Tag Archives: peas

Quinoa Pilaf

6 Jun

I have never heard of quinoa until I met Diane Carlson a few years back. Diane is the wonderful chef behind the Conscious Gourmet culinary retreats and one of the founders of the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC.

I took one of these culinary retreats once when they were still offered in Florida and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I still carry with me recipes and friendships from that retreat. And at that retreat was where I learned I could use a blog to share my recipes with all of you. So many good things came about from that retreat. I am thankful…

But this is not my recipe… This quinoa recipe is Diane’s recipe that has become my way of making quinoa ever since. I have made some tweaks to it by all the times I have made it, but I can’t take full credit for it. Diane taught me how to make quinoa and she should get the credit.

Now quinoa is all the rage. I hear its super popular way west in California. And us at the yoga center make it a lot too. The first time I bought quinoa was at Whole Foods right after finishing the retreat because I thought I would not be able to find it here in Puerto Rico. Now, I can buy it at Costco in 3 lbs bags. How things change, no??


1 cup quinoa, rinsed under cold water and drained well
1 ¾ cup vegetable broth
½ tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, peeled and cut into very small pieces
1 rib of celery, chopped finely
½ red bell pepper, chopped finely
½ green bell pepper, chopped finely
½ cup peas, frozen works fine
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a large pot, toast quinoa over medium-hi heat. Stir it occasionally until the grain is nearly dry. Then, stir constantly about 5 minutes more until it browns evenly and gets a nutty fragrance.
  2. Add the vegetable broth to the pot of quinoa. Add ½ tsp of salt and bring the pot to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender. That will take about 15-20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium-hi heat add the olive oil and the onions. When the onions have softened a bit, add the carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add the celery, peppers and peas. Sauté for a few minutes until veggies are cooked tender but still somewhat crisp.
  4. By now the quinoa will be cooked. Add the vegetables to the pot of quinoa and mix well. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately.

I love making quinoa because it’s a grain full of protein and nutrients and it’s very easy to make. This is the basic pilaf recipe I learned to make, but I have made this with many other combinations of veggies. Just like rice, it’s a great vehicle to use those little odds and ends you have in your fridge… go crazy and tell me what’s your favorite combination.

Caramelized Onion Risotto

17 Sep

This is another one of my risotto recipes that starts with Archer Farms 4 cheese Risotto mix.  This is more of a sweet version of risotto, because it has caramelized onions and sweet peas.  It’s a different twist from the salty versions I usually make.

This was an experiment to use up some caramelized onions I had left in the fridge from my French Onion Soup and experiments with a French Onion Dip.



1 box of Archer Farms 4 cheese risotto mix
½ cup caramelized onions
2 oz of smoked veggie ham, cut into small pieces
3 roasted garlic cloves
2 oz of shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup of frozen sweet peas
¼ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a medium saucepan, prepare risotto mixture according to package directions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, in a separate skillet, brown the pieces of smoked veggie ham.  Set aside.
  3. When the risotto is halfway done and the rice is starting to plump we can start adding more stuff to it…  add the onions and the garlic and mix well.   Add the gruyere cheese and mix well to melt thoroughly.
  4. When the rice is about to be done, add the Parmesan cheese and the peas.   Turn the stove off and let the rice and sauce thicken with the remaining heat from the stove.
  5. After leaving the risotto stand for 15 minutes, serve sprinkling the pieces of smoked veggie ham on top. 
  6. Drizzle with a bit of good extra virgin olive oil to garnish too.

NOTE:  I added the veggie ham pieces into my rice and they went limp on me… so do as I say, not as I do and just keep them as a garnish on top.  They’ll stay crispy and you’ll enjoy them better.

Stewed Peas

23 Jun

Beans and peas are an acquired taste to me…  and it’s kind of weird because now that I am vegetarian I’ve had to learn to eat these to integrate some variety into my diet.  I would eat some petit pois as part of a paella or an arroz con pollo in my former non-vegetarian life, but I would never eat peas or beans over rice, for example, something that is sooooooo Latin. 

One of the best surprises is sweet peas.  I really like them now.  They are super sweet and delicious.   So the other day I was looking to repurpose a Mexican Salsa I had made which tasted me too much like a sofrito.  And I found that stewing some sweet peas in it was a great way to reuse the salsa and gave the peas the right amount of sauce to moisten the brown rice.  Add some sweet baked plantains (plátanos maduros) and you’re all set.





1/2 cup Mexican Salsa – try this recipe, because I am not sure how this would turn out if you use Salsa from a jar
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt, to re-season if necessary


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the salsa.  Cook until you start seeing the tomatoes and onions start of get soft and translucent.
  2. Add the frozen peas.  No need to thaw them at all.  The heat from the pan will do it for you.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes until the peas get a really pretty bright green color and the sauce looks cooked.


Serve over rice or use as a filling for a pastelón or lasagna…  I also have added some toasted almonds for the added protein and it tasted awesome.  Trust me…

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