Spiced Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually not grain but rather a seed. What makes it so wonderful is that it’s a plant-based, complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (the ones your body can’t produce).  Yea, that’s pretty cool.  One cup cooked gives you 8 grams of protein with just over 200 calories and about 3.5g fat.  For long time I wanted so badly to love this little protein-packed wonder seed, but everytime I cooked it I found it tastless and mushy.  Yuck.  So, I decided to try using less liquid and swapped broth for water, threw in spices, garlic, etc. and voila, I was converted.

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Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

Olive oil or cooking spray

1/2 medium onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth (water can be substituted)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pepitas (already roasted pumpkin seeds) or regular raw pumpkin seeds

Chopped cilantro

Method

Heat oil in a skillet.  Add onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, cumin, smoked paprika, quinoa; stir o combine everything and cook just a minute.  Add in broth and stir.  Turn heat up and bring to boil, then reduce to low and simmer covered 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  If there’s still too much liquid, you can removed cover and cook a few minutes longer.  Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve as a side dish, add beans to make it a main dish, or add to a wrap with veggies.

*To roast pumpkin seeds just lay on a baking sheet, spray with cooking oil, and bake at 350 for a few minutes until they start to turn golden.  I’ve never actually timed it but they always turn out ok.

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Southwest Black Bean, Corn, and Rice Salad

So many great things about this dish – it’s an easy mix some stuff together kind of recipe, it’s vegan and healthy, it’s delicious, and it doesn’t really require cooking if you get the kind of rice you can just microwave.  Oh and it’s versatile too.  You can switch up the grains (I used a combination or brown rice and barley), add avocado if you like, use it as a side or a main dish, in tacos or burritos, whatever you want.  The recipe makes 2-3 side dish servings but it can easily be doubled for a 4-5 person dinner or for a party.

Serves 2-3 as a side dish

Ingredients

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)

1 Tbsp canola oil

1/4 cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cups cooked brown rice, barley or another grain

3/4 cup cooked black beans (about half a can drained)

3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix spices, oil, broth and vinegar in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is combined and mixed with the dressing.  This is best if left to chill in the refridgerator 1-2 hours before serving.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans

I showed these brussels sprouts a little extra love by adding in the dried cranberries and pecans.  A simple, perfect fall veggie side dish.  It makes a perfect vegetarian and vegan side dish for Thanksgiving too! You can even go simpler and just do these basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts without the cranberries and pecans, and they will still be awfully tasty.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 16oz bag of brussels sprouts

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Turn oven off and take brussels sprouts out.  Add in cranberries and pecans and toss everything together.  Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cranberries are soft, then serve.

BEFORE

Sweet Potato Apple Hash

I first published a recipe for this years ago but it desperately needing updating, both with the method and the photos (see original pic at the bottom – it makes me cringe).  So about this dish, simply put it is all about Fall with my favorite 2 produce items of the season!  It only has a few ingredients and it’s easy to make so that’s a big win in my book.  I like the red onion in this for a little color but any onion will do.  Also, a favorite of sweet potatoes or yams (what is the difference anyway? Read this) is the Garnet Yam!

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Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes

Olive oil

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 red onion, diced (about ½ cup is good)

1-2 Tbsp vegan butter (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Heat iron skillet (or nonstick skillet) over medium heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Let warm for a few minutes.  You don’t want to throw your sweet potatoes into a cold skillet with cold oil – it should sizzle a little bit.

Add sweet potatoes and stir around a little to coat in the oil.  Let cook untouched for about 5 minutes.  Then give them a toss, bottoms should be a little browned, and cook another 5 minutes.  Add additional oil in needed to keep them from sticking.

Add onion and apple, cook 4-5 minutes until everything is tender and the sweet potatoes are browned.

Stir in butter if using, give a toss to melt it and coat everything.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

This was the original picture I posted in 2011 – I mean who would want to make that!?!  Thank goodness for today’s amazing iPhone cameras!

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