I've got lots of Labor Day weekend stuff to tell you about but I'm feeling super blah today thanks to gloomy weather, the beginnings of a cold and a horrible night's sleep (call us Mr. and Mrs. Thrasher Shark). Meh.
Also "meh" are these these quinoa-stuffed baked apples. Well, I thought they were good but Mr. Thrasher Shark didn't agree. And I didn't even bias him against them by disclosing their gluten-free, cane sugar-free and vegan status.
I was excited about this project because nothing says Fall (my favorite season) like the smell of apples and spices wafting through the house. However, thanks to my Momofuku cake-induced sugar overload, I challenged myself to make a healthier, more nutritious version sans butter and sugar. (At this point I don't care to let either of those things pass my lips again, but ask me in a few days...)
This recipe fits the bill on all counts, but if I make it again I'll probably swap out the quinoa and walnuts for rice and almonds because the former are a tad bitter. If you make this recipe I'd love your feedback.
Quinoa-Stuffed Baked Apples
Makes 6 servings
Note: I only measured the cider and quinoa, so all other quantities are approximations.
1 750-ml bottle (about 3 1/4 cups) 100% apple cider
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
6 baking apples (such as Granny Smith or McIntosh)
1/3 cup whole old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free if gluten is an issue)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Measure 1 1/2 cups apple cider into a saucepan and add the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, wash the apples and trim the bottoms so that they stand upright. Use a melon baller or grapefruit spoon to core and hollow out the interior flesh to about 1/2 inch from the exterior. Reserve the non-core flesh for the stuffing and arrange the prepared apples in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
3. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a medium bowl and add the oats, walnuts, raisins or currants, maple syrup, lemon juice, spices and salt. Roughly chop the reserved apple flesh and add it to the quinoa mixture. Toss to combine and moisten with about 1/4 cup apple cider.
4. Evenly spoon the quinoa mixture into the prepared apples and pour the remaining apple cider (about 1 1/2 cups) into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then tent with foil and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are soft. Spoon pan juices over the apples and serve with cream or yogurt, if desired.