Posts tagged with Quinoa
If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll note that in the winter, I'll cook, bake and take the immersion blender out for a spin while making soup. In the summer, though, I tend to avoid any recipe that uses my oven.
That seasonal culinary flip-flop helps a bit with the "rut-like" nature of my cooking style. Yes, I like to have the same foods over and over again and it doesn't bore me in the least (Well ... it does take a very long time to bore me. Like months.) But, just about the time I get sick of something (FINALLY), the season changes enough to where I'll get the consistent urge to try something new. Or at least pull out old recipes I haven't made in a year.
Which makes this time of year a bit strange for me. It's still hot enough to be summer, but I've found myself craving, and eating, very fall/winter-type staples like sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Heck, last weekend I even got out the crockpot and made a big pot of garbanzo beans. Yes, I used the slow-cooker a month from the end of summer. This is very weird for me.
But it actually turns out that my sudden late-summer obsession with wintery foods pairs nicely with what happens to be available from our CSA. Or, at least this week it did.
So, to refresh, last week we received the following from Rolling Prairie: Pears, two baby melons, spicy peppers, sweet peppers, mushrooms, grapes and basil.
The melons, pears and grapes were devoured easily by our little fruit-loving tyke. Shocking, I know. The basil also had a home in topping sandwiches and green juice.
The peppers posed a different challenge. Yes, I love peppers to death, but this week we had so many peppers from our CSA and from our personal home garden that we had to really work to get through them all. Between the CSA peppers and the ones from our garden, we had probably 20 peppers to use. I'm not exaggerating.
So, we got creative with old favorites. First, we had a pizza night, where our toppings included not only a few of the peppers, but local red onion, homegrown tomatoes and a crust that had both local whole-wheat flour from Moon on the Meadow and local garlic from Maggie's Farm. You can see the (unbaked) results above. We tend to use this pizza dough recipe (with lots of added garlic plus a half-and-half mixture of bread flour and local whole-wheat flour).
A few nights later, we took the remaining peppers and all the CSA mushrooms and made a batch of our rut-making veggie fajitas. But instead of serving them on tortillas with all the accompaniments of regular fajitas, we repurposed them into a Buddha bowl.
You may remember that this winter and spring we were constantly making Buddha bowls, which basically consist of a grain plus veggies and sauce, mixed in a bowl. It's customizable, and we often would top quinoa or millet with our favorite roasted vegetables or sweet potatoes and some avocado.
Well, the Buddha bowl is still one of my favorite dinners, and I can't believe it took me this long to make a summer version, but I did and it was fantastic. The ingredients:
Fajita vegetables (We used an onion, mushrooms and a peppers)
Cooked garbanzo beans
Squirt of lime juice
That's it. And it was delightful. Perfect for a nice, hardy dinner after a long run. Brown or white rice and black beans would also sub nicely in this dish, and if you don't like mushrooms, leave them out. All in all, it was a great "new" way to enjoy one of our summer favorites.
What'd we get this week? Edamame, bell peppers, frying peppers, grapes, apples, pears and cherry tomatoes. Yum!
If you’re like me, and you probably are, based on the number of personal responses I got to my lifesaver weekend roasted veggies a few weeks back, you probably have zero to negative time to cook on weeknights.
In my house, we’re pretty much married to our weeknight schedule, which is determined by some sort of fancy algorithm based on mommy sports, daddy sports, kiddo sports and family time.
It’s as nice to be married to a schedule about as much as it is annoying to be married to a schedule. On the one-hand, it’s very easy to plan when you know exactly what you’re going to be doing each (and every) week. But it’s also nearly impossible to do anything spontaneous or labor-intensive with one’s time, such as creating picture-perfect meals.
Honestly, I barely have time to shove a fork in my mouth, let alone create something beautiful and new and different all the time. Sure, some days I’ll get on a roll and make a few particularly inspired meals. Or, we’ll have a rain-out and suddenly we’re at home with all the time in the world to make something elaborate. But, mostly, I have 30 minutes tops to make dinner, and probably 10 minutes to slurp it down.
Thus, you may have noticed that generally, the recipes I share in this space are good for more than one meal. Sometimes, they’re good for several nights of dinner, other times you can at least get a dinner and a next day’s lunch off of them. And though these ruts are nice and comforting and time-saving, they aren't exactly inspiring, to be sure.
Thus, sometimes, I do crave a meal that makes a ton, yet is totally customizable — one where you feel like you’re eating something different each night though the parts and pieces are basically all the same.
This is sort of the method behind my aforementioned weekend roasted veggies, but, really, those veggies are just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because they can be (if you want them to be) part of the gloriousness known as “the Buddha bowl.”
The Buddha bowl is a concept long loved in the vegetarian community and its versatility should speak to anyone who is short on time, including those of you who like your meat.
The basics of the Buddha bowl go a little something like this: Add a grain, add a legume, add a veggie, add seasonings/toppings, mix. For example, say you make a big pot of quinoa on Sunday. Depending on what you have in your pantry or fridge, your Buddha bowl experience could go something like this:
Sunday: Quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa and avocado
Monday: Quinoa, chickpeas, baby romaine and balsamic dressing
Tuesday: Quinoa, lentils, sautéed veggies, pasta sauce
Get the picture? It’s easy, it’s rut-preventing, customizable (my hubby’s often looks different than mine) and it totally cleans out your fridge/pantry/freezer of all the random purchases/leftovers/frozen things you’ve forgotten/gotten sick of/need to use up.
So, now that we’re up to speed on the awesomeness that is the Buddha bowl (which is so popular now that they make actual bowls called "the Buddha bowl" — the pretty blue bowl holding my salad from Delicious/Nutritious this month is one of them) here’s a recipe for the basic one at the top of the page.
It combines a bunch of really healthy and cheap foods — you know, the kind that you always plan on eating but, um, cough ... never do — which makes the following bowl perfect for those of us who tend to buy 3 pounds of lentils just because they’re on sale. (Guilty as charged...)
Note: I find it’s easiest to first prepare the sweet potatoes, and get them in the oven. Once they’re cooking, I’ll cook the quinoa and lentils in separate pots at the same time on the stove (they cook about the same amount of time). That way, everything is hot and ready at once and all you need to do is slice up your avocado to finish.
Quinoa-Lentil-Sweet Potato-Avocado Buddha Bowl
2.5 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
2 cups cooked red or green lentils (1 cup dry)
1 recipe Sweet Potato Medallions
1 avocado, sliced
Other toppings: salsa, balsamic, hot sauce, hummus, sautéed veggies (I topped one of mine with leftover fajita veggies from a restaurant — yum!)
Layer the ingredients as you prefer in a bowl. Enjoy! Serves 4-6. (Double or triple the recipe or pieces of the recipe to get more bang for your bowl.)
Want a Sunday activity that will save you gobs of time on your lunches and dinners the rest of the week?
Roast a couple of pans of veggies.
You can serve the finished product over brown rice or quinoa for a hearty dinner. Spoon them over salad greens for lunch. Stuff them in a pita pocket for a hand-held meal. Or simply eat them with a fork while standing in your kitchen minutes before going to bed.
It takes a bit of time and prep work to do this (two hours, with about 45 minutes of that time hands-on), but it's totally worth it for the added veggie goodness you'll have for DAYS.
The way this works in our house is that I roast probably 10 to 12 pounds of root veggies at a time. A squash, a few sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, an onion, beets and Swiss chard.
All that fits nicely into three 2-quart lasagna dishes that can sit flush side-by-side in the oven while you do other Sunday night activities, like folding laundry and writing your blog (wink, wink).
I roast them in a balsamic vinaigrette I threw together one night while playing. It's become a major favorite because, really, I'm not sure there's any better accompaniment to any roasted veggie than fruity, tart, lovely balsamic.
This past Sunday, we had friends over for dinner. They brought that beautiful salad you see pictured above, which we served our roasted veggies on top of some plain quinoa. It was Sunday night dining at its finest: Good conversation, the kids playing (nicely!) with each other, Trade Joe's cheapo chocolate red wine and mounds of veggies and protein-heavy quinoa.
A fabulous end to the week? I think so.
A fabulous start to the week? Yes, that too.
Even with four adults munching on the veggies I prepared, we still had enough servings to get us through Wednesday and possibly Thursday with little problem. Sunday night "planning" FTW!
Roasted Veggies in Balsamic Dressing
3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium to large yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium squash (I used an unpeeled kabocha, but you could swap a peeled butternut), or more yams, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 parsnips or turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red or sweet yellow onion, cut into 1/2 moons
1 bunch rainbow chard (optional), sliced into 1-inch ribbons, bottoms of stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of 3 lemons, or about 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray three 2-quart or two 3-quart Pyrex lasagna pans with olive oil. Set aside.
Place all veggies except for chard in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small Pyrex glass measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the veggies and stir to coat. Portion the veggies across the lasagna pans, spreading the mixture of veggies as flat as possible. Put the pans in the oven. Set your timer for one hour, 15 minutes. Stir your veggies every 15 minutes.
If using chard, place it in the empty bowl you used when coating the other veggies and spoon the leftover dressing over your chard. If not a lot of your dressing is left in the bowl, cover with balsamic and let it marinate while the heartier veggies cook.
After an hour has elapsed, pull out your pans and layer the chard on top to cook down for the final 15 minutes. Make sure to stir once with the chard before pulling your veggies out of the oven.
Serve warm or cold over salad greens, quinoa or alone. Top with more balsamic if you love your vinegar like me. Serves eight to 10. Enjoy!