Pistachio-Crusted Fish with Spinach Quinoa

A recent
medical checkup came back with all great numbers except for one - cholesterol - and most of the suggestions they made for diet changes were things I was already doing. I truly believe that one should never make food the enemy. Instead I live by the adage all things in moderation.

If I am making a fancy dinner for family or friends, I don't worry about the cut of meat or adding cheese and cream. It's during the week when I'm making regular meals that I try to keep things as healthy as possible. However, with my numbers up for no discernable reason, I decided to look at an article with 77 heart healthy recipes on the Woman's Day website.  The title doesn't mean there are no fat, carbs or calories.  Many are simply an attempt to make a recipe just that bit healthier than the norm. 

Pistachio-Crusted Fish with Spinach Quinoa checked off more boxes than most.  The fat really was kept to a minimum, and used a healthier olive oil throughout.  The quinoa was cooked in water and tossed with a pile of spinach once done. The question in my mind was simply, would this taste good.

I am really terrible at cooking fish. Thank goodness for frozen varieties. After having an amazing Mahi Mahi burger I enjoyed while visiting Maui, I was determined to get better at it. This recipe would be my first foray into cooking more fish.  Thankfully we both loved it. Spreading a layer of plain Greek yogurt on the cod filets kept them moist and added a tangy note. The topping of panko crumbs and finely chopped pistachios was perfect.  I can't wait to make this again. 

As for the side. I was concerned about the spinach as they just toss it with the hot quinoa and lemon jucie and served. This left it mostly intact. I ended up covering the pot for a bit to let it wilt which made it much easier to eat.  But the image of the quinoa with raw spinach has a better look. You can see the original here.  In the end it's up to you.  Enjoy!

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Pistachio-Crusted Fish with Spinach Quinoa
4 servings

Ingredients - 

3/4 C                     Quinoa (I like multicolor)
4                            6-ounce pieces firm skinless white fish (I used cod)
3/4 tsp                   Salt - divided
1/2 tsp                   Pepper - divided
4 T                        Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 C                    Whole-wheat panko (I prefer regular so used them)
1/4 C                     Unsalted shelled pistachios finely chopped (I used a food processor)
2 T                        Olive oil - divided
4 C                        Baby spinach (I used 3, depends how tight you pack it)
2 T                        Lemon juice

Directions - 

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Cook quinoa per package directions. Pat the fish very dry with paper towels and place in a non-stick foil 9 x 12 pan prepared pan (I sprayed with Pam). You can also line with foil if you like. Season fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then place 1 tablespoon nonfat Greek yogurt on each and spread gently into an even layer.

Mix whole-wheat (or regular) panko crumbs and chopped pistachios with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over the fish, pressing gently to adhere. Bake on a nonstick foil-lined rimmed baking sheet at 375°F until opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.

Fluff quinoa when done, then add baby spinach, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; toss to combine and serve with fish. Note - as I said above I wilted the spinach in the hot quinoa with the lid on.  It was not as pretty to look at but I thought it was easier to eat this way.