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Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry

1 Oct

Have I mentioned that I don’t like tofu? I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I hate it, but I seem to always eat around it if I order something vegetarian in a restaurant that automatically comes with it, and I never ever ever make it at home. But the one questions vegetarians are asked unceasingly is: “Where do you get your protein??” and until recently the answer has usually been tofu. Blech.

Luckily for vegetarians there is protein in literally everything (it is one of the building blocks of nutrition, after all), and though I could talk about the excessive consumption of protein in this country that has helped lead to our obesity epidemic (1 in 3 Americans is now obese), I will simply say that quinoa is a quick and delish way of getting a complete plant-based protein. So goodbye tofu!

This is one of my fave quinoa recipes. You really do want to use fresh pineapple in this. You will need the juice from a fresh pineapple to use in the quinoa, and this does taste best if you make the quinoa itself a day ahead and let it sit overnight to absorb all the pineapple-y goodness. But, if you’re pressed for time and can’t wait so be it. It will still be good. And, though this dish is the bomb as-is, I also think it would be fantastic with some grilled shrimp or salmon on top. Just no tofu!

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry
From Veganomicon
serves 4

Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 cup cold water
1/4 tsp soy sauce

Stir-Fry
4 oz unsalted cashews
3 tbs peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 hot red chili, sliced into very thin rounds
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen green peas or cooked edamame
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced  into thin shreds
2 tbs finely chopped mint
10 ounces fresh pineapple cut into bite-sized chunks
3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs veg stock (or water)
1 tbs mirin
lime wedges for garnish

Prepare the quinoa first: Combine the quinoa ingredients in a medium pot. Cover, place over high heat, and bring to boil. Stir a few times, lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears plumped and slightly translucent. Uncover, fluff, and let cool. After it has cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a hurry chill the quinoa for at least an hour. When ready to use, break up any chunks of the cold quinoa with a fork.

Prepare the stir-fry: Use the largest nonstick skillet you have or a wok. Have all of your ingredients chopped and easily within reach. Place the cashews in a dry pan and heat over low, stirring until lightly toasted  4-5 mins.

Remove the cashews from the pan, raise the heat to medium, and add the peanut oil, scallions, and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle add the sliced chile pepper and ginger. Stir-fry for about 2 mins, then add the bell pepper and peas. Cook another 3-4 mins, until the bell pepper is softened and the peas are bright green. Add the basil and mint, and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.

In a measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, veg stock and mirin. Pour over the stir-fry. Stir to incorporate completely and coat the quinoa. Continue to cook 10-14 minutes until the quinoa is very hot (note: I didn’t cook it more than another few minutes because I felt like it was done). Serve with lime wedges.

Spicy Peanut and Coconut Vegetables over Bamboo Rice

21 Sep

Because I was a vegetarian for so much of my life, I must have a million different riffs on a vegetable stir-fry. This happens to be one of my favorites, because I really love bamboo rice.  I have found that simply changing up which rice I use makes a boring old stir-fry fun again. Though, to be honest, I never tire of the veggie/rice combo: a good stir-fry is one of my favorite dishes on the planet.

Where to find bamboo rice? I get it in bulk at my local market (Greenwood Market, if you are here in Seattle), but it can also be found from online purveyors and at Amazon.  I also like using different types of quinoa instead of rice in my stir-fry, or Bhutanese red rice, saffron rice, etc. There is a whole world of rice out there that you might not even know about, and it is fun trying out different kinds to see what you like.

I am giving you a basic recipe for what I made here, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. That’s the beauty of a stir-fry– you’re meant to just throw in whatever odds and ends you find languishing in your fridge. Of course you can add whatever meat or tofu you like, but I like mine with just vegetables, thank you very much.

Spicy Peanut and Coconut Vegetables with Bamboo Rice
From LaFemmeCooks
Serves 4

1 small head broccoli (or 1 bag frozen)
1 small onion
2 carrots, sliced into coins or matchsticks, whatever you like
1 container mushrooms, any variety
1 cup sliced purple cabbage
1 zucchini
1 cup celery, cut on the bias into one-inch pieces
3-4 leaves of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper
1 cup snow pea pods

Sauce:
1/2-1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 lime
1-2 tbs rice wine vinegar (add one, then test at the end for proper acidity and add more if needed)
1 tbs grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tbs chile sauce or sriracha (depending on how hot you like it)
1/4 cup each cilantro, mint and thai basil

Combine all ingredients for sauce in bowl. Heat vegetables over high heat, except snow peas. Cook about 5-8 minutes, until vegetables are al dente. Turn heat to medium and add snow peas and sauce. Mix thoroughly. Add more of the coconut milk if needed for desired consistency. You can serve this over rice, with a squeeze of lime, or I like to mix in the rice at this point so that it soaks up the sauce.

 

Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou

26 Aug

I was craving shrimp recently when I came across this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.  The green-hued, herb-flecked quinoa stopped me in my tracks, and I knew I had to make this ASAP. If you haven’t had quinoa before, you will find that it is a great, healthier replacement for rice in many recipes.  Hailed as probably the best plant-based source of protein, it has a delicate nutty flavor that pairs nicely with just about anything.

It was such a hit in my house that I have made it a few times since, and it will definitely be in regular rotation.  Pistou is easy to make and freezes well, so you can make a big batch of it, pop it in the freezer, and then take it out when you are ready to use it.  I also used a nice smokey pimenton (from World Spice here in Seattle) in the rub for the shrimp, which really knocked this dish out of the park and reminded me of the importance of using the best quality ingredients for every aspect of a recipe.

Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou
From Food and Wine September 2010

1/2 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
2 tbs flat-leaf parsley
1 tbs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tbs finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 1/4 cups water

In a resealable plastic bag, toss the shrimp with the first 6 ingredients, 1 tbs of the oil and 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper until coated.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425.  In a food processor, pulse the basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic and cheese.  Add 2 tbs of oil; puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and the remaining 1 tbs of oil.  Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender, about 15 mins.  Let stand for 5 mins.

On a baking sheet, roast the shrimp for about 8 minutes, until curled and pink.  Cut the shrimp into thirds and add to the quinoa with the pistou.  Toss well and serve.

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