Happy Vegan Mofo Week #3!
In honor of this fine Monday, I wanted to share with you this rad preparation for quinoa.
I love quinoa. It's a little silly how much I love quinoa, actually.
I discovered it in the early part of my switch to being gluten-free, right around the time it was starting to become trendy (and when Whole Foods introduced it to their salad bar). Now, I cook with it about 3 times a week, and almost always have a pre-made batch in the fridge to round out lunches (or as a great breakfast grain!). I love that there are three distinct varieties (red, white, black) that take about the same amount of time to cook, and have such distinct flavors.
Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains traditionally consumed, as it's a pseudo-grain (more closely related to a seed than to say, wheat). It's easy to make, gluten-free, totally versatile, and delicious. All big point-scorers in my book!
To the right is a quick recap of how to make a successful batch of quinoa. It's surprisingly easy (and affords you 15-20 minutes of FREE TIME to use however you need to.)
The recipe here was an attempt to recreate the Super Healthy Salad from Hummus Kitchen, a NYC Mediterranean restaurant that Michael and I love. Conveniently, I was also trying to use up the last of the produce in the house before a Saturday trip to the farmers market: we had everything to make this except for cilantro, so I improvised and concocted a pumpkin sauce instead of the traditional green tahini. (Truth be told, it was pretty awesome. I am currently coming up with other things to pour it on.)
Quinoa lends itself to all kinds of mix-ins. Does this inspire you to toss together some pseudo-grains? Here we go: one add-in at a time...
Dried apricots, soaked for at least an hour in warm water. Aim for preservative-free. This orange kind or Turkish apricots work equally well.
Pumpkin tahini: 1/2 cup pumpkin, 2 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp olive oil, and a sprinkle of cumin.
A perfectly ripened avocado.
Baked sweet potatoes (bonus: you make these in a batch and have some more stocked up for the week!)
The finished product... just darn delicious.
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed [make more if you're preparing a batch of sweet potatoes for the week]
- 5 apricots, soaked for at least one hour
- 1/4 cup walnut
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree [no sugar added]
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 avocado
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss sweet potato with 1 tbsp olive oil and spread on metal baking tray. Place in oven and set timer for 30 minutes.
- 2. In the meantime, cook quinoa per directions included in "quick quinoa tutorial" above, about 20 minutes total.
- 3. While potatoes and quinoa cook, slice your apricots and avocado and set aside.
- 4. Combine remaining oil, tahini, and pumpkin until smooth. Sprinkle with cumin.
- 5. When quinoa has set for 5 minutes, scoop a small amount into a mould (ie. a small tupperware container). Layer quinoa, apricots, walnuts, a little more quinoa, and pack tightly. Overturn onto a plate. Top with pumpkin sauce. Repeat for each serving.
- Serve with sweet potato and avocado on the side.