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If you’ve seen little hints here and there, you’ll know that I’m following a cleanse. My husband doesn’t appreciate the concept or the commentary. I’ll try to be good and keep it hush-hush (from him, not you).

Cleanse benefit #1: After weaning myself from my daily ritual of two good strong cups of coffee first thing in the morning, I’ve discovered that sleep is once again my friend. Apparently that was enough caffeine to wake me at 3 a.m. every night and keep me up for several hours. Who knew that caffeine could have such a strong and long lasting effect?

Here’s something else that will let you sleep like a baby. A simple, but delicious meal of Hearty Fall Kugel with Root Veggie Slaw will fill you up and leave you feeling calm and relaxed. You’ll wonder why you bother with foods that need so much attention and energy to digest.

Hearty Kugel with Root Veggie Slaw

Hearty Fall Kugel

  • 1 c quinoa, cooked with a pinch of sea salt, then cooled to room temperature
  • 16 oz spinach or arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 T dried basil or 4 sprigs, chopped
  • 3/4 t tarragon
  • 2/3 c each grated cheddar, cottage cheese, ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan and sauté onion on medium heat for several minutes until softened and slightly browned. Add mushrooms, stir and cook several more minutes, then add garlic, basil and tarragon. Stir for 1 minute, then add spinach and cook, stirring just until the spinach wilts. If necessary, add the spinach in 2 batches, with a few teaspoons of water to keep the second batch from sticking. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

If your cottage cheese has lumps, blend it until smooth. In a large bowl, combine all the cheese with the eggs and add a dash of pepper. Add the spinach mixture and the quinoa, stir well, then place in a 9×9-inch casserole. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Serves 6-8. Serve with Root Veggie Slaw, steamed broccoli and leaf lettuce salad.

Root Veggie Slaw

  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 1 small celery root, grated
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t Ajiwian seeds

Combine all ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste. Keeps well for several days. Serves 6.

Hearty Fall Kugel and Root Veggie Slaw Print Ready Recipe

Hearty Kugel with Root Veggie Slaw

Final notes:

  • Hearty Fall Kugel with Root Veggie Slaw recipes are courtesy of fabulous chef Anne Zikan from Centre Tara. It’s worth going to the Shri Yoga retreat just for Anne’s meals.
  • This Hearty Kugel is perfect as is but for a dairy-free version, substitute 2/3 cup of ground, lightly roasted sunflower seeds for the cheese and chia seeds—see note below—for the eggs. Anybody out there have any other good dairy substitution ideas?
  • Wondering how to bake with a non-dairy egg substitute? Mix a tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, stir, wait 5 minutes and stir again.
  • The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.”
  • I have to thank Canadian non-fiction writer Merrily Weisbord for introducing me to The Love Queen of Malabar. I haven’t met either of them in person, but I’ve read Merrily’s biography of Kamala Das and feel touched by her life story and her creative writing. The Times of London called her “the mother of modern English Indian poetry.”
  • Did you notice that I made some changes to the temperature and cooking time on the Brisket Steeped in Coffee and Beer recipe. Yep, forever jittery!