I cannot believe that it’s October already… how did that happen?! The summer heat has officially died down, and the cooler weather has been rolling in. And with cooler weather, comes the craving of comfort food (which more often than not is something heavy, unhealthy, and indulgent). There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging every now and then (during any season) - but I definitely find that it’s more challenging to make daily healthy eating choices once it’s sweater weather. My desire to make / eat salads definitely declines when it’s cold out, haha.
You may or may not have noticed that the word “vegan” has shown up in my last few recipe posts (here and here). I’ve mentioned before that I’m not fully vegan (or even vegetarian), and that still remains true.. but I have definitely made conscious efforts to cut back on the animal products I do consume - and have been trying to incorporate a lot more plant based meals whenever I can.
I’m dropping in today to share my go-to quinoa recipe! It varies, depending on what I have in my fridge (it’s a great “clean out the produce drawers” meal solution). I love that it can be eaten warm or cold (although on cold days, my preference is definitely hot/warm). Growing up, quinoa was never part of my diet (I grew up on white rice, being 100% Chinese). It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I got curious about the healthier high protein / high fiber rice-like alternative that is quinoa and started experimenting with ways to cook it.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1/2 cup quinoa (measured dry, serves 1-2 people depending how hungry you are)
1 cup water
salt, black pepper, paprika, turmeric (2-3 grinds or shakes of each)
1 clove garlic (roughly chopped)
1 handful cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)
1 handful red or green bell pepper (diced)
1 handful white or purple onion (diced)
1 handful white or portobello mushrooms (sliced)
1 handful kale (chiffonade / shredded finely)
1 handful purple cabbage (shredded finely with a mandolin)
2-3 baby carrots (julienned / cut into thin strips with a mandolin)
1 heaping spoonful of hummus
1/2-1 whole avocado (sliced or diced)
1/4 lime or lemon (juiced)
** If you are missing any of the veggies listed above, it’s not a deal breaker! Usually I just work with what I have. For example, mushrooms and onions were actually 2 staples I usually have that I didn’t have on hand in the photos for this post. Cubed roasted zucchini or sweet potatoes also make a yummy and hearty addition. Bottom line is you can really add whatever you want!
WHAT TO DO:
Add quinoa, water, salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, and garlic to a small pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook time: 10 minutes.
While the quinoa cooks, cut up all your other veggies. (You can also do this ahead of time to save time). Once the quinoa is nearly finished cooking, I like to add the veggies to the pot to let them cook for a few minutes with the quinoa and seasoning. The only things I don’t throw into the pot are the purple cabbage and the carrots because I like those more raw and crunchy.
Time to plate! Spread the hummus on the bottom of the bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the quinoa and veggie mixture, sprinkle in some carrots and purple cabbage, and then add more quinoa on top of that, more carrots, purple cabbage, etc. I like layering it up like this rather than tossing it around in a larger bowl to combine everything (but you can totally do that instead, if you want).
Top it off with your avocado, squeeze of lime or lemon juice, cilantro, and chia seeds! You could also dollop on more hummus if you wish. :)
What are some of your favorite quinoa recipes?