Italian cooking has changed a great deal particularly when it comes to food being healthier. Meals have become much lighter than they were 30 years ago. The so called empty-trash foods which were thriving in the 80s and early 90s have seen a dramatic decrease.
In Northern Italy many nurseries and primary schools serve organic meals to their pupils. There is a cry out for health and well being. People want to feel healthy and fit and we are beginning to understand more what good food can really do to our bodies and to our mood.
Quinoa has become so popular during the last couple of years and now it is widely used in Italian kitchens too.
I have been cooking quinoa for a long time, in fact I used it a lot mixed with vegetables, cheese, meat or fish during my children's weaning as it is an excellent source of protein. Cultivated at extreme altitudes in the Andes it contains more minerals than most other grains, it is gluten free and contains all 10 most important amino acids.
So from time to time in between my pasta meals I also cook quinoa. I have made these crunchy balls with some zucchini I had in the fridge and cheese and they have proved really popular with the children.
You can serve them with a yogurt dip like a Greek Tzatziki.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 20 minutes
Rinse the quinoa under the tap in a meshed strainer. If you can do that for 1 or 2 minutes this will greatly help removing its bitter coating. You could also leave it to soak for 15 minutes in cold water.
Add 2 cups of water, use a 2:1 ratio. So 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa. Add salt and cook over medium heat for 8 min. The quinoa is cooked when the germ separates from the seed. Switch off the heat and drain.
Grate the zucchini at julienne
In a bowl mix the zucchini, the grated cheese, the quinoa, 2 tbsp of olive oil, the eggs, grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Form little balls.
Line them up on a baking tray covered by parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 180 C or 350 F for about 20 min until golden.
Nice and crunchy 🙂