Curry Vegetable Quinoa

One day I wanted fried rice, but I had no rice. But I had quinoa though. Then I realized I had no soy sauce. But I had a ton of Indian spices. So I looked up what I could make and came across a recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen called Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. It looked good so I decided to make my own version.

Curry Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 piece of ginger, pealed and minced
1 small white onion
Kernels from 2 ears of corn 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces 
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 jalapeno, minced
Dash of asafetida
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. 

While that cooks, heat the coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder, and chili powder. Cook for a minute, just until it becomes fragrant. 

Add the ginger and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Add the corn kernels, bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender. 

Once the quinoa is done, fluffy gently with a fork and let it sit for a minute. 

Add the quinoa to the skillet. 

Add the tomato juice, jalapeno, and asafetida. Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cilantro.

A flavorful Indian version of fried rice, with plenty of protein from the quinoa. No need for meat or egg!And don’t be afraid to make a big batch of this, the flavors get even better the longer it sits.


Organic Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Lemon Quinoa

I decided that Michael and I need to eat more organic vegetables. I wish we could afford to buy all organic, especially from a farmers’ market so we could support the local agriculture. Unfortunately, for a young couple just starting out, that is out of our budget. Then I randomly thought of farm delivery service. Most of them allow you to select a package within your price range and it comes right to your door. So I simply Googled “organic produce delivery Bay Area” and a bunch came up. I decided to go with Farm Fresh to You. I like how professional the website is (I hate when business have website’s that look like 1995) and thought the farm’s story was nice. I also thought the prices were reasonable and I liked that you could chose the frequency of delivery. And you can customize your deliveries by adding produce to your exclude list. For  example, I am not a fan of peaches, so I added peaches to my exclusion list. Now I will open the box and go “Ick, peaches!”

I selected the Veggies Only box every other week. Friday morning when I stepped out the door to go work, there was the box. When I came home from work I checked out all the lovely produce. Sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, avocados, eggplant, nectarines (I modified my order because I did not want something), baby beets, and carrots. It all looked good, but the minute I saw the beets and carrots, I thought only one thing: roasted salad. I LOVE roasted beets. So good and so easy to make. And, roasted carrots are so sweet. Nothing not to love.

Now I would just eat the salad for dinner, but Michael would not be happy. “I know all you eat is vegetables, but I need more food!” Our lemon tree had a brunch of ripe lemons, so made him lemon chicken. Since I had so many, I thought I would make lemon quinoa as well.

Another side note, I also decided Michael and I are going to eat only healthy fats. So only olive oil and coconut oil from now on. Obviously Michael still eats meat so he has animal fat too. That is his life choice and I respect that.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad:
4 beets (I had one large and 3 medium)
1 bunch of carrots (I had Nantes specifically)
1 tbs olive oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 squirt of fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Alternately, you can do this on the grill. But you REALLY need to watch them and turn them regularly. They tend to go from uncooked to burned-beyond-all-recognition in an instant.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the beets. Wash well. Cut a small silt in the top of the each beet. Place each beet in it’s own piece of foil. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.Wrap each beet up with the foil so it is covered completely. *Side note: I do not put olive oil on them before roasting. You are going to be peeling the skin off later, so I feel it is just a waste and add excess calories.

Cut the greens off the top and the root strings off the bottom of the carrots. Wash well. Cut into 1/4 of inch sized pieces. In a small pan or baking sheet, toss together will 1/2 tbs of olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper. *I do add olive oil to the carrots for roasting since they will not be peeled and loosing the flavor.

Place beets in the oven right-side-up. Cook for 30-40 minutes. They will be ready when a knife can be inserted in the middle with no resistance.

When the beets have 20 minutes left, add the carrots to the oven. When the timer goes the carrots should be   golden (it is okay if they are a little black) and soften,  and the beets will black on the outside but soft on the inside.

Set both the beets and the carrots aside to cool. This salad is served chilled or room temperature.

Once the beets are completely cooled (unless you like burning your hands on hot beet juice), take a spoon or a peeler (or your hands if you do not mind pink fingers) and peel off the charred skin.

Cut the beets into bite-sized cubes.

In a small serving bowl, add the beets, carrots, remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a squirt of lemon juice. Mix together well. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Lemon Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes.

Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

I let mine cool for a bit, that way the flavors could set in more. Plus, it was hot and I did not want to eat a lot of hot food.

A lovely summer dinner. The beets and carrots were so good. Organic really does make all the difference. I really encourage everyone to not only eat more vegetables, but eat organic ones. Good for you, supports the local economy, and support sustainable agriculture. Another cool thing about Farm Fresh to You, you can adjust your delivery dates. We are going to a wedding in Tahoe in two weeks, when the next box delivery will come. I do not want my veggies to spoil, so I adjusted the delivery to this week instead. So look out for some more organic recipes soon!

Quinoa with Cucumber and Clilantro Salad

Quinoa is one of my favorite foods. It’s been a staple of most South American cultures for centuries. My Bolivian friend Leslie has asked me several times to post a recipe with it.  It is eaten like a grain, but actually is a seed. It’s related to spinach and beets. It’s a very strong little bugger, capable of surviving in poor soil and high altitudes. 

It’s a complete protein, and is high in calcium, iron, and fiber. And it’s gluten free, so it’s great for people with gluten allergies. Don’t listen to the rumors it tastes like mud. Unwashed quinoa is a bit muddy tasting, but majority of the quinoa sold in stores is washed so don’t worry about it. I think it tastes like any other grain, like rice or wheat. I like it because it has a soft texture.

I came up with this recipe by myself. Every time I Skype with Leslie, she asks me for a simple quinoa dish and this is what kept coming to mind. Once again, all my veggies came from the Hilo Farmers Market and were very cheap. The veggies, including the garlic and onion, are raw in this dish. Raw veggies hold more of their nutrients and although I am not really into the whole raw food diet, it is still important to eat raw veggies often. Raw garlic is amazing for your digestion, just eat it in small dozes so it isn’t overwhelming. I use canned beans because even I think soaking dried beans is a pain.

Funny story how I got my quinoa. I drove to Kona last weekend to have some nice beach time before finals and met some nice tourists. They rented a timeshare so they cooked some of their meals. They were leaving that day and offered to give me their unopened stuff. Score for a broke college kid! Thanks Jason and Rick! 

Quinoa with Cucumber and Cilantro Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 large cucumber
1 large tomato
1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs olive oil
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add the quinoa and water to a pot, and bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce to a simmer.

They must be Duck fans, they yell “O,” ha!

Cook for 10-15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the grains are translucent with the little inner ring is visible. Set aside to cool while you make the salad. Hot quinoa will warm your salad and wilt the cilantro. 

I add a lot of red pepper because I like it hot.

Chop the cucumber and tomato into bit-sized pieces. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Remove the cilantro leafs from the steam and chop if you desire (I left mine whole, they aren’t that big). Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Add everything to a large bowl and mix.

Although it’s good fat, it’s still fat so don’t over do it with the oil.

Next add the lime juice, olive, oil, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Mix well to coat everything evenly. I suggest under red-peppering  and salting at first, it takes a little for them to reach full potency.  I chilled mine for a half an hour before serving to let the flavors really set in.

You can mix the quinoa in with the veggies or just serve the salad on top. I just topped mine. I am so glad I finally made this, I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.

Clean, crispy, but very filling.