lunchbox life: spinach and mushrooms with quinoa and turkey bratwurst

image1(5)Is everyone still hanging in there for January? How are those new year resolutions going? I know that after this past week of lunches, I am feeling so much better and so much less full from the holidays. Because of this, I decided do do another lunch heavy on the greens. If you’ve ever sauteed spinach, you know that it shrinks quickly, so this recipe of five servings calls for a whole pound of spinach. Fiber, folic acid, and protein are the stars of this leafy green, and yes–Popeye approves.

Spinach and mushrooms are a classic combination. Throw in some garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you have some pretty tasty nutrition. Toss in some quinoa and top it with some protein and you have a complete meal. There is a shift in this lunch, however. Instead of making spinach the side dish, why not make it the star?

The turkey bratwurst I used in this lunch is made by Honeysuckle White, a brand found in many grocery stores. At about 160 calories per link, these brats are a nice addition of lean protein.

Spinach and Mushrooms with Quinoa and Turkey Bratwurst

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

5 turkey bratwurst links (I used Honeysuckle White brand)

2 Tbsp. olive oil (each Tbsp. separated)

1 lb. fresh baby spinach

2 lb. sliced white mushrooms

2 green onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper

Cook quinoa according the package directions; set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey bratwursts and cook for about 8 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool.

In a large pot or deep pan, heat the other Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and 1 tsp. salt and cook for about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and green onions, stir to coat in the garlic and oil, and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Next, add the spinach in batches. It will shrink quickly, so be ready to add more spinach when the pan allows for it. Add another tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Stir to combine spinach with the mushrooms until everything is evenly cooked; this only takes a few minutes, so be vigilant!

To plate: separated the spinach mixture into five containers. Slice each brat on the diagonal and arrange the pieces in a line to top the spinach.

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