quinoa

This recipe was adapted from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. I didn’t have most of the veggie ingredients so I made do with what was available at home. It turned out as granola as it can be, of course not in any pejorative way, but simply healthy and delicious. The sauce reminded me of something similar that I made to dress a Thai inspired salad.

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

1 block of garden tempeh, cut into bite size cubes
2 wedges Kabocha pumpkin, skin on; steamed and then cut into bite size cubes
1 cup snow peas
1 cup fresh garden peas
1 cube vegetarian bouillon
1½ cups dried quinoa
1 tsp black sesame seeds
2 scallions cut into thin rounds

for the sauce:

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp red miso paste
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cider vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tbsp canola oil

Rinse and soak quinoa for 20 minutes. Drain, add to a sauce pan with vegetarian bouillon, 2 cups of water, bring to a boil reduce the heat to medium/low and cook until water has absorbed and grains are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered for few minutes.

Prepare the sauce by combining together ginger, miso, almond butter, cider vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic and a third to a half cup of water. You want the sauce to be relatively thick but with a runny consistency. Set aside.

Add canola oil to a skillet. Bring temperature to high. Toss in tempeh cubes, sprinkle with salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning cubes occasionally to brown them evenly. Add one tablespoon of water, cover the pan and let tempeh absorb the water. Transfer tempeh cubes to a plate and keep them warm. Add remaining oil to the skillet, followed by snow peas, garden peas and cook for a couple of minutes until they turn bright green. Add kabocha pumpkin and tempeh cubes.

To serve, fluff quinoa with a fork, mix in scallions and transfer to a large serving platter. Pile sautéed tempeh and veggies combo next to the quinoa. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve sauce on the side.

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quinoa tabouli

by Heguiberto on March 13, 2012

quinoa tabouli

quinoa tabouli

I made this dish for a “healthy-“themed potluck at the office the other day. Several areas of my company are on an inter-departmental contest for weight loss. I am impressed with the dedication of my colleagues and the number of pounds some people are dropping. Go marketing team! The recipe is a variation on tabouli with endive and escarole, which is also quite healthy. Here the quinoa adds additional protein. They’re these incredible little seed power-packs. I was inspired by our recent visit to Herbivore where we tried something similar. This makes a perfect vegan meal.

quinoa tabouli

1½ cups quinoa
4 whole scallions, chopped
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cube vegetarian bouillon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Rinse and soak quinoa for about 10 minutes. Drain, transfer to a sauce pan add 2 cups of water and the cube of vegetarian bouillon. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to low and cook until soft but not mushy. Add more water if needed. Pour quinoa over a strainer and let it drain excess water and cool down to room temperature.

Once quinoa has cooled, add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust salt to taste. Let sit at room temperature before serving, or better yet, refrigerate and serve the following day. The tabouli will taste even better.

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quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

I’ve adapted this light and protein-rich salad from Plenty by Yotam Ottelenghi. It is flavorful and perfect for a barbeque party. You will enchant all your guests with this one, whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, or more omnivorous. The dish combines ingredients from both new and old worlds to become a beautiful international delight, just the way we like it 😉

quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

½ cup red quinoa
½ cup white quinoa
2 ripe Hass avocados
1½ cups fresh fava beans, from about 2 lbs fava pods
8 fresh multicolor oblong French radishes, quartered
1 cup frisée escarole, cleaned, cut into bite size pieces
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove crushed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Aleppo pepper chili flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Add both red and white quinoa to a sauce pan, top with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature to medium and cook until soft and little seeds have partially burst. Drain, rinse and let cool down to room temperature in a strainer.

Using a sharp paring knife cut a tiny strip off the stringy part of the fava pod lengthways, pop beans out of their velvety pod. Repeat process for remaining pods. Add beans to a pot with boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain, shock beans with cold water, let them cool down. Remove outer membrane from around each bean, being careful not to crush them.

Cut avocados in halves, remove large seeds. Slice into wedges, transfer to bowl and sprinkle with some lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, salt, peppers, remainder of the lemon juice, cumin and olive oil.

Transfer quinoa, fava, radish and frisée to a serving dish, pour dressing over everything and toss to combine. Adjust flavors if necessary. Gently fold in avocado wedges.  Garnish with some crisp lettuce leaves.

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mushrooms with red quinoa

by Heguiberto on February 12, 2010

mushrooms and red quinoa

This is a simple to make dish that’s both nutritious and elegant. It makes a wonderful side dish. I served it with sautéd red snapper fillets in garlicky clam and mussel sauce. It’s as easy to make as rice. The color of the red quinoa is stunning and I think stimulates the appetite. Recently I used shitake mushrooms to make the dish though I’ve made it with white buttons, too.

Mushrooms with Red Quinoa

1 cup red quinoa
3 cups water
½ lb shiitake mushrooms cut in half of left whole if small
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling in the end
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste

How to:

Bring water to a boil then add quinoa. Turn the temperature down to medium, cover pan and let quinoa cook for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Drain excess water if there is any.

dried red quinoa


Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a pan on medium high. Add garlic and sauté for about one minute. Add mushrooms. Toss to coat with oil and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms are tender but not mushy. Add salt. Stir in quinoa. Adjust flavors.

Transfer to a nice platter or bowl, drizzle some olive oil over it and serve.

so-called ugly shitake mushrooms from the farmers market though they look beautiful to me

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quinoa love

by Heguiberto on July 25, 2009

it's always a party with quinoa love!

it's always a party with quinoa love!

This is the best time of the year for locally grown produce: Summer! Last Sunday we went to the farmers market at the UN plaza and found beautiful vegetables on sale for cheap! In fact vegetables are always cheap at this market. Many times they are organically grown or at least grown free of pesticides which is a good thing. This week the organically grown collard greens were on sale: 3 large bunches for only 2 bucks. The dry farmed cherry tomatoes were just a dollar a pound. You really can’t beat that anywhere else in San Francisco. Dry framed tomatoes may not be the cutest but I think that they’re especially flavorful due to the stress the plant goes through receiving only rain water. Don’t be afraid of vegetables that don’t appear classically shaped or colored. In the case of tomatoes, for example, the oddly shaped and colored ones tend to be more packed with flavor that the more conventional round, plump red ones. I almost wonder why they still even produce the flavorless tennis-ball varieties anymore.

fresh collard greens from the farmers market

fresh collard greens from the farmers market

The same day that we went to the farmer’s market we were also invited to our friend, John’s house for dinner, sort of last minute. I was already preparing Quinoa Love, so we offered to bring it over. Amazingly, John was thinking of making the same dish himself that very night! It was kismet, no?

How could we decline having a meal with friends? The food always tastes even better and more company makes the conversation more lively. Plus Clarence, our bulldog, was invited. He really enjoys visiting John’s. So it was a win-win situation all around.

This recipe is simple though it requires several steps to make. It is a complete meal packing everything you need including lots of protein coming from the tofu and quinoa. The meal is ultra healthy and light and tasty. This is not one of those old-fashioned hippie vegetarian recipes with no flavor that makes you run to the loo the whole next day, so don’t worry! It has tons of flavor, interesting textures and is a real crowd pleaser every time. I’ve served this to people who’ve never had quinoa and to regular meat eaters and never had any complaints. Actually they ask for more most of the time.

A note on quinoa, I thought that quinoa was a cereal much like rice or corn, but I was wrong about that. It’s what they call a “pseudo-cereal.” Apparently it’s related to beets and spinach. Even so, you can cook quinoa much the same way you would when making rice. In the taste department I would say it is nutty and smells a bit like oatmeal. Quinoa is another exquisite and nutritious contribution from the Americas to world cuisine.

Quinoa Love

TJ's quinoa

TJ's quinoa

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of dry quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch of collard greens, rinsed, stems* removed with leaves cut in thin strips 2-3 inches long
1 ½ lbs. cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp sugar
5 ears of fresh sweet corn
½ bunch of Italian parsley chopped
1 block of tofu cut into 5 squares
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
½ cup pesto American Style
½ jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips
4 cloves of garlic
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
¾ cup pumpkin seeds

*Collard green stems tastes like broccoli, don’t discard them just steam them and add to salads, soup, rice, etc

How to:

Cut tomatoes in halves. Toss with sugar, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Place tomato halves on a cooking pan cut side up and bake it in the oven for about 50 minutes at approximately 380F.

Add quinoa to a pan with 2 cups of water and salt, heat to boiling then turn temperature to low. Simmer covered for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Let rest for 5 min.

chopping collard greens

chopping collard greens

Lay tofu squares on a dish, sprinkle salt, black pepper, cayenne and nutritional yeast over it on both sides. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a pan and sauté tofu squares about 5 min per side. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar over them. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, add two tbsp of olive oil and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Sauté till fragrant. Add collard greens. Toss to coat with olive oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes until collard greens have wilted to about half of the original volume and the color is bright green. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, heat 4 tbsp olive oil and the remaining garlic. Sauté till fragrant then add corn, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook corn for about 5 minutes while occasionally stirring. Add parsley to corn about half way through cooking. Remove from pan and set aside.

To assemble the dish mix the quinoa, corn, collard greens, pumpkin seeds, sundried tomatoes together in a large bowl. Stir in pesto. Place mix in a large serving dish. Cut tofu squares diagonally into triangles and lay them on top of the quinoa mix. Top with baked tomatoes, along with their juices. This dish makes about ten to twelve servings. It tastes great the next day too.

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