Quinoa-Veggie Bake

Last Updated on Thursday, 2 December 2010 03:34 Written by Flax Sunday, 21 November 2010 02:39

Seasonal cooking not only uses seasonal vegetables, it also uses seasonal methods. Autumn is the season for baking. Logically, this makes sense. Autumn is the time when the nights are getting colder and you want to slightly warm up your house. Having the oven on for an hour helps to take the chill out of the evening and to lightly warm us up as well. The longer food is cooked the “warmer” it is. Baked foods are more warming than a summer stir-fry, while they are not as warming as a winter stew which would cook on a low flame for hours.

Here I chose to use quinoa, not only because it is high in calcium and iron, but because I love the way it bakes, all soft and mushy, it kinds of melts in your mouth. You can just as easily substitute it with barley, rice, wild rice, or wheat berries, just adjust the amount of water accordingly.
Likewise with the vegetables. The vegetables I use are commonly found autumn vegetables but feel free to substitute any vegetables you wish. I use the color rule: orange vegetables, white vegetables and green vegetables. Orange vegetables are sweet, white vegetables are pungent and either bitter or sweet, while green vegetables are bitter and salty. When you look at the taste of the vegetables, it is easy to find a suitable alternative.

This recipe is one of my, all-in-one, make-it-easy, Shabbat dishes. You have a whole grain (the quinoa) your veggies, and the option of making it vegetarian or adding chicken or turkey. Plus, the fact that it is simple does not mean that it is not delicious. Another plus here, there is only one dirty pot at the end of the meal. ūüôā


olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bunch beet leaves, chopped
3 jerusalem artichokes, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
2 branches thyme, stems discarded
1 1/2 cups quinoa (rinsed)
3 cups water
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
salt and pepper

optional: 1 chicken, quartered, or 1 turkey roll

Preheat oven to 180c/350f.
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and saute for 10 more minutes. Remove from the flame and add the quinoa, water and spices. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
If you are using chicken or turkey, then put it on top of the quinoa and bake 1 1/2 -2 hours depending on the size of the turkey roll. If the chicken/turkey is skinned then brush with olive oil and paprika to give it color and prevent it from drying out.


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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 10:51 Written by Flax Monday, 30 August 2010 01:22

The deep orange and green colors of the acorn squash remind us of the autumn leaves.  This is a great dish to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner, either as a beautiful first course, or as a side-dish during the main course.  If acorn squash is not available in your area, use a butternut squash instead.

The recipe below calls for both pine nuts and chestnuts.¬† Seeds and nuts are nature’s spark of life.¬† A tiny nut has the potential of producing an enormous tree, when eaten these seeds and nuts provide us with a huge amount of condensed energy.¬† Eaten in large quantities, oil rich nuts tax the liver.¬† Eaten in small quantities, nuts and seeds are beneficial to the immune system.¬† Nuts are fatty foods that serve as a great source of vitamin E.¬† Vitamin E serves as a nerve protector and as an immune-enhancing oxidant.¬†¬† When eaten in small amounts, seeds and nuts can strengthen the immune system and prevent the need for taking vitamin E supplements.¬† If you find that you crave nuts and seeds you might want to cut back on your consumption of refined vegetable oils.¬† Refined vegetable oils play a significant role in our need for vitamin E.¬† The more refined vegetable oils that you use, the greater the need for vitamin E.

Nuts and seeds have a tendency to become rancid very quickly.  It is healthier to buy nuts in their shell and to crack them at home.  This does not have to be an overwhelming proposition, give your older children a hammer and let them have the time of their lives!

The recipe below has a few steps but it isn’t complicated


  • 4 acorn squash.

Slice the squash in half and discard the seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c (350f), for  30 minutes. The squash should be slightly soft but not fully cooked.  Remove from the oven, fill, and bake for twenty minutes more.


  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 box button mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 package of tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bag peeled and roasted chestnuts (100 gr)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1 tbsp cranberries, for garnish

Mix together the flax seed and the hot water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Lightly saute the remaining ingredients for five minutes, until they have slightly softened.  Remove from the flame and puree in a blender or food processor until the mixture  is smooth.  Stir in the flax seed and spoon the mixture into the hollow at the center of the squash.  Garnish with the cranberries and bake for twenty minutes more.

Serve warm.  Serves 8.


Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Holistic Healer.  She also teaches  Healthy-Cooking Classes.

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Rosh Hashanah Carrots

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 03:22 Written by Flax Sunday, 15 August 2010 03:19

It is a Jewish tradition to eat carrots on the Jewish New Year. This is based on the similarity between the word carrots (gezer) and the prayers for a good year (gzar dinanu letovah). Ashkenazi Jews eat a very sweet carrot dish called zimmis, which is carrots, cooked in honey or sugar and maybe some fruit as well. I prefer this Sephardi carrot recipe which has the sweetness but has other flavors as well which gives the dish more dimension.

While I serve these carrots specially and only on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) they can be eaten all year round. In fact I was often hosted by an Algerian family that would serve them, with other salads, as a first course at the shabbat table.

I prefer to serve them only on Rosh Hashanah as they are especially rich and sweet, which to my mind should be a holiday treat. They are absolutely scrumptious, make a lot because they will be devoured.


1 bag of carrots (1 kilo–2 lb.)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp hot pepper (optional)
2 tbsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
corn oil or olive oil

Peel and boil the carrots in lightly salted water until you can easily prick them with a fork. Do not overcook as they will fall apart.

Slice the carrots into 1/2 inch rounds. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the remaining ingredients and stir for 30 seconds. Add the carrots and fry on a low flame for 5 minutes. Remove from the flame and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Serve cold, accompanied by bread and other salads.


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