I thought that by making this dish the Wednesday before Expo West that I’d be able to post it in a timely manner and not leave you hanging for a week. Clearly, this is not the case. I’ve already been caught up in the Expo, along with finishing some Easter Brunch recipe for a VegNews web feature (!!!). I CANNOT wait to share both of those with you, as there are a lot of really awesome new, vegan products debuting at the Expo this year; and the brunch recipes that I’m making are SO good. (If I don’t say so myself )
Basically, this all came together when the lovely Jill from Vegan Cuts came into town and stayed with me for a night, before heading off to Anaheim. She was starving, but wanted something healthy to eat, especially after indulging at the New York Veg Fest (I’m not jealous, oh wait, yes I am). I’ve been wanting to make some lettuce wraps, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to make them more Asian or Mexican-inspired. This problem was quickly solved after I spotted a can of black beans and my mind began racing.
These wraps are great because they’re totally plant-based, oil-free, and flavorful! Not to mention, a good amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. What more could you ask for? Maybe dessert. Here we have your black beans, your quinoa, some plantains, bell peppers, spinach and more. Plus, when you ditch the tortilla for lettuce, you drop the empty calories and extra carbs.
Oh dear, is anyone else stressing out about the holidays like I am? Even though I have almost all of Christmas shopping done, I feel like there’s always more to do! Such as, coming up with what to eat for Christmas dinner; maybe I’ll say, “Screw it!” and make a pizza. For some reason I’m not feeling totally inspired food-wise, and it could be that I just have a lot on my plate right now. (HA!) Or, maybe I’ll just make this quinoa pasta dish again.
I experimented a bit with a base recipe for this a couple of weeks ago, mostly because I wasn’t entirely sure how good a tofu-based sauce would work. After feeding it to my non-vegan cousin, it was clear that this recipe was a hit. What’s great about this dish is that it can be eaten as an entrée or served as a side at a holiday dinner. Plus, there’s no added oil and it’s gluten-free! Sounds pretty solid to me.
If you would like to make this recipe even healthier, serve the creamy garlic sauce over baked spaghetti squash, which is a favorite of mine. Don’t like spinach? Use bite-size kale pieces instead. Also, one tip for reheating leftovers, add a little vegetable broth or non-dairy milk to get the sauce creamy again.
That recipe title sure is a mouthful! And that’s not even getting to the kale part. One thing that I love about steaming is that it’s so damn easy; I mean, it is pretty hard to mess it up. In this case you don’t actually need a fancy steamer, just a large pot and pan will get you on your way to enjoying a healthy and flavorful meal. Well, maybe a steamer basket for the pot, too.
Just take one look at this recipe and you can see that it’s chock full of Vitamin A from the carrots and butternut squash, plus fiber and potassium. Quinoa gives you some lean protein and fiber, as well as amino acids. This is a well-rounded meal! When everything is steaming, you can whip up the southwestern tahini sauce in mere minutes, making this dish very easy to put together. Top it off with green onions and roasted pepitas, and you’re set.
In other news, there’s supposed to be a thunderstorm tomorrow (yay!), so maybe it’ll water my seedlings that I waited very long to plant. I love it when Mother Nature does a couple of chores for me.
Pretty Clouds and A late Pumpkin Seedling
By now, a lot of people know of Quinoa, even if they have no idea how to pronounce it. But, do we all know about the origins and benefits of it? The plant is grown for its grain-like seeds and it is actually a relative of beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. It is from the Andes region of South America and was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. The Incas held quinoa in high regard, even referring to it as the “Mother of all grains”, but when Spanish Conquistadors found the Incas, they dismissed the grain as “food for Indians” and suppressed its cultivation. But, now, quinoa is having its heyday and the UN has even declared 2013 as the year of Quinoa. Clearly, they are a little late to the party.
As far as how good it is for you, the facts speak for themselves. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing 9 essential amino acids; the grain is also rich in iron, fiber, magnesium, manganese and Riboflavin (B2). It is really no wonder this “super food” has become immensely popular! Quinoa is also naturally Gluten-free, so it is a great addition to any Celiac’s diet, or anyone else for that matter.
So, now that you know a little more about quinoa, let’s get on to the recipe! I’ve made plenty of savory recipes with it before, so I figured now would be a great time to try out a sweeter one. Especially after that review on those Keen-Wah Decadence bars, Mmmm.. And the giveaway is still going on! Enter for your chance to win one of three Multi-packs from YogaEarth. Anyway, these little quinoa bites are filled with deliciousness, it’s a main ingredient. They are perfect for curbing your sweet tooth cravings!