Tag Archives: quinoa

Alright Already

Santa-Fe Rice & Beans

Santa-Fe Rice & Beans

When I saw the /52weeksofcooking challenge for last week, I was a bit thrown.  TV dinners aren’t something I grew up eating, outside of the rare kidcuisine, and most TV dinners follow a very standard non-vegetarian format.  While I debated replicating the format (1 meat, 2 veggies, 1 dessert), I also thought about some of the vegetarian friendly frozen dinners I enjoyed in high school.  When I first started out on the vegetarian path I had very limited cooking experience, and very little time to experiment since I had school, choir, and a part-time job.  When I got home from work at 10PM I wanted something quick and easy, so microwave dinners were perfect.  One of my favorites was called Santa Fe Rice & Beans, and while I haven’t had it in almost a decade I can still remember the “trick” to getting the rice to be warm without overcooking the beans.  So I set out to recreate this late childhood dish, with delicious (and healthier!) results.

Alright Already

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 serrano chili, diced (can sub jalapeno)
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, pre-soaked (if needed)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1 14.5 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pre-soaked black beans
  • 1 cup pre-soaked pinto beans
  • shredded cheese, optional
  • sour cream (optional)
  • tomatilla salsa (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 7 minutes before adding the pepper. Cook for an additional three minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa along with the brown rice, vegetable stock, tomatoes, and half cup of water. Bring to a quick boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove cover, stir, and then add the remaining water along with the beans. Recover and cook for a final 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/11/alright-already.html

This might not be the standard TV dinner, but I can promise that I enjoyed this dinner many times while watching ER or Law & Order or whatever was on at 10 o’clock back in NBC’s glory days.   I used homemade salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) based on the recipe on this page, however jar salsa, or a tomato based salsa, would work just as well.

Thing to Do

Summer Quinoa

Summer Quinoa

The combination of rain and sun has resulted in a glorious garden, which is resulting in a large amount of delicious produce and with that meals filled with vegetables.  Thanks to some coworkers I’ve had a steady supply of beets and swiss chard, and thanks to my garden I now have large amounts of tomatoes and carrots – a vegetarian paradise!  When it came time to cook everything I relied on the Top Chef motto of “what grows together, goes together” and combined anything and everything to see what would happen.  At the end of the week I had a little bit of everything but with the exception of the tomatoes I didn’t have enough of any of thing to make it a feature.  So everything got tossed together with some quinoa in the ultimate tribute to summer vegetables.

Summer Quinoa

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup beets, cubed
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, presoaked and well washed
  • 1 1/2 cups swiss chard, loosely torn
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 7 minutes before adding the spices and cooking for an additional minute, stirring well.
  2. Add the corn and beets and cook for an additional 5 minutes before adding the beans and swiss chard. Cook until the chard has mostly wilted, about 6 minutes, then add the quinoa and vegetable stock. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa and serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/07/thingtodo.html

I topped mine with some greek yogurt for dinner and had it “naked” for lunch the next day and both ways were amazing.  This is one of those dishes that is guilt free, even if seconds are involved!

Fire WIthin

 Quinoa Verde con Tostada

quinoa_tostada

 

Not going to lie, the theme for  r/52weeksofcooking had me more than a little nervous this week.  I understand the importance of Presentation but I tend to focus more of the substance and taste of the dish and not so much of what it looks like – after all I’m not cooking for Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain or someone else who will comment on whether or not my dish resembles cat food.  However I haven’t missed a challenge yet this year and wasn’t going to start now!  So I thought about all the things I could do before deciding to go with color and vibrancy instead of knife skills or something insanely elaborate – after all I didn’t want to screw up the food in my quest for a pretty plate.  I decided to make something with as many colors in it as possible without going too overboard while utilizing things I already had in my pantry.  Watching an episode on Chopped gave me the inspiration, and confidence, to try making a tostada.  I still had some tortillas left from the taco challenge and since tostadas are traditionally made with slightly stale tortillas the timing was perfect!

Quinoa Verde con Tostada

serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups tri-color quinoa, well rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 tomatillos, diced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (daiya brand shreds also works!)
  • 1 tsp cayenna powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 10-12 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of canola oil in a large sauce pan. Add the quinoa and allow to cook for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil, the cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Set Aside
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the remaining oil along with the cumin seeds. Toast for 3 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomatillos, cook for another 8-10 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and garlic is golden.
  3. Remove lid from quinoa and then add the onion mixture. Stir well then toss in the tomatoes and jalapenos and set aside on a warm burner.
  4. In a medium bowl toss the cheese with the chili powders and set aside.
  5. Rinse the saute pan used for the onion mixture and then heat over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm gently place the tortillas one at a time in the oil. Allow to puff up and turn golden, then flip to the other side and repeat.
  6. Move the cooked tortilla to a plate then cover with the spiced cheese. Once the cheese has melted add the quinoa along with the sliced avocado. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/03/fire_within.html

I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out the perfect way to plate this dish, I wanted to make sure everything could be seen and keep the picture from being too saturated.  I wound up plating the dish four different ways before picking this option.  Needless to say doing this dish gave me a great appreciation for people who do this on a regular basis and will probably result in much better pictures as I will be paying a lot more attention in the future!!!

 

This Feel

Garlicky Kale Salad with Grains

chickpea_kale_salad

This past holiday season I got a large number of cookbooks, and I’m still going through them almost a month later and probably will be for weeks to come.  I’ve already tested a few recipes from the Tagine cookbook, and decided to stop neglecting the others and see what goodies that had in store.   One of them is Raising the Salad Bar, and while it’s not a vegetarian cookbook, its setup makes it very easy to bypass the meat and go straight to the good stuff.  There are set recipes to follow but also tips for how to pick and choice various parts of each salad in order to come up with something totally new.   So using the grain section as a guide I decided to throw something together based on what I had left from various meals during the week.

Garlicky Kale and Grain Salad

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp EVOO, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Kale, loosely torn and well washed
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas
  • For Dressing
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vineger
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of EVOO in a large sauce pan and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden, then slowly start adding the kale. Once all the kale has been added turn off the heat, cover, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat the remaining EVOO in a saucepan and then add the shallots. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the quinoa and stir well. Add the vegetable stock then turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once mixture has come to a boil, cover and turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, stir, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Once the quinoa has almost finished cooking, about 5 minutes left, mix up the salad dressing. Then add half to the quinoa, stir well, and add the remaining dressing.
  4. Serve the grain mixture over the kale and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/01/this-feel.html

Even tho I’ve primarily been vegetarian for the past decade I’ve never been a big salad person, seeing them as side dishes or appetizers but rarely as the main course.  This book is quickly changing my mind regarding what makes up a salad and while this salad certainly isn’t fancy but it’s quick, simple, and very filling.

Shark Under Water

Quinoa with Acorn Squash

Another new seasonal vegetable!  Acorn squash was once of the seasonal squashes I had always seen at the market, but since it’s normally right next to the butternut squash I would skip over it.  This time I went straight for it and grabbed a large white squash.  Typically I got for the mid-range options but since I had two recipes to try I knew I would need a bigger than normal baby.  Once I got home I split it down the middle, wrapping half and placing in the fridge for later in the week.  The other half was seeded, reserving the seeds for a tasty late-night snack as well as a topping for the quinoa.  I had debated how to cook the squash, before deciding to saute this half and bake the second half so that I could try out the two most popular methods.   The “base recipe” is one I have used many, many, many times with other gourds that way I could get a good comparison between the acorn squash and those I have had in the past.

Acorn Squash with Quinoa

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 lb acorn squash, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, well washed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spices, stir and cook for 30seconds before adding the garlic and onion. Cook for 5minutes before adding the squash and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes. The squash should be tender with glossy flesh.
  2. Add the quino, vegetable stock, and water then turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir, cover, and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 20minutes then fluff the quinoa and Serve! I topped mine with greek yogurt but sour cream or nothing would also work.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2012/10/shark-under-water.html

I wasn’t impressed with how well the squash didn’t stand up to the recipe, but the taste was still amazing which is what really matters.  At the last moment I decided to top it with some Greek Yogurt, just to see what it would do and I really enjoyed the creaminess it added to the dish.  As a bonus there is also a coupon on the linked website, so great excuse to give it a try if you haven’t! (btw this company has no idea who I am, just noticed the coupon offer when I went to find a link to the brand I used)

For the seeds after making sure they were dry and clean, I coated them in olive oil and tossed them in a mixture of paprika, cayenne powder, and salt and then sauted them in EVOO.  I cooked them until they were a nice golden brown shade, stirring frequently to prevent popping and burning.