I am perpetually mystified by those people that do not eat breakfast. Or the folks that have a piece of toast and a cup of coffee and go on their way, inexplicably full despite eating what I would consider little more than a bowl of air. I wake up HUNGRY. If I don’t eat, then watch out because I am unhappy, very cranky, and even more short-tempered than usual. Suffice it to say, breakfast for me has to be substantial. A bowl of cold cereal just isn’t going to get the job done. Give me a bowl of oatmeal or a giant smoothie that requires a quart size mason jar to serve it and then I’m happy.
I understand that mornings are busy. Ours are definitely busy, which is why I make lots of baked oatmeal. It’s delicious, it freezes well; it’s a perfect make ahead breakfast. The other week, I was lamenting over the fact that I was out of my regular oats and I discovered that I apparently went on a bulgur bender over the past few months because I have enough bulgur in my pantry to feed the entire populace of Turkey. I did some experimenting and I now have a new favorite hot breakfast that combines cooked bulgur and quick cooking steel cut oats. The bulgur makes it extra chewy and the apples and raisins give it some sweetness without adding lots of extra sugar. An added bonus is that bulgur has a similar nutritional profile to oats, but with twice the fiber.
It is my general belief that more people would eat their vegetables if they came in colors as beautiful as those found in swiss chard. The stems are practically hot pink! Why wouldn’t you want to eat that? Don’t even get me started on the fact that swiss chard as a great source of Magnesium as well as Vitamins K and C.
Be that as it may, to some, the idea of eating a plateful of chard is less than appealing (Yes, Ray, I mean you). Here, we pair some sauteed chard with caramelized onions and Gruyere in a quinoa crust. The onions are sweet, the Gruyere is nutty, and you don’t even realize you’re eating something that’s actually really good for you, which is exactly how I prefer my food to be. You could definitely substitute any old swiss cheese here, but one reason you can use so little is because Gruyere has a more intense flavor than your average swiss. If you splurge for it, wrap up the rest and throw it in your freezer, because we’ll use it again in the future!
Do me a favor, and don’t wig out about the prospect of a quinoa crust. It’s actually a fantastic idea. I thought for about five minutes that I was the brainchild behind this whole concept, until I Googled “quinoa crust” out of curiosity and discovered that not only did I not create it, but I’m actually late to the quinoa crust party. I wish I could adequately describe it with a word other than “chewy” or “crispy,” both of which seem entirely too prosaic for an idea that is so innovative. Unfortunately for you, I’m getting nowhere on that front, so I suppose you’ll just have to give it a try and find out for yourself.
If you have never cooked quinoa, don’t be afraid. It is cooked much like couscous or rice. Do make sure to rinse your quinoa before putting it in the pot, otherwise it can have a bitter flavor. Once cooked and cooled somewhat, combine it with a beaten egg and press the mixture into a pie pan to form your crust. I found that getting the mixture evenly distributed was most easily done by using a large dry measuring cup to press the mixture down and around the sides of the pan.