One event we all love about the weekend is breakfast! Breakfast for lunch, brunch or dinner is such a treat. There’s something about having eggs at any other time of day that signifies a mini-vacation. My brunch memories always include a great group of friends and a glass (or two) of champagne!
However, brunch always comes at a price. Take for example a classic favorite, Eggs Benedict. The only healthy ingredient is the poached egg. Bleached white flour in the muffin, egg yolks and butter in the sauce and ham that is probably not organic. This doesn’t even cover the additions such as bacon and fried potatoes. I know this still sounds pretty good to some of you, yet I’ve never known anyone who after eating a meal like that, feels like doing anything other than napping.
Here is the question: On menus, why are there tasty and healthy options for lunch and dinner, but never for brunch? How many plain fruit bowls can I eat? So I set out on a mission – To create a breakfast item in the same style of the breakfast foods I love using only organic ingredients that contained health benefits.
The result? “Pancakes” made from spinach and quinoa, topped with wild smoked salmon and a poached organic egg.
This is a great way to introduce quinoa in my blog. Quinoa is in a category all on its own. An ancient plant that flowers and seeds. It’s gluten free, high in protein, iron, and all the essential amino acids that our bodies need. It has the shape of a grain like cous cous, but remains a bit crunchy after cooking.
For this recipe, I blended together the spinach and quinoa to make pancake shapes. That way, they can take the place of an English muffin. Kids will like the shape and the color, but they don’t have to know how good it is for them!
Substitutions: Please use this recipe as a base for wherever your imagination takes you. Especially if you are serving this to a group of people you can make it in a variety of ways, replace the poached eggs with scrambled or fried eggs. You can substitute tofu bacon, sliced tomato or additional sautéed spinach for salmon to keep it vegetarian. You’ll notice the flavors are so good you won’t miss the greasy sauce. Promise!
Enjoy and have a relaxing weekend!
“Green Eggs” and Salmon
Spinach Quinoa Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 Pound fresh spinach, ends trimmed and well washed
1 Small garlic clove, peeled
4 Extra large eggs, very fresh and organic (if possible)
6 Ounces Smoked Salmon
3 Teaspoons White distilled vinegar
1 Lemon, zest
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
You will also need: 1 shallow baking tray or cookie sheet which has a rim, paper towels, large round cookie cutter and plastic wrap.
For Quinoa “Pancakes”:
Rise the quinoa through a fine sieve until the water runs clear.
Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium pot. Add quinoa. Stir, reduce heat, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large non stick skillet to high heat. Add some olive oil. When pan is very hot add spinach and garlic. Sauté for about five minutes. Spinach leaves will wilt but the color should remain bright green.
Remove from heat immediately. Place spinach onto paper towels and press out extra liquid.
Transfer spinach to a food processor and chop until completely smooth.
The quinoa is cooked when it looks like it is sprouting. Drain any extra liquid.
Add to food processor and continue to pulse. Mixture will become smooth but not completely blended. At least once open the top and scrape down the sides to incorporate all ingredients into the mixture. You will still be able to make out the quinoa grains, they will not be totally blended in.
Spray baking tray with non stick spray.
Press quinoa mixture evenly onto baking tray. Smooth with spatula or press down with your fingers. Mix will still be a bit sticky. Should be about the same thickness as a pancake.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 40 minutes.
When you remove from fridge, take off plastic wrap.
Using cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as needed. You should get between 6 and 8 in a tray, depending on size of cutter.
Bring a large non stick skillet to high heat. Add 2 tsp. olive oil.
Slowly add a few quinoa “pancakes” in at a time. Cook about 4 minutes and flip once. Should have browning color on the edges. Cook another 4 minutes. Remove from pan. Do another batch if you need to.
Place a quinoa “pancake” on each plate and top with a slice of smoked salmon.
To Poach Eggs:
Bring a medium pan to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add white vinegar. (vinegar will keep your egg from separating in the water)
Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Slowly drop into water.
With a slotted spoon slowly guide the egg white back to the center as it attempts to drift away from the yolk. Keep bringing the egg together.
Continue process with remaining eggs. Poach for about 4 minutes.
Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Make sure all liquid is drained. If you need to you can put it on a paper towel to remove more liquid. But be careful to not break the yolk.
Place each egg on top of smoked salmon. Top with fresh cracked black pepper and lemon zest.