Tag Archives: quinoa

VegWeek Day 1, Breakfast Quinoa

25 Sep

VegWeek - Pledge to go Veg, Sept 25-Oct 2, 2011

It’s that time of year again, time for Veg Week! Since last year’s blogs, I’ve grown to love veggies in a big way, learned to eat more simply, and simply eat less. I’m still firmly in the “flexitarian” bracket, but more conscious than ever. I have gotten to the point where eating meat more than once a day feels weird. I’d like to get down to eating it once or twice a week.

The thing I really struggle with, though, is dairy. Dairy in all its many forms – butter, heavy cream, yogurt, and cheese (okay, and the occasional ice cream) are staples in my diet. I have a sneaking suspicion that I don’t process them well, but with the exception of almond milk, the vegan alternatives haven’t really interested me. So to challenge myself this week, I’m going to do just that – go vegan.

Besides recipes, I’ll be sharing useful websites, books, documentaries, and other information about animal rights and the vegetarian lifestyle. I’ll also be sharing resources on humane farming, for those who want to make conscious choices but aren’t ready to go vegetarian yet.

Finally, a big hearty thanks to Animal Protection and Rescue League for sponsoring San Diego’s VegWeek! Check them out online or make friends on facebook. You might want to sign up for their daily VegWeek newsletter or join the facebook event, and you can also support them by shopping/donating at their awesome thrift store!

I’m so honored to have recently met some of the great people who make this organization happen. Your passion, love, and kindness move me.

piggie piglet

Image by whiskersnaps.com, via cute overload

Breakfast Quinoa

To kick off VegWeek, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe that kicks off a lot of my mornings – breakfast quinoa. Like the Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl I blogged previously, this concept is versatile and can be applied to any number of grains. I like quinoa for the nuttiness and the texture. Plus, it’s super quick-cooking and I can make it fresh before work.

Here’s what I do for about 4 servings:

Boil 1 1/2 cups water
Rinse 1 cup quinoa
Turn heat down to low, add quinoa
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

quinoaI buy it in bulk.

Next comes the fun part – add-ins! I mix and match ingredients from the following categories:

*lube*
vegan margarine, almond milk, nondairy yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, fruit preserves

*sweetener*
honey, agave nectar, brown sugar

*spices*
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, orange zest

*nuts*
walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds

*fruit*
fresh – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana, mango, kiwi, apple
dried – raisins, cranberries, apricots, currants, dates apples

Here are a few of the concoctions I’ve devised so far:

Red, White & Blue

red white & blue quinoa - strawberries, blueberries, bananaspat of butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberries, blueberries, banana

Banana Bread

banana nutplain yogurt or almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, banana, walnuts

Apple Cinnamon

apple cinnamon quinoaalmond milk or heavy cream, apple butter, sauteed and fresh apples

Trail Mix Quinoa

trail mix quinoaalmond milk, vanilla extract, agave nectar, cinnamon, dried cranberries, walnuts, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips

yet-to-be-photographed…

Maple-Date-Pecan

plain or vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, nutmeg, chopped dates, chopped pecans

Tropical Quinoa

coconut milk, sweetened flaked coconut, mango slices, chopped macadamia nuts

Chocolate Chip Cookie Quinoa
(okay, maybe not for breakfast…)

plain yogurt, vanilla extract, brown sugar, mini chocolate chips, walnuts

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Lunchtime Quinoa Salad

22 Jul

Hey! This is an impromptu post because I was excited about my lunch today, and because I’ve been terrible at blogging lately. As such, I don’t have any pictures to share with you. But I hope this might inspire you with a break in the doldrums that can be packing a work lunch.

eat your veggies!
(Ah, what the heck, here’s a picture I stole from the interwebs.)

What I prepped for myself last night might well be called a “fridge-cleaning salad,” because I used almost entirely ingredients I had leftover from other cooking ventures. Here’s how it went:

quinoa – cooked fresh, since I always keep some on-hand from bulk bins
feta cheese – leftover from frittatas and salads
walnut oil, lemon zest, and black pepper – always on-hand
pine nuts – about 1 tablespoon left in the bag
black olives (sliced, from a can) – leftover from a frittata
cherry tomatoes – bought fresh
carrot – bought fresh
cilantro – bought fresh
red bell pepper – leftover from frittata and a tuna salad
onion – leftover from who-knows-what
jalapeno – leftover from a tuna salad

I have a tendency to get bored with cold, lettuce-based salads, so I really enjoyed using quinoa as a base this time. I nuked the quinoa for about 40 seconds and the veggie-feta mixture for about 10, just to remove the refrigerator chill before combining them. Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber, as well as gluten-free, so it’s primo vegetarian fuel.

quinoaThis site has even more info about quinoa!

My cooking method is to boil 1 1/4 cups of water, then turn the heat to low and add in 3/4 cups of quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. I used about half the quinoa in this batch, and the other half I’ll probably prep for breakfast (another blog to come in the future!).

veggie loveMuch to my delight, this made a yummy, healthy, and very filling salad! And it was good geeky fun to see how much I could throw into it. I’m sure I will be making more salads like this in the future.

If you decide to try this out, I’d love to hear about your concoction in the comments section! 🙂

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

2 Feb

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
~Harriet Van Horne

Recipe source: Good Cheap Eats

stuffed red bell pepper

When cooking for guests, it’s always nice to have a “stunner” recipe in your repertoire – something that is beautiful to the eye, complex to the palate, enticing to the nose, and kind to the stomach. This is just such a recipe. It can be made as a main course or side dish, and is friendly to vegetarians and Celiacs alike.

The first step of this recipe is to prepare the filling. And the filling is so good, you might just want to stop there! (No, seriously… it’s great even by itself as a one-dish meal. Don’t fret if you have extra!)

Begin by cooking quinoa, carrots, and water in a covered saucepan for about 20 minutes.

carrots & quinoa

At the same time, saute onion, celery, and poblano pepper, season with cumin and garlic, and then add in sliced mushrooms and drained canned tomatoes.

onions & peppers

When the quinoa is tender, stir in black beans, shredded pepperjack cheese*, and the onion mixture. Your filling is now ready.

*Taste tip: You can make these vegan by omitting the cheese. Entertaining bonus! Everyone is welcome. 🙂

yummy quinoa mixture

Next, pour liquid from tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish (a 9×13 glass dish worked well for me) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you’re making this recipe as a side, slice the bell peppers in half vertically and scoop out the seeds and as much membrane as possible.

*Shopping tip: For this serving especially, try to find peppers with the shallowest bottom possible. The curvier your peppers are, the less room you will have to fill them inside. After cutting one open, you’ll see what I mean.

stuffed green bell peppers

If these are going to be a main dish, cut only the tops off the peppers. If you reserve them, they make cute little hats at the dinner table! You can get creative with the colors of peppers you serve as well – I stuffed red and green peppers for a Christmas dinner last year.

stuffed red & yellow bell peppers

Fill each bell pepper with a heaping serving of filling, and place in the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and sprinkle each pepper with a bit more cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

RECIPE – Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 3/4 cups water
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, divided
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise to serve 8 or tops removed to serve 4

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

In a separate saucepan with a lid, stir in quinoa, carrots, and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Combine quinoa and carrots with black beans, 1 cup of cheese, and the onion mixture from the first step. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour reserved liquid from tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish.

Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup of quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates and drizzle with pan juices before serving.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.