I first had quinoa (seriously if you don’t know much about quinoa checkout the Wiki article — the background info on it is very interesting) a couple years ago when my friend Justin (who has, unfortunately, since developed an allergy to it and cannot eat it anymore!!) introduced it back when we used to cook dinner then watch Desperate Housewives every Sunday. Since then, I haven’t been able to find it at QFC and every time I go to Whole Foods I forget to pick some up.
Then last week while looking for nutritional yeast (which I couldn’t find, unfortunately) I stumbled across Bob’s Red Mill quinoa. Despite costing $11, I picked up the bag and haven’t regretted it since.
Tonight I tried the Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry recipe from the Veganomicon.
The recipe is fairly simple — like any stir-fry, it just takes a while to prepare all of the ingredients. Under the ill-advisement of the cookbook, I didn’t prepare the quinoa a day early nor did I use fresh pineapple. Also, I opted for Thai basil and didn’t include mint leaves. In the end, this is basically a sweet-and-sour dish. And I’m not a huge fan of sweet-and-sour, but this was yummy enough. Next time I’m itching to use quinoa, however, I’ll probably do something else.
One thing I wanted to call-out for people who might have Veganomicon and want to make this: In the instructions, it starts off telling how to cook the cashews, but then it doesn’t tell you when to add them back. I totally forgot about them until the last six minutes or so of cooking, so that was unfortunate.
We had the dish with some store-bought pot-stickers.
So overall, if you are in the mood for quinoa and in the mood for stir-fry and in the mood for sweet-and-sour, this would be a great dish. Or, if you haven’t ever had quinoa and really like sweet-and-sour, this would be a great introduction.
Tonight for dinner I made a beet salad and French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme. It was all yummy so I took a picture since I want to try posting more about recipes I’ve tried, etc. on here.
The idea for the salad came after I ate at Andaluca for my birthday on Saturday. The “Green Bean” salad there had roasted carrots, beets, goat cheese, marcona almonds, and a sherry shallot vinaigrette. I had been wanting to “get into” beets for a while now, and the salad convinced me that I should give them a try.
To make my beet salad (I didn’t use a recipe for it), I first roasted two beets. I hadn’t done this before and roasting things is pretty new to me. Per the advice of my chef friend Troy, I wrapped the beets in foil and drizzled some olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also roasted some green beans.
For the dressing I just mixed together a little olive oil, black pepper, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. I also chopped up some shallots and threw those in.
One thing that the Andaluca salad had that I felt mine was lacking was something like the goat cheese. Since I wanted to make this all vegan, I intentionally didn’t buy goat cheese. And then I realized that I had some vegan cream cheese. I heated that up and added it to the salad — and it was very goat cheese like!
The lentil soup recipe came from my favorite cookbook: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. I would have never thought to make this soup (I don’t really like tarragon) but my friend Shannon highly recommended it. And to my surprise — it was great.
Overall, I think I can definitely improve on the salad. I forgot that the Andaluca one had nuts in it so I should’ve included candied walnuts or something. I also want to work on refining the dressing to be perfect. And next time I doubt i’ll include the cream cheese — if anything I might add some pieces of tofu.
So there you have it — another yummy vegan dinner!