Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Paprika Vinaigrette

January 12, 2013 By: Megabeth Category: Salads, Side Dishes

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Paprika Vinaigrette

Looking for a potluck dish? You’ve got it right here!

However, let me be honest, I think I had some pot-luck bad luck when it came to taking pictures of the completed dish. So, I apologize for the lackluster photos. I couldn’t *not* share this recipe because it really was just that good.

We had to say goodbye to two of our original vegetarian potluck crew as they move on to Boston. Our theme for the night was an Italian feast. Charged with bringing a side-dish, I wanted something flavorful and interesting. This fit that bill.

You can serve this salad warm or cold. Perfect for a potluck so you don’t have to worry about heating anything up.

Smoky paprika is something you should keep in your spice rack at all times. It adds a unique flavor to any dish.

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Paprika Vinaigrette
Recipe from: Katherine Martinelli

  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • Salt
  • 6 small or 3 large portabello mushrooms (about 6 ounces), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (15- to 16-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 unpeeled cucumber, chopped
  • 6 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
  • 1½ cups crumbled feta or Bulgarian cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pepper
  1. Put the quinoa in a large saucepan and 1¾ cup water, or enough water to cover quinoa by about 1 inch. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and drain of any remaining liquid, if there is any. Allow to cool slightly. (Megabeth note: I just made my quinoa in the rice cooker. Used the same quinoa to water ratio, turned on the cooker and let it cook while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.)
  2. Heat a drop of olive oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) until very hot. Add the portabello mushrooms and cook until tender and cooked through. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until fully absorbed, another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Put the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, 1 cup of cheese, and half of the mushrooms in a large bowl.
  4. Add the cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.
  5. Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.
  7. Sprinkle remaining feta and mushrooms over and serve immediately.

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Paprika Vinaigrette

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Chilled Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Olives & Feta Cheese

June 17, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Salads, Side Dishes

I start of my Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles Challenge swinging for the wall with The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw. My edition is from 1997. This 612 page tome covers everything you need to know about vegetarian cooking but were afraid to ask. The subtitle says it all “Your Guide to the Best Goods on Earth: What to eat, where to get it, how to prepare it.” That pretty much covers it.

This cookbook focuses on creating a balanced and nourishing vegetarian diet, features menu plans as well as great advice.  There are also guides to herbs, spices, rice, grains, soy, flours, kitchenware and more.

The presentation is a little ho-hum as its presented in one color – green.  It does have some hand drawn illustrations to punctuate ingredients but none of the illustrations reflect finished products or cooking techniques.

But, who needs glossy pictures when the recipes are very in depth and also very easy to follow. (In fact, the author takes two pages on how to make the humble pancake, and she’s passionate about how to make it right.) Each recipe has a description or introduction and specifics on nutrition. You also see total time but also “time to prepare” and “total cooking time”. Which I find informative – am I going to spend five minutes in preparation and 18 hours cooking, or 18 hours preparation with 5 minutes of cooking? I also find the “do ahead” options and how to store the finish product hints helpful, too.

Finally, the index is presented both by recipe and ingredient which helps when you’re not quite sure what to make…but you know what you have.

This cookbook is chock full of hints, stories and suggestions. I probably need to curl up on the couch and read through it from cover to cover sometime. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and present you with this recipe.

I was looking for a fast, easy and tasty option for a cookout I was having. Most importantly, it had to store overnight so I didn’t have to rush to prepare it. This pasta salad worked out really well and it made plenty to feed a crowd.

Chilled Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Olives & Feta Cheese
from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, Diane Shaw, 1997

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 minced fresh basil
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (Note: the cookbook goes into nice detail on how to peel and seed the tomato, I did not peel the tomatoes in this preparation, but I did seed them.)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped oil-cured black Greek or nicoise-style olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons capers
6 cups cooked short pasta, such as penne rigate, farfalle, or radiator (Note: I used a rather cute mini farfalle pasta)

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and swish it through the oil until it starts to color, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard it. Add the basil and stir well to flavor the oil. Remove the skillet from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, feta cheese, and capers.

Add the pasta and the basil oil, and toss well. Chill for at least 3 hours. Toss again before serving.

Total time: About 3 hours, 30 minutes, including time to chill, but not including time to cook the chickpeas (Note: I used canned chickpeas which saved some time…)
Time to prepare: About 25 minutes
Cooking Time: Included in time to prepare
Do Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use
Refrigeration/Freezing: Refrigerate up to 2 days. Do not freeze.





34 Simple (Vegetarian) Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

October 05, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Main Dishes

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In 2007, the New York Times wrote an article called Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. I’ve held on to the article (yes, from the actual newspaper) and just came across it again in a massive desk clean-up. So, rather than hiding it back into a deep dark drawer, I figured I’d list some of the ideas here.

In the original, the majority of the dishes included meat (mostly fish), but there were many on there that are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve also included several that were easy to substitute with a faux meat. Many of these dishes can be prepared if you are good about keeping the basics in your pantry. (For a refresher check out my list of what every vegetarian should have in their kitchen.)

So, without further ado, here are 34 simple vegetarian meals ready in 10 minutes or less.

1. Make six-minute eggs: Simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2. Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary).

IMG_89184. Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with a little more olive oil.
5. Soak couscous in boiling water to cover until tender; top with tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
6. Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.
7. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.

IMG_35388. While pasta cooks, combine a couple cups chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and Parmesan.

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9. Egg in a hole, glorified: Tear a hole in a piece of bread and fry in butter. Crack an egg into the hole. Deglaze pan with a little sherry vinegar mixed with water, and more butter; pour over egg.
10. Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
11. Fast chile rellenos: Drained canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in skillet slit side up, until cheese melts.
12. Saute 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook pasta. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.
13. Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake.

IMG_099514. Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold take-out rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
15. Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.

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16. Migas, with egg: Saute chopped stale bread with olive oil, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Stir in a couple of eggs.
17. Saute shredded (or sliced) zucchini in olive oil, adding garlic and chopped herbs. Serve over pasta.

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18. Not takeout: Stir-fry onions with cut-up broccoli. Add cubed tofu along with a tablespoon each minced garlic and ginger. When almost done, add half cup of water, two tablespoons soy sauce and plenty of black pepper. Heat through and serve over fresh Chinese noodles.

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19. The Waldorf: Toast a handful of walnuts in a skillet. Chop an apple or pear; toss with greens, walnuts and a dressing made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallot. Top if you like, with crumbled goat or blue cheese.
20. Put a stick of butter and a handful of pine nuts in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until both are brown. Toss with cooked pasted, grated Parmesan and black pepper.
21. Put a tablespoon of cream and a slice of tomato in each of several small ramekins. Top with an egg, then salt, pepper, ad grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs set. Serve with toast.
22. Make a fast tomato sauce of olive oil, chopped tomatoes and garlic. Poach eggs in the sauce, then top with Parmesan.

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23. Peel and thinly slice raw beets; cook in butter or oil with garlic; do not overcook. Finish with parsley, lemon juice and coarse salt; serve over toast.
24. Rich vegetable soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or most any other green vegetable in [vegetable] stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and puree the rest with a little butter (cream or yogurt, too, if you like) adding enough stock to thin the puree. Garnish with the reserved tips. Serve hot or cold.
25. Brush portobello caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until tender. Briefly sweat chopped onions, then scramble eggs with them. Put eggs in mushrooms.
26. Near instant mezze: Combine hummus on plate with yogurt laced with chopped cucumbers and a bit of garlic, plus tomato, feta, white beans with olive oil and pita bread.
27. Sear corn kernels in olive oil with minced jalapenos and chopped onions; toss with cilantro, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper and lime.

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28. Pit and chop a cup or more of mixed olives. Combine with olive oil, a little minced garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil or parsley. Serve over pasta.
29. Grated carrots topped with six-minute eggs (run under cold water until cool before peeling), olive oil and lemon juice.
30. Cut off the top of four big tomatoes; scoop out the interior and mix them with toasted stale baguette or pita, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (basil, tarragon, and/or parsley). Stuff into tomatoes and serve with salad.
31. Pasta frittata: Turn cooked pasta and a little garlic into an oiled or buttered skillet. Brown, pressing to create a cake. Flip, then top with three or four beaten eggs and loads of Parmesan. Brown other side and serve.
32. Ketchup-braised tofu: Dredge large tofu cubes in flour. [Megabeth note: press and drain tofu to get excess liquid out before using.] Brown in oil; remove from skillet and wipe skillet clean. Add a little more oil, then a tablespoon minced garlic; 30 seconds later, add one and a half cups ketchup and the tofu. Cook until sauce bubbles and tofu is hot.
33. Veggie burger: Drain and pour a 14-ounce can of beans into a food processor with an onion, half a cup of rolled oats, a tablespoon chili powder or other spice mix, an egg, salt and pepper. Process until mushy, then shape into burgers, adding a little liquid or oats as necessary. Cook in oil about three minutes a side and serve.
34. So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillets, along with plentuy of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.

Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant

September 17, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

This dish was featured in the September 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times. It does take a little bit of time to make, not because it’s complicated, but there is some time to get some of the moisture out of the eggplant. You can skip the salting step if you’re short on time or watching your sodium. This is a very versitile recipe. Due to a walnut allergy in our house, I substituted them for pecans. I used panko instead of breadcrumbs and a whole tomato chopped up instead of grape tomatoes. Next time I make this, I may substitute the feta cheese with crumbled goat cheese.

When we sat down to eat this eggplant, we both declared we had never tasted something like this before. The cinnamon added a unique twist to what could have been another mundane stuffed zucchini recipe.

Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

  • 3 medium eggplants (3 lbs)
  • 2 T plus 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, diced (3 cups)
  • 1 tomato, diced (or 1/2 pt. grape tomatoes, halved (3 cups))
  • 3/4 cups roughly cut pecan pieces (or walnuts)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup panko (or whole wheat breadcrumbs)
  • 2/3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • Lemon wedges, optional, for garnish

Halve eggplants lengthwise, and scoop out flesh and seeds, leaving 1/2-inch-thick edges on eggplants’ shells. Cut scooped-out flesh into 1/2-inch pieces, and set in acolander. Sprinkle eggplant pieces and inside of eggplant shells with salt. Let stand 25 to 30 minutes, or until beaded with moisture. Rinse eggplant shells and pieces in cold water, and pat dry. Bring large pot of slated water to a boil. Drop eggplant shells in water, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes, or until barely tender when pierced with fork. Drain in colander, cool, and pat dry.

Vegetarian Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add eggplant pieces, tomatoes, pecans, cinnamon, oregano and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 8 minutes, or until vegetables are softened and browned, stirring occasionally.

Vegetarian Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant

Preheat oven to a broil. Toss panko (breadcrumbs) with 4 tsp olive oil in bowl. Brush each eggplant shell with 1/2 teaspoon oil, and place cut-side up on baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.

Vegetarian Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant

Divide filling among eggplant shells. Sprinkle each stuffed eggplant with breadcrumb mixture, and top with feta cheese. Bake 35 minutes, or until heated through and browned on top. Serve with lemon wedges, if using.

Vegetarian Pecan-Stuffed Eggplant


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