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Friday seems a good day to try things. Like those unfamiliar ingredients I bought on a whim, or that instant dessert I got sent but haven’t dared dip into yet. And don’t forget about the vegetables I don’t like much and need to find tasteful recipes for. Like beetroots, for example…
Gonna beat those beets!
Beets & I, we don’t get along very well. Can’t blame them because I used to HATE them as a child -of course that was in the time the only beet dish we knew in Holland was (over) cooked- but it beats me what my excuse is. Love their colour. ;) Okay, I guess I just don’t like the combined flavour of sweet and “earthy”. I’m more of a spicy, savoury kind of grrl; not too fond of a sweetish dinner.
Over the years I’ve found a few beet recipes that I can appreciate: beet risotto, red beet hummus, cooked beet salad or roasted beet salad, even chocolate beet cake. Still, each time those red veggies pop up in my CSA I go like: uh-oh.
And I give them to my aunt. So the search continues until I root for beets!
Beet ‘n Berry smoothie
Time to try a beet smoothie. I found this rather attractive looking recipe on Choosing Raw combining beet with orange (juice) and frozen berries. Many of the ingredients I usually have at hand… unfortunately not today. I was not to be deterred though and experimented with substitutes from my pantry.
Serves 1 (about 1 litre)
1 medium beet, steamed (cooked), cooled, peeled & roughly cut
3 handfuls frozen mixed berries & strawberries (about 200 ml)
200 ml apple juice
250 ml vanilla soy milk
splash of rice milk
1 teaspoon of almond butter, heaped
1 tablespoon hempseed
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon sucanat (or other sweetener)
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender. I have a multi-purpose kitchen machine with blender option in which it took less than a minute.
Although it was not as delicious as my favourite breakfast smoothie, I rather liked this beet breakfast. I barely noticed anything earthy; only when the liquid starting warming up it appeared. Of course nothing beats the flavour combination of beet and orange of the original recipe so next time I’ll definitely try that. Still, apple juice complements quite nicely as well. I would have loved to use dates for sweetener but I hadn’t planned that: they need to be soaked for several hours. I’ve tried using dates dry once and I tell you: my immersion blender did not like that. At all. O_o Of course you need to cook, steam or roast your beet in advance as well, and give it a chance to cool down. So unless you’re using the pre-cooked kind that gives you enough time for soaking too.
I did a not-100%-successful experiment roasting my beet in the microwave… It seemed logical: if you can make jacket potatoes in it, the same goes for beets? Well, guess again (or smell my kitchen). Next time I’ll just nuke it in a normal way or cook it on the stove. If you’re lucky to have a Vitamix you can just blend beet raw!
Another thing: next time I’m going to use only frozen strawberries or raspberries. A smoothie should be velvet-y and the hard seeds of other berries annoy me. But your hearing me right: I’m talking about next time!
If you can recommend any beet recipes I’d really appreciate it!
* This post will be updated later to share whether this breakfast took me all the way to lunch or if I got hungry before that. *
VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!
* Due to circumstances MoFo posts #3 and #4 are currently missing but will be updated as soon as possible *
After keeping myself on a leash for a while I finally joined Swap-bot late last year. I already told you about some food-related swaps in my previous Weekend Cooking post. Today I want to talk about another one: the Cookbook Challenge #1, hosted by Carmen of the Gastronomery Group. Like many of us she has several under-used cookbooks and she wants to tackle them with the help of fellow swappers. She made the challenge vegan-friendly so of course I had to join — never mind that I have a pile of books of my own… ;)
For this first ‘cookalong’ Carmen chose some recipes out of Modern Moroccan by Ghillie Basan and posted them on the group blog. The idea was for us to choose one recipe, test it, document it and send the (virtual) results to our swap partners; in my case our hostess herself. So Carmen, here’s my pick!
Cinnamon-scented chickpea and lentil soup
Don’t let the long list scare you: it’s not as much as it seems and most of these ingredients are fairly common in a foodie household. If you look at the preparations you’ll see this recipe is a breeze!
- 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (see my tweak among the modifications below)
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (djahé)
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (kunjit)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of saffron threads
- 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
- 80 gr brown or green lentils, washed (I used Puy lentils)
- 950 ml vegetable stock or boiling water & 2 bouillon cubes
- 400 gr can cooked chickpeas (265 gr drained)
- 150 gr cooked broad beans (I used 175 gr frozen peas)
- small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
- small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt ‘n pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft.
- Stir in the spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron), tomatoes and sugar.
- Add the lentils and pour in the vegetable stock or water and stock cubes.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (check the instructions on the package).
- Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans and bring back to boil, cover again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Mix in the fresh herbs and season to taste.
Mr Gnoe and me enjoyed this soup on a cold February night accompanied by (store-bought) bake-off buns and couscous salad.
I only made half of the original recipe on the Gastronomery Cookbook Challenge #1 page and that was amply sufficient for four diners. Especially served with accompaniments like ours. This soup is already plant-based (and chock-full of proteins!) so no veganizing was needed, but still the recipe got slightly tweaked.
- I took the easy route and used a 400 grams can of chickpeas (= 265 grams drained) instead of dried beans that would have needed to be soaked overnight.
- Dried broad beans are not commonly available over here (although it’s not impossible to get them in a city like Utrecht) so I had wanted to use frozen but forgot to add them to my grocery list. So I took 175 grams garden peas from my freezer stash instead. Together with the chickpeas that roughly summed up the 400 grams of cooked beans I needed.
- I made vegetable stock with one bouillon cube instead of two and spiced it up with salt and pepper at the end. I’m still not sure whether I’d use two cubes anyway next time… (if there is a next time?)
- I didn’t use olive oil for frying the onions but used leftover sunflower oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil.
- The original recipe said to fry the onions for about 15 minutes… It took me 2-3 to get them soft. ;) If you’re supposed to caramelize the onions then 10-15 minutes would be right but it just says “until soft” so I believe the time publicized to be an errata.
- I added one celery stalk, just because it was lying around in the fridge. Not necessary at all.
Has the Jury reached its verdict?
This chickpea-lentil soup is certainly a hearty dish, but it didn’t tickle my taste buds. I’ve had bean and lentil soups before, some of which were much more special.
I couldn’t discern a specific Moroccan flavour and I don’t think using broad beans would’ve changed that. Do you? Maybe adding a spice blend like ras el hanout would be a good idea; there’s a recipe for that in the book –and on the Gastronomery blog– as well. But I also just can’t appreciate the combination of multiple legumes: lentils and chickpeas and peas. I do like vegan harira (Moroccan/Algerian chickpea-lentil soup), but this modern version is too much of a
mismatch mishmash for me.
So. If you’ve had these kinds of soups before, this recipe is not very exciting. But if you haven’t – this is a good place to start! Common ingredients and little work bring a filling winter stew to the table.
Blogging pal Uniflame also participated in Cookbook Challenge #1 and got me for a swap partner. She tried the Casablancan couscous with roasted summer veggies and shared her version of the recipe on She Likes Bento. In winter I regularly make oven-roasted root vegetables but I always forget to do something alike in summer. Gotta remember!
February has been a super busy month so I didn’t get around to cooking two other recipes from Modern Moroccan that I like. So there are still a vegan version of grilled sweet zucchini with spices and harissa on the menu.
Now if you feel like trying another Moroccan soup, how about this sesame soup recipe I posted before?
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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!
In June and July this year, the Dutch youth foundation Viva Las Vega’s organized the Veggie Challenge: a dare to eat less animal produce for at least once a week during a whole month. Depending on their diet, participants would set their own goals, e.g. 1 day vegetarian for omnis, a day vegan for vegetarians, an extra day veggie for flexitarians et cetera. 2000+ people gave it a go! Among them were three people I know — and no, I had nothing to do with that ;) Curious about their experiences, I decided to interview them for VeganMoFo.
First to go was YvonneP. Today I’m interviewing Uniflame from She Likes Bento. I think I met her two, three years ago on Twitter — my radar picked her up as a fellow Dutch bentoïst blogging in English about her vegetarian bento lunches. Since then we’ve discovered other similar interests, like reading books and doing challenges. She’s also a loyal participant of WeekendCooking.
Here’s Uniflame’s most recent vegan bento.
Uniflame wants to be represented by an avocado, though she can’t say why. Well, I know. Avocados are so delicious you just can’t stop thinking about them! ;)
How would you describe your diet before starting the Veggie Challenge?
Officially I am a pescetarian because I still eat fish sometimes. However I eat mostly vegetarian.
Why did you decide to join the Veggie Challenge?
I like to experiment with vegan recipes, but some aspects were scary to me. Like vegan baking, for example. Committing to eat vegan for 2 days a week, forced me to step out of my comfort zone so I could experiment.
What goals did you set and did you achieve them? Was that hard?
I chose to eat vegan for 2 days a week and I did archieve that. Other than that I set some mini goals, like try vegan baking and make vegan snacks. I also wanted to eat outdoors as a vegan one time, but the latter goal I failed to do.
What was you biggest discovery?
That vegan baking doesn’t have to be hard at all, if you pick the easy recipes that don’t require to hunt down all kind of special ingredients.
What was the most difficult or disappointing?
The most difficult was to not give in to cheese cravings. It can be difficult staying committed if your house still is full of non vegan stuff. Also: I hate the fact that a lot of stuff isn’t available in the supermarket, and that I have to hunt stuff down in a lot of different stores. Like vegan bread for example. You have to make most things yourself and with my poor health, I just don’t have enough energy to keep doing that.
What was the best thing you ate or drank during the Veggie Challenge?
I can’t choose between the lemon poppyseed muffins and the cashew and bell pepper spread that I used to make vegan sushi with. So I will just mention both ;)
If you’re in a relationship: did your partner join you in the challenge and how did he/she experience it?
He did join partially. He isn’t a vegetarian but we just cook the same main dish for dinner. So on my vegan days, he ate vegan together with me. And because I made more vegan snacks, like the muffins mentioned above, he also had those. But if he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, he just ate one.
Has anything from the challenge lasted?
Yes, I try to make more vegan recipes now than I did before. And I also made my blog more vegan friendly, like listing in my recipe index which recipes on my blog are vegan. My stack of vegan cooking books has grown and I love requesting vegan titles from NetGalley as well to review on my blog.
Would you recommend the Veggie Challenge to others next time? Why (not)?
Yes, I would. It is fun to have a reason to think out of the box. And even if you only go vegetarian or vegan for just one day a week, it makes a huge difference.
The VeganMoFo theme on Graasland is ‘vegan en route‘. Do you have a suitable tip to share with us?
Always be prepared. If you want to stop at a certain lunch room, call ahead to see if they have options or are willing to create something. If not, make sure to have something delicious with you. To me nothing is as frustrating as to not be able to have a good meal while I see my omni friends eating away and all I have is a mediocre tasting salad. Then I rather make my own. ;)
Thanks Uniflame! I’m glad it all went well and I love how you set yourself some extra mini challenges — very creative! It doesn’t matter that you didn’t accomplish them all. I had expected you to share an avocado recipe with us though… But there’s plenty of those on your blog and with the vegan-friendly makeover they’ll be easy to find!
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Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
Once upon a time… I promised you a category on Graasland intended for Cabbage Recipes. It did appear, but fell into a slumber after I’d only shared three dishes with you. Well, now’s the right season to revive it!
Here’s a vegan version of coleslaw that I adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Groentegerechten by Jan & Ineke Stevens.
Coleslaw with Avocado Dressing
- 350-400g white or pointed cabbage
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 green onion
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- 1/2 tbs lemon juice
- 2-3 tbs vegenaise, soygurt or faux sour cream
- salt ‘n pepper
1. In advance
Cut its core from the cabbage, discard wilted outer leaves and thinly slice the veg. I don’t have a fancy machine to do this so I use my mandolin or a big, sharp knife and heavy wooden cutting board. Of course you can also buy pre-chopped cabbage…
Put the cabbage in a bowl, scatter some salt over it and weigh it down with a pan filled with water, supported by a saucer. Let it rest for a while until water comes out, preferably for a few hours.
To make the dressing, scoop out the avocado, slice the green part of the spring onion in rings and put these aside. Chop the rest of the onion in small pieces and blend with avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, veganaise (or substitute). Add pepper to taste but refrain from adding salt until you’ve tasted the cabbage in step 3!
Put the cabbage in a sieve, rinse and drain, pressing out excess water by hand. Now taste! Decide whether your dressing needs any more salt – if so, add it.
NOTE: if you do not intend to eat all of the coleslaw at once, just drain the cabbage you’re reserving and put it in a Tupperware box in the fridge. Only rinse and wring the veg when you’re ready to use it.
Place the cabbage on a nice plate or in a salad bowl, spoon the dressing in the middle and sprinkle the remaining onion rings on top.
As you can see I added some tomato and olives to the salad last time. Possibly it’s better without to let the smooth avocado dressing come to its full advantage.
In June and July this year, the Dutch youth foundation Viva Las Vega’s organized the Veggie Challenge: a dare to eat less animal produce for at least one day a week during a whole month. Depending on their diet, participants would set their own goals, i.e. 1 day vegetarian for omnis, a day vegan for vegetarians, an extra day veggie for flexitarians et cetera. 2000+ people gave it a go! Among them were three people I know — and no, I had nothing to do with that ;) Curious about their experiences, I decided to interview them for VeganMoFo.
First up is YvonneP from Loisirs et Plaisirs. I met her on-line 14 years ago (!) when I joined the Dutch Boekgrrls, a virtual book club by mailinglist, exclusively for women. :) Later I got to know her in real life on book-related outings (swaps!).
YvonneP’s asked to be represented by this colourful picture of red, blue and purple fruit. That doesn’t surprise me, as she once initiated a summer theme on the Kookgrrls’ blog for which she made a pink blackberry-yoghurt pudding/blob. I wonder if it can be veganized..?
Before the Veggie Challenge (VC) I was maybe a flexitarian. I ate very little meat (don’t like most meat), sometimes fish, some cheese, but I love eggs, yoghurt and soft cheese (kwark). So that could be the hard part of the vegan thing.
When I read about the VC I thought it was the best I could do, because of all the alarming news about food. I am really worried about the way food is produced and the way we are not told the truth about production mistakes, etc. Though I am not the sentimental type about animals I do not think it is right the way they are treated to serve as food.
So I decided to eat 2 days vegetarian and 2 days vegan. The other 3 days I would try to slow down eating ‘wrong’ things. Well, I ended up by doing the challenge for 2 months and now, we still eat vegetarian, very, very little fish, eggs and cheese. Even our way of shopping has changed. No supermarkets anymore, no ‘grootgrutter‘, but we buy our food at EkoPlaza. So, in fact, everything from the challenge lasts. I am still refining… :-)
In the beginning I did not know what to eat my bread with on the vegan days. But then I discovered all kinds of spreads and now, long time after the challenge we never buy anything else. Those spreads were my biggest discovery! And because it was sometimes very hot I made loads of strawberry (!!) basil ice and melon mint ice! Just blend the fruits and put them in the freezer. Love fruits, love strawberries, love blueberries, love myrtilles (don’t know the English word for it).
I can not decide what was the best we ate. I ate one recipe from the Provamel publication 20 Winnaars met smaak (shared below) with tofu and oranges that was extremely tasteful, but then again: so much was so tasteful.
My partner joined me in the challenge and he is now addicted to lentil curry spread. Does not want anything else on his bread. I do not know what he eats when he is traveling for business, but at home he eats what I make and he likes it…
I have told enthusiastically about the VC to others, but everyone has to decide for themselves whether they do it or not. I liked it very much, but maybe because the time was right for me…
Wow. I’m very impressed how YvonneP (and her partner!) went way beyond her goals while she’d expected it to be difficult. It’s had a huge impact on their lives; a real success story! That’s several animal lives saved a year — yay YvonneP!
Tofu Curry with Orange
Estimated time: 45 minutes
Recipe by Great Baten
Source: Provamel publication 20 Winnaars met smaak p.20-21
- 225 g tofu
- 250 g apple-green tea flavoured soygurt (Provamel)
- 1 organic orange
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbs raisins
- 2 tbs almond flakes
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tbs 100% vegetable margarine
- 1 tbs curry powder or curry paste of choice
- a bunch of fresh cilantro
- salt ‘n pepper
- Wash the orange and grate some of the skin until you’ve got half a tablespoon of orange zest.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange, add the raisins and et them soak until needed.
- Shortly toast the almond flakes in a non-stick pan. Don’t take your eyes of them! ;)
- Chop the cilantro and onion (keep them separate).
- Cut the tofu into small blocks.
- Heat the oil and margarine together in a pan. Add the curry (powder or paste) and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the tofu and onion. Stirfry on high heat.
- Add orange juice & raisins, orange zest, apple-tea yofu, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with almonds and cilantro and serve with rice.
Sounds like an easy recipe that I must try sometime! Personally I would insert a step #0 to drain the tofu first (how to do this is described in steps 1&2 of the Faux Feta recipe on Graasland). And maybe add some cinnamon which, to me, seems to go perfect with this dish. What do you think?
Next week:Uniflame from She Likes Bento.
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Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
I can hardly believe it: here’s Monday again and a whole week of VeganMofo has passed. Not only that, I managed to post every day! Yay me. ;) I’m really enjoying blogging again. :))
Today we’re having comforting Thai carrot soup here at Graasland. There are three ways to make this recipe:
a) quick and
b) less quick but still
c) elaborate — involving making your own curry paste from scratch.
I’m a medium-sized grrl. ;) So here’s version B!
Thai Carrot Soup Recipe
- 300 g clean carrots (if you’d like to peel instead of wash them you’ll need about 450 g to start with)
- 1.5-2 tbs olive, peanut or rapeseed oil
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 heaped tbs of red curry paste (check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan)
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 200 ml coconut milk
- salt & pepper
- optional: 1 tbs lime juice
- optional: chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 225 °C (gas 5).
- Cut the carrot into 1 cm pieces. Put them in a casserole with 1 tbs of oil and mix until all the carrot is coated with oil.
- Put it in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until tender.
- In the meantime chop the onion.
- When the carrots are done, heat the left over oil in a pan. Bake onion, crushed garlic and curry paste for a few minutes until soft.
- Add carrots, stock and coconut milk, bring to a boil and quietly simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, plus lime juice if using.
- Garnish soup in bowls with chopped cilantro.
The easy way out -you may have guessed- is to just cook the carrots in the stock. The soup is still good that way, but I really recommend roasting the veg in the oven because it enhances the taste. And it’s not much effort; just waiting time in which you can type up a blog post. ;)
This is one of the favourite dishes on our rotation scheme. It’s great for bento too, as it can be eaten on room temperature or chilled. If you plan to eat it cold I advise you to add some more broth as the colder the soup, the thicker it is.
I hope you’ll like this Thai carrot soup too!
Sometimes you try a recipe and it immediately turns into a favourite. That happened this summer, when I served spinach pesto for the Italian Kookgrrls Cookalong.
I made it several times since and always to a great success. It came to a garden potluck and we spooned it out as a starter at a special dinner for my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The verdict is unanimous: this dish is GOOD!
So here’s the recipe, translated and slightly adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Mediterraan koken by Jan & Ineke Stevens.
- 300g clean fresh spinach
- 2 tbs pine nuts
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
- 3 sprigs of fresh basil
- salt & pepper
- a good variety of olive oil (extra virgin)
When it’s still wet from washing, put the spinach in a saucepan and cook the leaves on high for a couple of minutes while turning them over a few times — until welted but still bright green. Drain thoroughly.
Blend the cooked spinach together with the garlic (it’s best to start with one clove and add more if necessary), pine nuts and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Using a good type of oil improves the taste!
Now that’s easy, isn’t it?
This spinach spread is good with toast, crudités, as a side dish, on a sandwich and probably with pasta. And it’s perfect for bentos!
Do you know the Evernote Food app? I’m creating a food photo diary with it — easy and fun! I only wish I could also edit entries in the equally handy all-round Evernote application, but maybe I’m missing something obvious?
On Saturday May 19th Evernote organized its first ever Evernote cook-along. ‘Chef’ Lauren Atkins provided us with the task to make crêpes.
You all know how I love challenges — and food! So I decided to take this up, even though I hadn’t baked any crêpes since going ExtraVeganza over a year ago… Pancakes? Yes. Crêpes? No. And I really even don’t like pancakes that much, but I just LUUUURV crêpes!
So the first question to tackle was: sweet or savoury?
As we had no dinner plans yet (and would be hiking during lunchtime), I chose the latter and picked Asian style rice crêpes with a mushroom-tofu filling.
It actually proved to be quite the dare! I had to adapt a basic vegan sweet crêpe recipe and combine it with the savoury dairy mushroom-tofu one from my vegetarian cookbook Het Grote Vegetarische Kookboek (p.138). Not a smart project to take on for a first attempt… So how did it turn out???
Rice Crêpes with Tofu-Mushroom Filling
Serves 2 (4 pieces).
I started out with this vegan crêpe recipe in my Vegweb iPhone app (substituting vanilla for a pinch of salt): whisking 1 cup of all-purpose flour (about 150 grams) with 1 1/2 cup rice milk (350 ml) and 2 heaped teaspoons of No-egg with 4 tablespoons of water mixed beforehand (note that the ratio for 2 ‘eggs’ is different from Ener-G egg-replacer). Adding 2 tbsp of sunflower oil and a pinch of salt.
I then continued putting additional ingredients in the batter that the non-vegan recipe in my cookbook called for: 1 tbsp kecap manis, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 50 grams of cooked rice (a combination of red, black and unpolished) and a mix of chopped and stir-fried fresh ginger (2 cm), 1 chilli pepper and 1 green onion.
You’ll have to cook the rice in advance or -preferably- use leftovers!
Each pancake was baked for about 3 minutes on one side and 1 more after having flipped them over.
The filling consisted of 100 grams of tofu sautéed for about 5 minutes in a combination of sunflower & sesame oil, then adding 150 grams mixed mushrooms, a clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp of white miso, 1 tbsp kecap manis and 1/2 tbsp lime juice, stirring for about 1 more minute.
We had a great dinner! Two crêpes each plus a large portion of salad.
I’ll admit the recipe needs a little tweaking because the pancakes were difficult to flip over — and stay in one piece at the same time. ;) My batter was probably a bit too thin from adding the extra ingredients. Next time I’ll adjust the amount of ‘milk’ accordingly and/or add some cornstarch.
Or maybe… I should just make sure to have a foolproof vegan crêpe recipe first?! Off to make some crêpes for lunch!!!
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Not sure how to pronounce “quinoa”? Learn on YouTube!
Whaddayaknow: it’s is already the fourth time four Dutch foodie bloggers are getting together for a weekend cooking blog hop! This time we’re focussing on quinoa. Have you ever had quinoa for dinner? Or breakfast for that matter — I’ve seen several recipes but haven’t dared trying yet for myself. Just like I’m reluctant to eat rice in the morning… But what am I saying? Contrary to how it’s used in Western cuisine, quinoa is not a grain but a vegetable related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard! Well, the seeds of it anyway.
The first time I tried quinoa was during my 10-day ExtraVeganza project. I made a stir-fry from The Guardian. Since then I’ve used it a few times in bento’s (#131, #161, #176, #177), but as I’m only halfway my second package… I guess it has not been used not that often! Rather surprisingly. O_o Because I like the taste, it’s quick & easy to make and belongs to the category of ‘super foods’ — meaning that it’s ultra healthy. ;) Quinoa is gluten-free, high on so-called complete proteins, vitamins B1&2, E, iron, copper and magnesium. Reading that you already feel better, right? ;)
The quinoa dish I’m sharing today is Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa. Laksa is an Asian chowder-like thick soup. Mr Gnoe and I had two helpings each so that our bellies were filled but not the I-need-to-lie-on-the-couch kind of full. Very satisfying but low-fat! This is a perfect weekday meal for when you’re tired and the fridge is empty.
I veganised the original recipe from BBC’s Good Food and made some adaptations dictated by the (barren) contents of my cupboards.
Quinoa and Vegetable Laksa
Ingredients – serves 2
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp Patak’s mild curry paste
- about 50 ml water
- 500 ml oat milk
- 400 g frozen mixed vegetables, or any veggies at hand which were in my case: frozen peas and green beans, corn kernels from a can, a large spring onion/small leek (sliced), an old turnip (nuked), some red and green bell pepper in small pieces
- 85 g quinoa, rinsed (!)
- 2 ts vegan broth powder
- salt & pepper
- Simmer the onion, curry paste and water for 5 minutes in a large saucepan, stirring from time to time. Begin with a splash of water and add some when the mixture gets too dry.
- Heat the oat milk in a jug in the microwave.
- Add the vegetables, quinoa, broth powder and stir in the milk.
- Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 10 mins until the quinoa is cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it sit for a short while longer if the directions of the quinoa call for that.
Next time I would like to try this recipe with almond milk instead of oat. Mr Gnoe thinks that will be too overwhelming but I think it may be good. Or maybe half of each. Of course you can use any plant-based milk but some will be better than others.
Also, the original recipe was titled “Spicy vegetable and quinoa laksa” but my tastebuds failed to notice any heat. Of course that depends on the the type of curry paste: I may use a stronger one next time, or just add a red chilli.
Always remember to rinse your quinoa seeds before cooking. They have a bitter-tasting coating (called saponins), which is mildly toxic and meant to make the kernels less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. These days quinoa has already been cleaned by the manufacturer but it’s good to get rid of possible remnants. Just follow the instructions on the package.
<whisper mode> Of course I shouldn’t say so in a post dedicated to quinoa, but you can also use 150 grams of basmati rice instead — just cook until done. But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?! ;) <whisper mode off>
And now that you’ve opened a package of quinoa: hop over to my fellow foodies for their awesome recipes!
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