Karen’s Quinoa

I figure, I better quickly write this post because I’ll soon forget what I threw together last night.  As you, our faithful readership of primarily family members and obliging friends, may recall from last year, during the weeks of Lent (Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday), I “go vegan” or to put it in more doctrinal terms, I abstain from all animal products and by-products.  It can be either a challenge or an annoyance depending on the day.  For example, it’s an annoyance each year when I ultimately make a cheesecake for a friend.  One year I experimented with Bailey’s Cheesecake for Jenny’s birthday on 3/16 only to enjoy it weeks later, fresh from the freezer after Easter Vigil.  It was also a bit of annoyance this weekend as I made strawberry cookies & cream cheesecake for a co-worker’s goodbye party.  By and large, however, it’s a good challenge for me since I have really never, EVER had to go without, and this is a small practice in sacrifice.  I don’t pretend that people starving a third world country or just down the street would not tell me I’m crazy or elitist for choosing not to pass of good, life-sustaining food, but for me it’s about recognizing just how good I have it (I’ll spare you my theological reasonings for the moment).

That said, it’s now time to experiment with vegan-friendly foods.  Last week at the local health food store, I bought a package of quinoa.  It’s high in fiber, gluten-free, and high in protein.  I first cooked 2 cups of quinoa in 4 cups of veggie broth, following the directions on the package.  It is prepared much like rice with a 2 to 1 ratio of water to grain, and then simmered for about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the quinoa was doing its magic, I sautéed some vegetables:  the usual onions and garlic. I also added some zucchini and some cumin and chilli powder.

To up the protein I added a can of rinse and drained garbanzo beans and to up the flavor some sun-dried tomatoes.  Had I some fresh basil on hand, that might have been a good addition or maybe some thinly sliced kalamata olives?   Perhaps some chopped walnuts or pine nuts?  I have five weeks to improve the recipe.

I then added the quinoa to the vegetables, stirring to thoroughly incorporate.  Before serving (myself) I drizzled a little olive oil on top and a dash of kosher salt.  Pretty tasty, for me at least.

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