By now most of us are aware that quinoa is a superfood. It is one of the plant world's few complete proteins, providing all of the essential amino acids that your body requires. It's versatile too - it can be used in place of grains like rice or millet, in spite of the fact that quinoa is actually a seed, a pseudo-cereal that is eaten and cooked like a grain.
But how often do you use quinoa in your daily life and in how many ways? I tend to have it only about once or twice a month and I usually use it as a base for a stir-fry or as a simple side dish. Enter The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook. With this book, we can now use our favourite power food in 130 recipes that take us right through from breakfast to dinner and beyond to dessert (yes, quinoa desserts!).
Members of the Ontario Home Economics Association, including the book's editor Mairlyn Smith, collaborated to produce The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook. Besides your ordinary quinoa, the book includes recipes that make use of red quinoa, quinoa flour, quinoa flakes and quinoa puffs. Many of the recipes are gluten free. All of the recipes are vegetarian. Many are vegan (or can be made vegan).
I'm looking forward to trying the "Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes," a mix of quinoa flour, pumpkin and other goodies. The recipe isn't vegan, but I'll replace the egg with egg replacer or flax and the buttermilk with a mix of non-dairy milk and vinegar. In the meantime, I made this "Quick Weeknight Chili." It really is a quick recipe, and it was quite tasty and satisfying. I love the addition of crumbled, firm tofu. I didn't have shallots handy so I used regular diced onion, and I used frozen cilantro because I didn't have fresh. The quinoa really soaks up the liquid so I added more water when I reheated the leftovers the next day. This is a good and healthy recipe, without making you feel at all deprived. I'm also looking forward to making "Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup" and "Fruit and Nut Clusters" (with chocolate!).
You can find The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook (published by Whitecap Books) in Canada here and in the U.S. here. Give the chili a try and let me know what you think. (There's no photo for the chili in the book, so this is the chili I made.)
Quick Weeknight Chili
Keywords: vegan vegetarian quinoa beans
Ingredients Makes 8 cups (2 L)
- 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves
- 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) mixed beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) vegetable broth
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 lb (250 g) firm tofu
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano and sauté for another minute.
2. Add the quinoa and stir to coat with the herbs and spices. Pour in the tomatoes, beans, broth and green pepper. Finely crumble the tofu into the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the chili is thickened slightly.
3. To serve: Stir in the cilantro just before serving. Serve with 100% whole grain bread if desired or unsalted 100% whole grain corn chips.
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