Archive for Quinoa

Apple Cider Tofu with Quinoa salad

Here the power grain quinoa and the ever amazing tofu come together to make a fantastic dinner (or lunch, snack, whatever you prefer). In opening my pantry, seeing a container full of quinoa, and remembering that it has loads and loads of calcium, I knew I had to make it. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure where else I was going to go from there. All I knew is that there were bricks of tofu in the refrigerator, tons of vegetables around from the farm share (need I tell you again how awesome farm shares are!?), and that I wanted to have dinner cooked for the boyfriend after he got home from class and before he had to go to work. I had precious little time to work with, and from it came this meal, which I am actually pretty proud of.

I started by cutting up a little less than quarter of a sweet red onion, and sauted it in a medium sauce pan with a clove of minced garlic. Then, I added some cut up swiss chard and a can of chickpeas. Following this, I added two cups of vegetable broth, and then one cup of rinsed, uncooked quinoa. I also added some salt and pepper, and a touch of hot sauce, since I’ve been putting it on/in everything lately. Once it came to boil, I reduced the heat. threw the lid on and let it simmer.

I then retrieved my pressed block of extra firm tofu, and cut it into eight pieces, width-wise. I began pan-frying them in a tablespoon of olive oil, not sure yet what I would be doing with them. While they were cooking, I was inspired by opening the refrigerator, when a bottle of maple syrup fell off the bottom shelf from the inside of the door. “Ok,” I thought, “I will make maple-glazed tofu.” And then, even better, I saw a quart of apple cider left in there as well, and decided to make maple apple cider glazed tofu. When the tofu was just about done, I added in 1 1/2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of apple cider. I let the tofu simmer in the glaze for a bit, to ensure that it would soak up all of the goodness, and then added cornstarch (you could use this or flour), teaspoon by teaspoon, until the glaze became thicker and throughly coated the tofu.

With the quinoa finished, I served it into a bowl and placed two pieces of tofu on top. I think the tofu really stole the show. Maple syrup and apple cider always go well together, and being slathered all over tofu is no exception. I think next time I would even consider marinating the tofu overnight in it, to give it even more of that great sweet, tart, maple apple flavor.

The quinoa was great as well. Cooking it in the vegetable broth with the onion and garlic really gives it more a flavor, because sometimes, in my opinion at least, quinoa can be a bit bland. The chickpeas and swiss chard went great together, and even without the tofu this would be a wonderful meal or side on its own. The mild taste of the quinoa really let the swiss chard shine, and after not having this leafy green prior to this year, I cannot tell you how much I love it, and what a distinct taste it has. I even added some of the diced stems, because I think they taste great as well, and don’t like wasting any part of the vegetable if I can help it. The quinoa salad really was great and filling, and the best part is that it is very versatile. You can add whatever vegetable or bean you’d like. Everything tasted amazing, was warm, filling, and was done just in time for the boyfriend to get home!

Quinoa stuffed squash & more

Having the farm share deliver us a big bag for fresh vegetables every Saturday keeps me on my toes, and is also good for Vegan Mofo. From the beginning of October and onward, we have been receiving tons and tons of squash. Delicata, butternut, acorn, kabocha, honey bear, on and on. We have so many we cannot keep up with them, and now we have a lovely bouquet of colorful squash on our kitchen table (and it is gorgeous too!).

I had one of those days where I really wanted quinoa (think of all that calcium!), had some sitting in the pantry, and then decided what to throw in it. After just getting home from work, I wanted my dinner done relatively quickly because I was super hungry, so I quickly sauteed some red onion (from the farm share as well), almonds, minced garlic (about 1 cloves), and frozen broccoli, and then threw in a can of diced pineapple. While that was being made, I prepared the quinoa in vegetable broth and bit of pineapple juice from the can for added flavor. When they both were done, I combine the two pans and went to town eating. It was ridiculously easy, quick, tasty and nutritious. The slightly crunch of the almonds along with the sweet softness of the warm pineapple was amazing, and the broccoli further added some extra crunch and flavor to round out the dish.

the quinoa filling

The following day, I came home from work hungry and lazy yet again. Luckily, I had a good amount of leftovers in the fridge, along with more squash than I could ever know what to do with. I cut one of the honey bear squash in half, placed it on a cookie sheet face up, and baked it a 350 degrees for 40 minutes, with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and a half of tablespoon each of maple syrup. After the forty minutes, I placed the leftover quinoa in the center, resisted from immediately eating it, and placed it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. During this time, I placed the seeds from the center on the squash on a lightly greased cookie sheet, sprayed them with cooking spray, salt, pepper and a garlic powder, and cooked them for fifteen minutes. I could not let a perfectly good part of the squash go to waste. It turns out that the seeds were delicious too, especially when paired with the soft quinoa and flesh of the squash.

leftovers are always great

I served the quinoa-filled squash along the seeds and leftover Greek Tofu Benedict, drizzled on some tahini dressing, and sat down to eat dinner. Leftovers generally get a bad reputation, but in this case it is totally undeserved. Quinoa always reheats well, and is given new life inside the squash, and the tofu, roasted red peppers and potatoes heated up great in the toaster oven. For making this dish on a whim, I was pretty impressed!