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: Poor Person’s Sukiyaki

July 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Main Dishes

The title of my next cookbook is a novel in itself: From a Monastery Kitchen: A practical cookbook of vegetarian recipes for the four seasons complete from soups to desserts with breads. This cookbook, written in 1976, was inspired by a visit to a monastery in the Hudson Valley. The recipes were compiled by Elise Boulding with the assistance of Brother Victor Avila.

Divided by season, each section features starters to deserts. Illustrations are more whimsical and have nothing to do with the final dish.

Each recipe is framed with, as the author describes it, “a collage of quotations and art that is intended to reflect the nearly two-thousand-year-old experience of monastic life as an affirmation of wholeness, simplicity, and joy.” Many are good reading while you are waiting for your pot to boil or your food to cook.

These are a few the struck a cord with me:

“A little Madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King” – Emily Dickinson

“Many’s the long night I dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Many excellent cooks are spoiled by going into the arts” – Gauguin

“The bigger the dairymaid, the better the cheese” – Derbyshire Proverb

This is a strange yet fascinating little cookbook. The instructions and recipes are simple but sometimes basic steps or directions are missing. For example, one recipe begins, “cook the apples, using as little water as possible, sweetening at the end of cooking”. How am I cooking the apples? In a pan? In a skillet? In the oven? How long am I cooking them?

This is a primarily vegetarian cookbook but there are a few fish dishes included. The index is divided by type of dish such as “egg and cheese dish”, “pancake and cereal dishes”, “vegetable dishes”. The listings underneath are by recipe title. So, if you don’t know what Beans Bengal contains, you have to flip to the recipe page. (By the way, it’s yellow split peas, cheddar cheese, curry powder, onion, green pepper, olive oil and seedless raisins).

There is also a page of “useful culinary instructions” with some interesting tidbits about how to make “hi-protein matzo balls” (“Follow recipe on box, double egg and add wheat germ.”) and a heading called “Curry” (“Is very digestible. (OK for persons with ulcers!) Use in white sauces.)” I did learn how to “pseudosaute” with the instructions appearing at the end of the recipe below.

I did find that there is a new edition of the cookbook printed in 2002. Looking through it, there are fewer quotations and excerpts, and the recipes are updated. (I compared the chickpea soup recipe and the instructions changed from, “Boil, in plenty of water, until soft. Chop vegetables and simmer together with seasonings. Combine with cooked chickpeas and serve as soup.” to, “Add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly over medium heat for about an hour, until chickpeas and vegetables are tender.”)

I found that in the 1976 edition, while some of the recipes are a bit simple, they do sort of provide a foundation for elaboration. And, most a pretty adaptable, like this recipe. The recipe reads as if someone is verbally telling giving you the recipe and giving approximations a la “you can throw a little bit of this, and a little bit of that and then cook it. ” So, I decided to do just that.

Instead of rice, I used risotto. I omitted the beans and used a smoked tofu instead of regular tofu. (If you haven’t used smoked tofu before, run out and get some, it adds depth to any dish and provided a sort of, dare I say, “meaty” flavor.) Towards the end of cooking, I just ended up throwing in all the mushrooms I had and could also see throwing in steamed broccoli, snap peas and other asian vegetables into the sauce. I think the key with this dish is that if you’re adding vegetables, precook them and then drench them with the sauce.

Poor Person’s Sukiyaki
From a Monastery Kitchen, 1976 edition

  • 1 cup scallions or onions finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup light cooking sherry or sweet wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or well-drained frozen (any steamed greens can be substituted)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, if available, other vegetables can be added
  • sugar to taste if desired
  • soy bean curd (tofu) cut in squares (if available)
  • 4 cups cooked or 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (or any combination of rice and beans such as blackeye peas and rice, pinto beans and rice, etc.)

Cook scallions or onions according to the “pseudosauteing method” (see below).

Add sherry and soy sauce and stir.

Add spinach and other vegetables. Simmer 3 or 4 minutes. Add a little sugar as sauce cooks, if desired.

Remove from heat. Add tofu and pour mixture over rice or rice and bean combination. Other vegetables can be added. Amounts of all ingredients can be varied. Serves 6 to 8.

“Pseudosauteing technique”: delicious and healthy To give a sauteed taste without indigestibility of fried foods: instead of sauteing in butter or oils, cook in just enough slightly sugared water or broth so that when fully cooked water is all absorbed and fod is beginning to stick to the pan and burn a little. Quickly pour in a little cold-pressed oil; stir it up well and scrape all the brown which had begun to burn. (This retains all the vitamins from vegetables and oil, uses oil as seasoning, and still gives the sauteed taste. Recommended for carrots, greens, potatoes, parsnips, onions, string beans, broccoli, etc.) People who can’t digest fried foods can eat these. Salt and pepper to taste after cooking.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Seitanstoofpot with Beer

May 10, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Seitanstoofpot with Beer

Today was the last stage in The Netherlands so I’m rounding out the recipes with a hearty soup called Seitanstoofpot with Beer. This dish was created to honor International Labour Day on May 1st, so it’s a Dutch homage to hearty factory worker food which invariably involves beer and meat. In the Netherlands, instead of Labour Day, they celebrate Koninginnedag on April 30th –  a celebration of the birthday of the Queen’s Mother. The holiday brings folks to the streets dressed in orange much like these fine fellows:

Let me be honest, though, this recipe came out rather…um, not so good. Before I get to that, I wanted to let you in on some amusement I had…

In my research for the Giro stages in the Netherlands, I stumbled across this great Dutch vegetarian site – Vegatopia. To read through the recipes I used Google Translate (Dutch to English) and soon I was lulled into reading interesting grammatical structures from mistranslations.

Google translate sometimes hits the nail on the head, but Dutch seems to give it trouble. You can almost understand it…but then realize you have no idea really what it’s trying to say. (Some of my Podium Cafe readers might recognize this phenomenon as “Fringlish”.)

In particular, this translation of the description of Koninginnedag provided for an asparagus croquettes recipe could better be performed during a poetry reading by a man with a beret and a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth, snapping and banging on a bongo in a smoky room.

Queen does for most people: a lot of beer and greasy bites. Want to make sure that happen – besides fat – really delicious?…Guys, I have this year is no sense in Queens. All those stupid people who wander about the streets drunk. Just the idea of a candy.  Muk mountains that people just had to leave the attic. Gruesome forms of happiness. Spoiled children, worse still, cool parents. Bands which are not starting nothing and remain so. Fanfares. Salmonella huge barbecues full mapping satay, which comes from such a nauseating fumes.

Ahhh, yeah. (I do think that if I ever write a song the line “spoiled children, worse still, cool parents” and “gruesome forms of happiness” have got to be in it.)

So, let’s let Google Translate lead us with a description into of Seitanstoofpot with Beer.

Bovendien zorgt het ontbreken van grote stukken vlees ervoor dat de stoofpot niet uren hoeft te garen, maar in een half uurtje klaar is. Vlug in de keuken dus.

Moreover, the absence of large cuts of meat make the stew not have hours to cook, but in half an hour to finish. So get in the kitchen.

Wait, hold on a minute, don’t go into the kitchen so fast with this recipe until you read further.

Beer selection is probably key for this soup to work. In short, it starts off pretty good on the palate then you get a really bitter aftertaste. I had the opportunity to serve this to others besides my in-house taste tester so I was able to get some interesting impressions of this recipe including:

  • It needs a starch in it. But, I like what it did to the kidney beans.
  • It tasted like it was going to eventually give me a stomach ache.
  • It’s a bowl of bitterness but falls short of vitriol.
  • It didn’t have a bad aftertaste, it had a bad middletaste and a good beginningtaste.
  • It was bilious…that’s why I had to stop eating it.

That said, try this beer soup recipe at your own risk. There has to be something I’m missing in the recipe and maybe Google Translate led me astray. The only liquid in this soup is the beer so that’s the only culprit I could find. Perhaps the beer should be cut with another liquid? If you know of a beer that doesn’t do this funky turn of taste when you cook with it, please let me know.

Now, without further ado, the last of the cuisine from the Netherlands for the Giro…

Seitanstoofpot with Beer
Translated from Vegatopia

2 onions, sliced (Note: This seemed to be a lot of onion. I used only one.)
1/2 cup carrot, thinly sliced
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup seitan (Note: I used a “chicken” seitan and liked how it soaked up the flavor)
3/4 cup kidney beans (from a jar) (Note: I just dumped in an entire 15 oz can, drained)
2 bottles dark beer
1 1/2 T parsley, chopped
2 T flour
a pat of butter
salt, pepper

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions in the butter and turn frequently. Then add carrots and mushrooms and stir occasionally.

After five minutes add the seitan to the pot.  Turn the heat to high and stir occasionally.

Three minutes later, lower the heat and add the beer and some salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Add the flour into a bowl and get half soup-ladle the liquid from the stew. Put the liquid into the bowl with flour and stir well. Add the flour paste to the stew.

Add the beans and cook another two minutes.

Add the parsley, stir, taste. Add  salt and / or pepper to taste and serve. Serve with bread or brown rice.

Pistachio Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh with Mushroom Gravy

February 10, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Pistachio Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh with Mushroom Gravy For those that don’t really dabble in soy based ingredients, this recipe might take you out of your comfort zone but it’s well worth it. It involves two ingredients – tempeh and tamari – that just from the mere mention of them make many an ardent carnivore turn tail from the kitchen and order a pepperoni pizza. Don’t let those t-words scare you off. Who knows, this dish could begin your love affair with tempeh. (Which, by the way, can usually be found in the produce section where the refrigerated tofu, vegetarian lunchmeat and fake chicken nuggets are sold.)

There is a smoky flavor from both the pistachios and the cumin in the crust. The marinade is “peanuty” with a hint of spiciness from the cayenne. Be sure to take the time to let the tempeh soak up the tamari and the marinade as you will have a more consistent overall flavor. Then, just to take the flavor over the top, add the mushroom gravy and you’ve got a meal that makes you, well…want to lick the plate.

This recipe comes from a very interesting cookbook: Blossoming Lotus Vegan World Fusion Cuisine. Its a colorful, informative cookbook chock full of interesting recipes from around the world. The bonus is powerful introduction by Dr. Jane Goodall who reminds us to take steps to fully appreciate the far reaching consequences of what we choose to eat.

Pistachio Blue Corn Crusted Tempeh with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
from Vegan World Fusion Cuisine

16 oz tempeh, sliced into 4 cutlets (I cut mine into one inch strips)
1 Tablespoon filtered water
2 teaspoons Nama shoyu
(Nama shoyu is a raw, organic, unpasteurized soy sauce. Substitute tamari or low salt soy sauce.)

Creamy Tahini Marinade
3/4 cup filtered water
4 teaspoons nama shoyu (Or, use tamari or a low salt soy sauce)
1/4 cup tahini or other nut butter, raw
2 Tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced, optional
1 teaspoon herbs, minced (I used dried basil, parsley, and oregano)
Pinch cayenne pepper

1 cup pistachios, roasted no salt
1/2 cup blue corn chips, crumbled
2 Tablespoons blue corn meal (I used yellow corm meal/polenta)
1 Tablespoon Coconut, shredded and toasted, optional (I did not use coconut and did not miss it.)
1 teaspoon cilantro, minced (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch Crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
Ingredients and recipe

Place nama shoyu (or tamari/soy sauce) and water in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish, add tempeh cutlets and allow to sit for 5 minutes before flipping. Let sit for another 5 minutes.

Prepare creamy tahini marinade by placing all those ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour over tempeh cutlets (wait until cutlets have had a chance to soak up the liquid). Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Cutlets may also be marinated the day before the dish is prepared. Place dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

While tempeh is marinating and baking, place crust ingredients in food processor and process until chopped fine. Also, begin working on the vegetarian mushroom gravy.

Remove tempeh from over, cover liberally with crust mixture, return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, slice cutlets into 1″ strips (if you haven’t already done so), and serve while hot.

Drizzle with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.

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