Tag Archives: quinoa

Tabouleh… gesundheit…?

Tabouleh is an awesome snack, exotic salad or side dish that’s relatively simple to prepare and sure to impress. You can use traditional bulgur if you want but I can’t make any recommendations on how to prepare it.I make mine with quinoa because of the whole gluten thing and this is my interpretation of the traditional dish. Parsley is the star in this dish: it’s a great home remedy for bad breath (truly, it works… don’t tell my boyfriend) so if you’re inviting that good looking soul with the gnarly breath over for dinner, consider this bad boy for your appetizer. You’ll need the following:

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup  water

1/2 lemon

1 generous bunch of parsley

1 tomato, diced

2 tbsp chopped mint (optional, but makes it very authentic)

pinch of sea salt

pinch of pepper (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

Combine the quinoa, olive oil and the water in a microwave safe dish and microwave at 2 minute intervals until the water is absorbed. Here’s my quinoa in the microwave… don’t judge me. I’m a little lazy.

Meanwhile, chop up the parsley (make sure it’s well rinsed so there’s no grit in your tabouleh), mint if you’re adding it, tomato and onion.

Put the tomato and greens in a bowl.

Add the onion to the quinoa after the liquid is absorbed and microwave another 2 minutes, until it starts to get soft. The onion will add some sweetness to balance the tart lemon and herbal parsley. Combine the tomato and parsley with the hot quinoa, sprinkle salt, and squeeze the lemon over the top. The heat will cause the parsley to wilt slightly and take on the flavors of the dish.

Mix again and refrigerate until you’re ready. I think it’s better cold, but warm pleases too.

This is Christie, signing off.

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Butternut squash: that’s what she said!

Butternut squash is so easy to prepare and so delicious you might punch yourself for not having prepared it for yourself and your family sooner. It’s loaded with vitamin A and C and is also a great source of calcium and iron. All you have to do is slice it into bite sized pieces, coat the pieces lightly with olive oil and space them out on a metal baking sheet lined with wax paper. Bake them at 375F/190C for 40 minutes, turning them at 2 or three times. They should begin to caramelize around the edges. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve.

I ate mine with my variant of bachelor chow which I prefer to prepare in the microwave. I add 1/4 cup of French lentils to 1 cup of water, microwave it for 2 minutes and add another 1/4 cup of red quinoa. I microwave it 2 minutes at a time until all the liquid is absorbed. I season it with the following.
1 teaspoon of onion salt
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
a few dashes of hot sauce
a 1 inch cube of Teese mozzarella cheese (this makes it sticky enough to eat with chopsticks)
and salt to taste


You might also have noticed some Brussels sprouts on my plate too. I cut a cross into the top of each one, drizzeld a little balsamic vinegar over it and placed them on the baking sheet with the squash for the last 15 minutes of the bake. I like my green veggies pretty crispy, if you’re used to softer vegetables, cook them 25 minutes and turn them once.

This is Christie, signing off… to go bake the seeds from the squash!

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Strawberry crisp: delicious, easy, healthy… what’s not to like?

I went strawberry picking with some friends Sunday. You might ask, “it’s the middle of December and you’re doing WHAT!?” It’s Florida, our weather is so good it’s criminal.
I’m going to make a quick note about sugar before we start. You might notice that I haven’t listed granulated sugar in any of the recipes I’ve submitted to this forum. It’s always molasses, agave nectar, etc. The granulated sugar that you buy at the supermarket isn’t vegan. It’s bleached using the charred bones of animals. If that wasn’t icky enough, brown sugar is granulated white sugar mixed with molasses. WTF?
Anyways, other available sweeteners have unique flavors and nutrients that are removed from granulated sugar during processing. For example, I use molasses for most of my sugar needs. I like that it comes from plants and has iron in it. Girls need a little extra iron, right? Ounce for ounce, molasses has almost 3 times the iron of beef and none of the cholesterol. Black strap molasses has a unique earthy flavor robust enough to eat drizzled over plain tofu. I also like maple syrup because it’s delicious and promotes preservation of old growth forests. It has a light woody flavor that’s great for cookies and cakes. Sometimes I get granulated coconut sugar at my farmer’s market. It’s lightly fragrant and creamy in flavor. I’m a big fan of agave and rice nectar: both have low glycemic indexes and a light mellow honey-like flavor but it’s beginning to sound like all unrefined sugars are my favorite. Let’s talk strawberry crisp. In this recipe I used turbinado sugar (which is actually semi-refined sugar) but granulated coconut or maple sugar work fine.
You can use any kind of sweet non-citrus fruit for this recipe as far as I’m concerned. Frozen or fresh – it doesn’t matter, just as long as it’s ripe. I’ve done this with peaches, apples, blueberries, and today I’m using strawberries.
5 cups fresh fruit, pitted and sliced (I like to leave the peel on but you can take it off)
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tbsp corn starch, tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tsp)
I just mixed them directly in a glass baking dish
For the topping,
1 cup quinoa flakes or rolled oats
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (granulated maple or coconut sugar are fine too but harder to find)
1/2 cup flour (I used rice but whatever kind you like)
almond milk to texture
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
cinnamon or pumpkin spice to taste
In a medium sized bowl, stir the dry ingredients together.
Work the olive oil in, and then the almond milk. Stop adding when it starts to get crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake 375F/190C, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the topping starts to brown.
Serve hot and enjoy! Soy or coconut milk ice cream is an excellent compliment.
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A Breakfast Date With Quinoa

I am entering week 5 of going vegan, and it is just now that I am starting to really miss the convenience and ease of making eggs for breakfast. Tofu scrambles are a fine alternative, but I was fresh out of tofu this morning and felt mild depression at the thought of having plain toast or fruit. Christie posted a recipe for Quinoa Pudding a few months ago on her Facebook page and I thought today would be the perfect day to try it out. I had to get creative, though, because I was missing one of the key ingredients. So, here is my variation on Christie’s original quinoa pudding recipe.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups almond milk
6-8 dates, pits removed
walnuts (optional)
water

Rinse the quinoa well and cook. I won’t get much more specific here since I cook quinoa in a rice cooker… follow the directions on the package. Using a rice cooker also allowed me to do everything else without having to keep an eye on the quinoa.

You may want to soften the dates before you start the next step: I took 7 dates, warmed them in a shallow bowl with some water for about 20 seconds to soften them, and then I removed the pits. Using a food processor or blender, mix together the dates and almond milk until smooth. I only had one 8 oz package of almond milk, so I added a 1/2 cup of water into the mix. The mixture was really sweet as-is, so I didn’t add any sweeteners.

Add the mixture to the cooked quinoa. Stir gently over medium heat until it’s creamy, about 10 minutes.

While it’s heating up, take a handful of crushed walnuts and then added it to the mix if you’d like. I used the bottom of a glass to crush the walnuts I had.

Remove from heat and eat it warm!  I wish I had more almond milk so that it would have come out more creamy. My Dad had some and added some regular milk to it (I grew up adding evaporated milk to my oatmeal). Sprinkle cinnamon or add raisins to make it more fun.

P.S. I was never a fan of dates, which may explain why I am still single… oh, wait. Wrong blog. I was never a fan of dates until I started using them in recipes. Now, I sort of love them!

If you’ve got vegan breakfast recipes or ideas that you’d like to share, head on over to the contact page and let us know! Til then, happy cooking. –Melissa

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Delicious/Disgusting Bachelor Chow

Here’s the deal : I like mixing different food together to make something new. Ultimately, it looks unappetizing, inedible. I don’t care because it’s me eating it.

This is why writing for this blog is going to be decidedly difficult.

When I first started going vegan with by better half, I hit the same wall all soon-to-be-vegans do : WTF can you eat that doesn’t have meat or dairy in it? My go-to was rice.

Rice is deceptively easy to cook if you treat it tenderly and with respect. I prefer brown rice which is harder to cook for some, mostly because it takes longer to cook. And I must admit that it took (and is taking) a lot of trial and error to get the texture right. But the result is healthier than white rice.

Regardless of which kind of rice you choose to cook, rice by itself is pretty effing dull. Granted, you’ll get some basic nutrition out of it, but without loading up on soy sauce it can pretty much suck. Especially when you eat it every. night. like I did when I was first going vegan.

My solution to the boring rice problem was Bachelor Chow.

No, it’s not the dog food you see on Futurama. Rather, it’s a mix of things that can be super easy to cook, and winds up giving you an extraordinary amount of nutrition. Then I proceed to make it into junkfood with the things I add to it.

Let’s begin with the ground-level edition of BachChow, shall we?

BACHELOR CHOW

~6 Cups Water
1 Cup Brown Rice
1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Cup Lentils

Estimated prep/cooking time ~50 minutes

Get a pot big enough to furnish ~7-8 Cups of material. Drop your water in there, and bring it to a full boil. Dump the rice, quinoa, and lentils all into the boiling water. Wait until the water starts to act all uppity and try to boil over, and drop the burner head down to medium heat (a little above medium is sufficient). Now, you play the waiting game.

With rice, you shouldn’t have to stir it to make it do its thing. Just let the boiling water do the work. Wait a half hour, and then return to the pot. If it still has water, let it boil another 5 minutes or so. But once holes start appearing in the mixture, that’s when it’s go time (Read : Get ready to make sure you don’t lose your batch of Bach to the burn deities).

Get your wooden spoon and go around the edges of the mixture to keep it from sticking. Then go from the outside of the pan in, so you scrape the bottom of the pot. If you feel resistance or a bumpy texture at the bottom of the pan, quickly go around the pot outside-inning until you ensure there is no stickage at the bottom of the pot. Turn off the heat. Note that there may be a little teensy-weensy bit of water left in the bottom of the pot. That’s totally cool. Just let the rice absorb what’s left of it.

Now you should have baseline BachChow. It has some fiber, some carbs, some aminos, some iron.  The rice should be soft, the lentils should be squishy, and the quinoa should make the dish look like a bunch of tiny sperm and egg exploded. It’s pretty damn good as it is. But you may want to add some flavor.

Below are some suggestions on how to spice up your BachChow to make it look horrific, and make it taste amazing.

Things you may want :
Daiya grated cheese (Mozzarella and Cheddar)
Garlic salt
Liquid Aminos
Hot Sauce (Tapatio, Cholula, Sriracha)
Tempeh

I’m not saying you need to mix all of the above into the BachChow. But I’m not saying you can’t, either. I like to add Liquid Aminos, hot sauce, and Daiya at the minimum. If you want to add some meaty texture, make some tempeh strips and drop them in there. Garlic salt can be a gangster addition, but some freshly diced garlic is a healthier choice.

Frankly, BachChow is something you should experiment with. Add veggies, add other sauces, add tomato sauce. Do what feels right. You may end up making an earth shattering mixture that is deceptively easy to make and reproduce.

Good luck with your BachChow.

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Dairy-Free Thanksgiving

WARNING! Photo of meat below. Poor turkey.

THIS IS NOT VEGAN!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I had already decided that I was going to eat meat for the holiday. I’m really glad because the only vegan dish served for lunch at my Aunt’s house was Brussels sprouts. Of course, I would have planned ahead and made or brought something vegan for myself and everyone else to eat, but I’m not quite ready to have the “I’m trying to go vegan” talk with the extended family just yet.

Lunch consisted of a small piece of teriyaki chicken, four lumpia shanghai (those suckers are gonna be tough to give up), a piece of roast pork, Brussels sprouts, and white rice. Dessert was a no as all the options contained dairy: buko pandan, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato cake. I felt sorry for myself for a minute, but then thought about all the calories I wasn’t having and immediately felt better.

Brussels sprouts

Mom made the Brussels sprouts using a recipe that she saw on The Chew. They were freaking delicious. Check out the recipe – it’s straightforward and yields great results. She also prepared the turkey using a recipe that she saw on The Chew. For my contribution, I made quinoa potato cakes using a recipe I found on Vogue Vegetarian. People, check out this blog! The Vogue Vegetarian has some amazing recipes. I veganized the recipe by using instant potato flakes and about a 1/4 cup of water instead of an egg. They turned out pretty tasty, along with the roasted red pepper sauce.

I like quinoa and really appreciate how nutritious it is, but I’ve had a hard time really enjoying it. I think it’s because I’m so used to the texture and size of jasmine rice. Packing the quinoa in a crispy cake like this is a genius idea. I can see putting the entire mixture in a dish and making it a quinoa casserole. I can’t wait to try this again with different ingredients. I’m already thinking of adding corn and tiny raisins to it. I think the cumin was a turnoff for some. I’m thinking that they would probably taste OK without the cumin or by replacing the cumin with something else. At any rate – it’s vegan, soy-free, and the quinoa cooked perfectly in a rice cooker. Yay!

For dessert, I was able to enjoy a slice of pecan pie. I was a bit annoyed that it wasn’t totally vegan (egg in the crust), but was super happy that it was dairy-free. In fact, I got through the entire day without having any dairy and I don’t feel like I missed anything at all.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of veggies!

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