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