Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa Tabbouleh

24 Sep

I am a lover of Middle-eastern food… ever since I visited Israel 15 years ago, I have been a fan of falafels, hummus, pita bread, rice pilaf, dolmades, among others.

Tabbouleh would be part of that fan list, however, the tabboulehs made usually in Middle-Eastern restaurants are too heavy on the parsley for my taste.  And now that I am trying to avoid wheat sometimes, well I rather order the arab salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and skip the tabbouleh all together.  Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat.

For the last time I cooked in the Yoga Center, I wanted to make a Middle-Eastern inspired menu and it all revolved around the fact I wanted to make this salad.  We made hummus, a salad with mixed herbs including mint, rice with spinach, mushrooms and nuts, which is not like the rice pilafs I am used to having at middle-eastern restaurants, but it fit better for the Yoga appetites.

This recipe also makes use of the abundance of avocados we have right now in Puerto Rico…  and what dish is not instantly improved by adding avocado to it??

 

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

QUINOA TABBOULEH with Avocado

2 cups of quinoa

1 vegetable bouillon cube

The zest and juice of 6 yellow lemons

2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 cup of fresh spearmint leaves, julienned

4 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 seedless cucumbers, unpeeled and diced

1 avocado, diced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

 

  1. Cook the quinoa first… by adding 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan with the vegetable bouillon cube.  When the water reaches a boiling point, add the quinoa.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, just like you would when making rice.  Cover and lower the heat to simmer until the quinoa cooks, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. After the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and season with ¼ cup of the olive oil and the zest and juice of 3 lemons.  Set aside.  If you are making this ahead of time, you can stop here and store the cooked quinoa in the refrigerator after it has had a chance to cool off a bit.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the scallions, onions, parsley, spearmint leaves, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Add the cooked quinoa and toss all the ingredients together.  Season the whole salad with the additional ¼ cup of olive oil, the zest and juice of the remaining 3 lemons, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss again well to combine.  Let all the flavors combine about 30mins – 1 hour before serving.

When you’re about to serve, garnish with the pieces of avocado.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Advertisements

Avocado Pasta

22 Sep

Avocado season is here…  and even though a few slices of avocado is the perfect accompaniment to any meal, and with so many ripening all at the same time, I’ve had to find creative ways to eat them all by myself…

This Avocado Pasta has become the last few weeks in my go-to lunch… it’s easy to make, mainly an assembly of flavors, because all you are cooking is the pasta.  Think of it like a pasta salad meets a guacamole and they decide to hang out together…  It’s refreshing because of the addition of the spearmint leaves.  Do not skip them… it’s partly what makes this dish special.  Trust… and your taste buds will be rewarded.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

 

AVOCADO PASTA

2 cups uncooked pasta, I use gluten-free quinoa pasta

2 medium avocados, chopped

1 shallot, minced

15-20 grape tomatoes, halved

15 spearmint leaves and 5 extra ones, all julienned and separated

5-6 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

The juice of 1 lime

3 large handfuls arugula

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic Salt

Salt and Pepper

 

  1. Cook by boiling your desired pasta in salty water according to the package directions…  I used quinoa pasta this time around.  I buy it at Costco.
  2. While the water boils and past cooks, prepare the avocado mixture – in a bowl mix together the avocados, shallot, lime juice, tomatoes, parsley, 15 spearmint leaves.  Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well to combine the flavors.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

3.  When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it well and add to the bowl where the avocados and tomatoes have been marinating.  Toss well to combine.  Add the arugula leaves, a light sprinkle of garlic salt and extra spearmint leaves and toss one final time to combine and for the arugula to wilt a bit.

Serve immediately.

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking

Quinoa Pasta with Baby Spinach

14 Jan

I love pastas… and when trying to do gluten-free for a few weeks, I crave it more and more each day.

We found this new pasta over at Costco – QUINOA PASTA!! I was skeptical at first, but it’s awesome! Cooks just the same and even better, I might add, than Tinkyada Rice Pasta, which for years has been my gluten-free pasta of choice. It withstands being left in hot water better than rice pasta.

This is a great recipe that combines pasta and salad all rolled into one… it’s basically pasta, salad and vinaigrette. It’s easy to make, delicious to eat, fast as it takes as long as the pasta takes cooking and even works great for company. I am planning to make this for someone new I’ve been seeing lately. Shhhhhh!!!! But, that’s just between you and me, OK??

WP_20131211_002

QUINOA PASTA WITH BABY SPINACH

2 heaping cups of dry quinoa pasta
4-5 large handful baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2-3 tbs of olive oil
The zest of 1 lemon
The juice of ½ of that same lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese, optional
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta according to the package directions. I usually boil the pasta for about 7-8 minutes, kill the heat, cover the pot and allow the pasta to continue cooking in the hot water.
  2. In a skillet over mdium-low heat, add about 2tbs of olive oil and the 2 garlic cloves. The garlic will infuse the oil with its taste. Allow the garlic to cook a bit in the hot oil, but don’t fry it, cook it just until it starts to change colors. Take the garlic pieces out and discard them. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, the juice and season with salt and pepper. Mix together and keep in hold until the pasta is done.
  3. Drain the pasta and return to the same pot. Add the baby spinach and the olive oil/lemon mixture. Toss well to combine. The heat of the pot and the pasta will start to wilt a bit the spinach. It’s possible you may need to add the spinach in batches, but that’s ok. I like that some of the spinach wilts more than others.
  4. Add an additional drizzle of olive oil and the parmesan cheese, if using. Toss one last time to combine and serve immediately.

But where will I get my protein?

30 Sep

297389_270487039723008_2118002716_n

Don’t be fooled by people who discourage your vegetarian lifestyle claiming you’ll be protein-deficient…

Check out all the sources of protein available from non-animal sources.  Learn them…  for your own benefit and to answer those skeptics you’ll find along the way.

Other sources of protein are:

  • Nuts and Seedsalmonds, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, chia, etc.
  • The milks of such nuts and seeds – like almond milk and sesame seed horchata
  • Other beans besides lentils and black beans – red kidney beans, pinto beans, pink beans, white beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, fava beans,  green beans, etc.
  • Brown rice – and when combined with beans, it is a complete form of protein.
  • Whole grain pastas – I am guessing the spaghetti in the chart above means whole wheat, but let’s make that note here then.  Regular semolina pasta is not rich in protein, but the whole wheat or whole grain kind is.
  • Spirulina – Spirulina is an algae found in certain lakes.  And in dry form it’s 60% protein…  I have taken it in tablets.

And… excess protein is harmful to our health regardless if it’s animal or vegetable protein.  So be mindful not to exceed the necessary daily requirement.  If we sin, it’s usually because we exceed the necessary protein intake.  By knowing which foods provide which amounts of protein we can plan accordingly and try to avoid the excess.

So, don’t worry about your protein intake…  there’s plenty of protein going around and in the vegetable world there’s way more variety than what people really think.

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??

QUINOA PILAF

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.

%d bloggers like this: