Tag Archives: quinoa

Tomatoes + Garlic +Quinoa + Spinach

1 Sep

Spinach + QuinoaToday was yet another eventful day – our mother left, and by the end of the day, we were all really tired. We needed a quick meal, but I wanted something delicious. Something that would be comforting and yet incredibly fresh. Nothing too heavy, but definitely delectable, lip smacking, delicious. I decided to lightly saute some garlic until it was soft, mix it with some burstingly fresh tomatoes, encourage the sweet sweet sauce with a lick of cream. Mix that up with some protein rich quinoa and fresh spinach. A meal that is a balm on the senses – pretty, delightful and happy making.

Because its summertime, the tomatoes are so luscious I cannot even begin to describe them. The smell of them is heady, almost perfume-y. Their juices dribble and drip as soon as they even see a knife. I did not really want to do much with them – certainly not cook them for too long. I wanted that fresh tomato taste to be honoured and respected. I managed to ensure this by cooking them only briefly, and mixed in a little bit of cream for richness. If you are vegan, you dont have to use cream – add some soy or almond milk if you want, or just leave the tomatoes without cream.

I chose quinoa because of its high protein content. I chopped fresh baby spinach fine, and as soon as the quinoa was ready, I mixed the hot quinoa with a teaspoon of butter and the spinach. It wilted the spinach, and added a pure green flavour to the quinoa, a lovely contrast to the richness of the tomatoes. This meal was really good! We finished everything and as I write this, the house is quiet, happy and satisfied. Exactly right 🙂

This recipe will serve 4 people, and can be adapted to be vegan

Tomato + Garlic

You can serve this sauce with pasta, quinoa, couscous, or even on toast – its fresh, easy and delicious

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil (if you have it – it adds a depth of flavour)
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 – 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp light brown sugar (optional)
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream (or soy or almond milk if you are vegan)

Heat the olive and truffle oils in a medium non stick pan, over medium high heat. Turn the heat to medium low and saute the garlic in a single layer for about five minutes or more. You want the garlic to soften and infuse the oils. This also enables the garlic to cook off its bitter taste. You will have that lovely hit of garlic, but without the sharpness.

Sprinkle the garlic with basil, and liberally season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high and drizzle the balsamic over. Add the tomatoes, and cook them long enough so that they release their juices. Taste. You may need a little bit more salt and pepper, or you may need to enhance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes with a little bit of sugar. The fresh late summer tomatoes I used were so sweet I didnt need any sugar, but trust your instincts. This sauce should be sweet with tomato-y juices.

Add the cream if you decide to use it, and let it cook down and reduce over low heat for a few minutes. Set the sauce aside while you prepare the quinoa.

Quinoa + Spinach

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped fine

In a small saucepan, mix the quinoa with the water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place on high heat, and allow to come to the boil. Lower heat so that the quinoa is at a simmer, and cover. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes until the quinoa is cooked through, and all the liquid has been absorbed.

As soon as the quinoa is ready, spoon into a serving platter. Cut butter over the quinoa, and using a spoon, mix in well. Taste for salt, and adjust. Mix in the fresh spinach and mix well. The spinach will wilt just a little bit and flavour the quinoa.

To Serve

Spoon the tomato + garlic over the quinoa + spinach, and, if you want, scatter a few parmesan shavings over the top. Serve at room temperature. Delight in the freshness of summer!

Veggie Burger

15 Jul

Veggie Burger HeavenI was having tea today with Goddessmoments and her Spouse. As we were chatting about food, he said something that made me think about what I miss most about being a carnivore. I think its a great juicy burger, with melted cheddar on top, in a beautiful bun and may be some slices of avo or tomato. Pure heaven. All those different tastes and textures, the satisfaction of a handheld meal, juices dripping everywhere. But I dont eat meat, and so I wont ever have that kind of burger again. But, this veggie burger more than makes up for any sense of loss I might have!

This is scrummy yummy. It can be vegan if you leave out the cheese (or use soy cheese) and its so full of wonderful, healthy vegetables and grains. I use quinoa in this recipe – the wonder grain! It has the most complete proteins of any grain, and it is full of vitamins and minerals – from iron to vitamin e to amino acids. And it tastes wonderful too! Nutty and creamy at the same time.Its a really useful tool for a vegan diet because it adds protein from a surprising source, and its extremely well tolerated, even by those who cannot eat wheat. I love it. I even use it in place of couscous and rice on occasion.

While your quinoa is cooking, you roast a few aubergines, garlic and some nuts. Fry up some mushrooms. I usually throw everything in one large bowl, and mince with my immersion blender (oh how I love thee, let me count the ways!). It comes out tasting really “meaty” in a good way, and its incredibly satisfying. Because everything is cooked or prepped before being formed into patties, the final fry up is really to create a lovely burnt sticky caramelised crust. You could probably do this in the oven as well, though I have never tried. These freeze really well, by the way. Layer in greaseproof paper, and pack away in a plastic container, and use within 6 months.

For about 8 – 10 burger patties, you will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water plus extra to soak
  • salt
  • 5 baby aubergines (or 1 medium – 1/2 large), sliced in half
  • 1 head garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • Small packet shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, and sliced
  • 6 – 7 medium portobello mushrooms (250 g packet), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Italian mixed herbs (or herbes de Provence or any other herb that you like – basil, rosemary, thyme)
  • truffle oil (optional)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
  • Handful of fresh herbs, minced fine (optional – use what you like – basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, parsley, mint even)
  • Soy (optional to taste)
  • pepper

To serve, you will need hamburger buns, cheese (optional), lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion (your choice of any or all or none!), some mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickle… you get the drift!

Preheat your oven to about 220C.

First start off by soaking the quinoa. In a medium saucepan, cover the quinoa with water, and let stand for 15 minutes or so. This softens the grain, and also encourages the hard outer casing to split. A good thing!

Meanwhile, split your baby aubergines (or slice your medium/large one), and arrange, skin side down, on a baking tin that has been lined with baking paper. Slice the top of a head of garlic, and place on tin. Lightly oil and salt the aubergines and garlic and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. About 3 – 4 minutes before they are done, flip them over, and sprinkle the cashew nuts onto the baking tin. You want the cashew nuts to toast lightly, but not really to burn.

When your quinoa has stood for 15 minutes, drain, put back into saucepan, and add 1 1/2 cups of water, and a bit of salt. Cover the pan, and bring to the boil over high heat, and then lower heat and simmer the quinoa, covered, for about 15 minutes. You will know when its done when most of the water has boiled off, and the quinoa has fluffed up and doubled in size. Take off heat, and leave covered for at least five minutes.

Once your aubergines, garlic and cashews have been taken out of the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, add sunflower and sesame seeds to a large mixing bowl, and grate in the carrot. Add the cooled aubergines, the garlic cloves (pop them out of their papery casing), and the cashew nuts.

Go back to your quinoa, fluff it up a bit, and measure out 1 1/2 – 2 cups. If there is any left over, it freezes well and is a wonderful addition to any soup. Add the measured quinoa to the large mixing bowl.

Prepare your mushrooms. Pour a little olive oil into a medium – large frying pan, and add the shiitake mushrooms. I was taught that shiitake mushrooms need quite a while to cook. You need to slice them thinly (I also de-stem them) and leave them over low heat to brown around the edges. They will melt, and get soft, and reduce in size. Dont mix them in the pan too much, just let the heat and the oil and the mushrooms do what they know how to do. It should take about 10 minutes or so.

Once the shiitakes have been well browned, add the portobello mushrooms (still on low heat), and stir to combine. If you want, sprinkle a little truffle oil over, and let cook for about 5 minutes or so, stirring every now and then. Add some balsamic vinegar, the tomato paste and Dijon mustard, and stir to combine. The portobellos should have browned a little and reduced in size. Add the mushrooms to the mixing bowl.

Grate the cheese into the bowl if you are using.

With your immersion blender, process everything in the mixing bowl. Do it in short sharp bursts because you want to make sure you combine and chop most everything very fine without pureeing it into complete oblivion. You can use a food processor if you like. Again, short sharp bursts.

Once everything has been combined to your liking, taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the minced herbs, if you like. I often add some soy sauce for deeper darker flavour.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

About fifteen to twenty minutes before you are ready to eat, heat a little olive oil in a shallow non stick frying pan over low heat. Take the burger mix out of the fridge, and form thin (about half an inch to an inch maximum) patties with your hands. Fry up to three patties at a time, flipping only once or twice. It should take you about 10 – 15 minutes to get a glistening dark brown exterior. You wont need much oil. A few minutes before you are serving, flip a final time and slice some old mature cheddar (or not) over the burger, and let it melt a bit.

Toast your hamburger buns, add the fixins – mayo, ketchup, mustard, fresh veg. Eat with your hands, and mop up any fallen bits and juices with your bread. Its that good.