata olives to be a bit too assertive for my taste. This makes them the perfect cooking olive for me. Some of the flavor soaks out of the olives in the last 5 minutes of cooking and seasons the quinoa. Even after that they still have enough oomph left over to be a completely delicious addition. If you do this with black olives they lose all their flavor in the first minute. Do not make this with black olives!

I have to admit that the goat cheese is my favorite part. The contrasting flavors and textures in this dish are dreamy. The goat cheese is so creamy and rich with a slight tang. Yum.

Greek Quinoa - Get Hooked on Cooking - I could eat this quinoa every day, which is a good thing because it makes 10 servings, so I did eat it every day for 5 days. Serve it on its own or serve it with some chicken and roasted vegetables. Any way you serve it, it's delicious!

Enjoy!

Greek Quinoa – Get Hooked on Cooking – I could eat this quinoa every day, which is a good thing because it makes 10 servings, so I did eat it every day for 5 days. Serve it on its own or serve it with some chicken and roasted vegetables. Any way you serve it, it's delicious!

Creamy Mushroom Quinoa

I love this dish. It is a combination of the warm, comforting spices of Thanksgiving, delicious mushrooms, and the rich creaminess of half-and-half. All the flavors complement each other perfectly. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself! This dish requires just one pot and it makes the most dreamy leftovers.

Creamy Mushroom Quinoa

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Spice Mixture:

  • ½ Tbsp thyme
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Quinoa:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup half and half

Instructions

  1. Mix the spice mixture ingredients together in a bowl. 

  2. Dice chicken and then season with about ⅓ of the spice mixture. 

  3. Heat vegetable oil over high heat in a pot or deep pan. When oil is hot (it's hot enough if it crackles when you add water) add the chicken. 

  4. Cook the chicken about 5 minutes or until it is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate. 

  5. Turn down the heat to medium. Add the butter to the pan and melt it. Add the mushrooms, onions, and another ⅓ of the spice mixture.

  6. Cook the vegetables 10-15 minutes or until most of the water is gone, stirring occasionally. This will give them a rich flavor as they soak up the seasoning. 

  7. Add the quinoa, the remaining seasoning, and the water. Stir everything together. If there is quinoa sticking to the sides of the pan, scrape it down into the liquid. 

  8. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. 

  9. Uncover and add the half and half. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the half and half is absorbed. 

  10. Stir in the cooked chicken. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

I don’t know about you but I love the flavors of Thanksgiving. My mom makes the best stuffing and it’s absolutely drenched in butter and seasoning and it is one of the best things in the whole world. Unfortunately, it’s horrifyingly bad for you, so this is my attempt to get all that delicious flavor but with some nice wholesome ingredients. (And some half and half. Nobody’s perfect.)

If you’ve never made quinoa, don’t be scared. It is easier to make than white rice, and you can find it at any large grocery store. If you’re annoyed by the price (it’s normally  $5+ dollars per pound) you can find it at Costco for around $3 per pound or Winco for around $2.50. If you’re willing to buy 25 pounds you can get it through IFS Bulk for about $2 per pound including shipping. That’s where I buy my quinoa and it has an incredibly long shelf life.

If you have used quinoa before you might be wondering why I didn’t tell you to rinse your quinoa. When I first started using quinoa I always rinsed it and it is an incredibly annoying step. You have to have a fine mesh strainer and my quinoa got stuck in the rim of the strainer when I went to pour it out. So I skipped rinsing it as an experiment and it didn’t change the flavor. This may not apply to all quinoa but it does for mine and I’m always happy to skip steps when cooking.

The mushrooms and onions pack vitamins into this dish, while the quinoa brings whole “grain” goodness, and the chicken breast provides lean protein. I love serving this with steamed or roasted veggies. I made steamed brussel sprouts for myself and roasted asparagus for my husband and daughter, since, apparently, some people hate brussel sprouts, and I live with two of them.

Don’t skip searing the chicken! It brings crazy, amazing flavor to the dish.

This is so savory, creamy, and delicious that I wanted to lick the bowl clean. I hope you like it too!

Creamy Mushroom Quinoa - Get Hooked on Cooking - I love this dish. It is a combination of the warm, comforting spices of Thanksgiving, delicious mushrooms, and the rich creaminess of half-and-half. All the flavors complement each other perfectly. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself! This dish requires just one pot and it makes the most dreamy leftovers.

Enjoy!

Creamy Mushroom Quinoa – Get Hooked on Cooking – I love this dish. It is a combination of the warm, comforting spices of Thanksgiving, delicious mushrooms, and the rich creaminess of half-and-half. All the flavors complement each other perfectly. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself! This dish requires just one pot and it makes the most dreamy leftovers.

Taco Quinoa

Taco Quinoa

This is a great recipe for taco night! It comes together quickly and has a perfect balance of lean protein, healthy carbs, and tons of veggies that your kids might not even notice. (Depending on your kids. This is not a guarantee.)

Taco Quinoa

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

Seasoning Mixture

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch

Quinoa

  • 2 lbs 93% lean ground beef
  • 2 c diced red onion
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 28 oz can undrained petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 c dry quinoa
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly combine all ingredients in seasoning mixture in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Brown beef in a large pot or deep skillet.

  3. Add seasoning mixture, onions, and peppers. Cook 3 minutes

  4. Add tomatoes, milk, water, and quinoa. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through and all the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.

  5. Stir in cheese and serve warm by itself or with your favorite toppings!

Welcome to Get Hooked on Cooking! I love creating recipes, cooking, and eating! I also have a family so I cook out of necessity. I try to do as much food prep as possible and take shortcuts to help cooking be fun and satisfying instead of being a chore. I believe in cooking delicious, and sometimes healthy, food. I hope you’ll enjoy making and eating these recipes as much as I do!

This recipe started forming in my head when my toddler was eating Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper™️. She loved it! There’s cheese sauce on top, so what’s not to love. I realized I could make something loaded with veggies and quinoa with a slightly cheesy sauce and she would eat it. So this recipe was born, and after lots of iterations it’s ready to share.

Tiny diced veggies make up a huge part of this dish. My daughter spent a year telling me that she doesn’t like onions or peppers and after helping chop lots of onions and peppers in the slap-chopper she has changed her tune. Now she constantly reminds me she doesn’t like big onions or peppers. Baby steps.

There are so many vegetables in this that I’m still surprised at how amazing it tastes. This works great as a one pot meal but you could definitely put this in a taco shell or a warm flour tortilla. We served it in bowls with all the fixings.

This a fantastic make-ahead meal. I portioned out the leftovers with refried black beans and roasted Mexican cauliflower and it made 12 servings!

This is a seriously delicious, balanced meal.

Taco Quinoa - Get Hooked on Cooking - This is a great recipe for taco night! It comes together quickly and has a perfect balance of lean protein, healthy carbs, and tons of veggies that your kids might not even notice. (Depending on your kids. This is not a guarantee.)

Enjoy!

Taco Quinoa – Get Hooked on Cooking – This is a great recipe for taco night! It comes together quickly and has a perfect balance of lean protein, healthy carbs, and tons of veggies that your kids might not even notice. (Depending on your kids. This is not a guarantee.)