Flower Power: Quinoa with Orange Blossom Infused Strawberries


Meet the new darling of my kitchen, orange blossom water.

photo-152I have the Recipe  Redux to thank and the June  theme, Floral Flavors:

 Nothing brightens up a dish like a real flower! Whether you live in the northern or the southern hemisphere, edible flowers can add flavor and aroma to salads, breads, spreads, desserts or dips. Make your recipe bloom with rose water, flowering herbs, floral teas, dried lavender blossoms or even fresh flowers like nasturtiums, violets, borage, squash, sunflowers or pretty much any blossom in a vegetable garden..

Last Wednesday, when faced with trying to come up with a recipe for this floral theme, I purchased my first bottle of orange blossom water. What is orange blossom water? Water distilled with the essence of flowers from orange trees, aka orange flower water.  It was surprisingly easy to find (in the International section of the regular grocery store). And here’s an instance where I wish there was smell technology so you could get a whiff of this stuff! It’s  about the  closest smelling thing to honeysuckle I ‘ve encountered.   (I feel an urge to  get my entire kitchen smelling this good.)

When I purchase this perfumed water,  I had no plan, and feeling the need to get acquainted I started to add it  to just about everything  I was consuming on Wednesday. First  a few drops into my bottled water, then a teaspoon added to my salad dressing at lunchtime, a splash into a berry smoothie. But the best match was, hands down,

 sweet  strawberries combined with fresh bitter orange blossoms. When I  added  in  the nutty taste of quinoa,  my work was done! It made a terrific side  to a meal of  coconut chicken, and broccolini. The next day, it was my breakfast cereal with a glass of cold milk. How about nutrition? Glad you asked. This dish is gluten free, fat free, low in sodium, a source of fiber, protein and vitamin C. Please check out the links to see what my colleagues have created with this fun floral theme.

Quinoa with Orange Blossom Infused Strawberries

serves 4-6

by Diane Boyd


  • 2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange blossom infused water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds


1.Place strawberries in a pie plate. Sprinkle with sugar and orange blossom  water. Allow to sit.

2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Place quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and grain appears soft and translucent and the germ ring is visible along the outside edge of the grain. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 20 minutes.

3. Add quinoa to strawberry mixture. Add coconut flakes and almonds and gently toss to combine.

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Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean Relish

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean Relish

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Mushroom Council and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’ve never been one to kiss and tell  and I believe maintaining a bit of mystery sustains excitement.  So on Wednesday afternoon, when I prepped some vegan stuffed  portabella mushrooms, I thought it unnecessary to reveal what I used when I swapped out the meat. However,  my daughter wouldn’t have it. Husband on the other hand, walked in,  grabbed a wedge of  my never been taste tested vegan stuffed portabella mushrooms like it was a slice of pizza (balsamic glaze dripping off his fingers), and inhaled it without even a mention of what he was eating. He still doesn’t know that I stuffed these babies with …shhh… tofu. But seriously, who would have thought! This vegan dish is delicious hot or cold, as an appetizer or entree. And not only that, it’s nutrient rich; providing vitamins (including vitamin D), minerals  and  protein for relatively few calories.

Using portabella mushrooms as a base for stuffing and topping (with or without meat) is one way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Another way is to chopped them and use them (or other mushroom varieties)  as meat extenders. Mushrooms blend wonderfully with lots of protein sources (including beef, pork, chicken, turkey and  fish). So I say you give it a try; then enter the Mushroom Council’s consumer recipe contest, ‘Swap It or Top It’ where you might win $5000!


Find out more about why mushrooms are Nature’s Hidden Treasure, and don’t forget to visit the links at the bottom of this post for more amazing recipes that keep mushrooming.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean RelishStuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Corn and Black Bean Relish

4 entrees or 24 appetizer servings

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Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms with Roasted Corn and Black Bean Relish

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 large portabella mushrooms, wiped clean, stems and gills removed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm tofu, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

for the corn and black bean relish

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cup fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 3 T balsamic glaze
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt and freshly gound pepper to taste


for the black bean and corn relish

1 Place olive oil in saute pan ove medium high heat. Add the corn and saute until corn begins to brown. Add black beans and heat through.

2. Remove from heat. Add balsamic glaze, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a slotted spoon and set aside at room temperature.

for the stuffed mushrooms

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Stir the balsamic vinegar, and garlic together in a small bowl until blended. Place the mushrooms into a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture over the mushrooms, seal bag, and turn gently to coat mushrooms evenly with marinade. Place in refrigerator for one hour.

2. Place olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions, and red pepper. Saute until softened.

3. Add tofu, lime juice, salt and cumin. Cook while stirring until mixture looks like scrambled eggs. Add cilantro.

4.  Remove mushrooms from marinade and place in a baking dish top sides down.

5. Spoon the tofu mixture evenly over the mushrooms and bake about 12 minutes.

6. Top each stuffed mushrooom with roasted corn and black bean relish. Slice into wedges.

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