Teriyaki Beef on Lettuce & Quinoa

11 Mar

I love when I find recipes that are a little different from my usual and still delicious, and this definitely qualifies!

My sister and I have been exchanging meal plans for just over a year now and it has definitely resulted in a huge stack of new “regulars” in my cooking schedule.  One day when we were talking about how low we both were on cooking inspiration in our teeny tiny kitchens (I couldn’t even fit  a 9×13 pan in my apartment oven), we decided to give this a try and it is still going strong!  (Although I definitely owe you a meal plan, Smels. I’ll get on that).

This recipe is adapted from one sent by Chelsea, and the whole family loved it, minus the lettuce for the 2-year-old.  She always realizes after chewing several pieces of lettuce that this is not something she will able to swallow and if there’s one thing that ruins my pretty unflappable appetite it is watching chewed food make a reappearance on her plate.

I’ve been experimenting with quinoa (keen-wah) lately, it being the latest in an ever-changing line of “super-foods”, and I like it better than rice.  Having said that, I don’t think too highly of rice, the uglier cousin of the belle of the ball, pasta.  However, you can’t eat pasta EVERY night, so sometimes you have to have potatoes, or rice, or bread, or….QUINOA! (I don’t know who makes these lousy rules, but hey, rules are rules.)

But really, it’s a cute little ancient grain, a complete protein packed with iron and fiber and other good things, and it cooks exactly like rice does, at a 1:2 ratio of grain:water, with the addition of a little rinse before cooking to take away any bitterness.  This recipe can just as easily be made with rice (I know because the original recipe tried to talk me into rice), but it’s a delicious way to try out quinoa for the first time!

Unfortunately, I got halfway through my meal before I remembered to take a picture of the deliciousness, so I apologize for the half-eaten look, which , although realistic, does not capture the beauty of the dish when you bring it to the table, which is downright ooooh and aahhh worthy.

Teriyaki Beef on Lettuce & Quinoa (or rice)

Serves 4

1 cup uncooked quinoa (or rice), rinsed and drained (I use a sieve, since obviously it will fall right through a colander)

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef

1 ¾ cups water (2 cups if you like your rice or quinoa a bit softer/stickier)

1 ½ cups milk

½ cup thick teriyaki sauce

2 large carrots, shredded

1 clove garlic, minced or finely shredded

1 tbsp minced, peeled gingerroot, or 1 tsp dried ginger

2 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp ground black pepper

8 leaves romaine lettuce, or a bunch of shredded lettuce

Optional garnish: Toasted sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds


Combine rice or quinoa with ½ tsp salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-17 minutes, until tender and water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ground beef and brown, breaking up, until no pink remains, about 7 minutes.  Drain off any excess fat.  Stir in milk and teriyaki sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.  Stir in shredded carrots, garlic and ginger.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir in green onions, lemon juice and pepper.

Place lettuce leaves on serving plates, 2 per person, and top with quinoa/rice and beef mixture.  Alternatively, pile chopped or shredded lettuce on a large serving platter and top with quinoa and beef mixture.

If desired, garnish with sliced almonds or sesame seeds for a bit of crunch.

7 Responses to “Teriyaki Beef on Lettuce & Quinoa”

  1. Raych March 11, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Cooked quinoa looks like tiny condoms. THAT BEING SAID, this looks delicious.

    • hiddenponies March 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      I will never look at it the same again. Perhaps that is why I like it better than rice?

  2. Sara March 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I could practically live on rice (almost)…but on Delrose American Basmati brand…it’s delicious…and I find that every other kind reminds me of cardboard (never really tasted that but…)…The U.S. actually makes some of the best rice in the world (can’t remember the source) but I believe it based on the taste….pasta is the one I could give up. 🙂

  3. Katy March 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Anna, this is perfect timing. I’ve got some quinoa in my pantry and I’ve been looking for interesting recipes to try it with. This is definitely going on my meal plan for next week. I’ll need to make a few substitutions, so I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  4. Erin Kampen March 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I love quinoa! I have it as a gluten-free substitute for pasta when rice becomes too blah and basic and it rises to the occasion wonderfully… I will have to try this. 🙂 Love you!

  5. sarah March 12, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    looks yummy, but I don’t know if I could convince the rest of the family to give it a shot. You may have to invite me over to try it one time when Alex is out of town 🙂

  6. Heidi March 20, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Mmm… I made this a couple nights ago, and just finished the leftovers. Yum! Bryan was intrigued by the quinoa, especially when I told him that it was super good for you. He said this dish “tastes healthy, but it’s STILL good!”. Well, that’s okay with me! 🙂 And little Adelyn loved the sauce and quinoa. That makes it a winner in our household.

    Thanks for sharing!

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