Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vegan Option!

I'd love to say I came up with this recipe purely to go vegan and improve my life and animal's lives all over the world, however.... I accidentally threw this together out of leftover abundance and laziness.  I really need meat.  There's a lot of argument over that, but I do have a metabolic disorder that complicates my system and proteins simply help the absorption of nutrients and slow the effect of sugar way better than veggies or complex carbs.  So, to have a vegan recipe in my house, is basically unheard of.

However, last night we had tacos: beef, black beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, hot sauce, sour cream, chives.  It was delicious.  When we finished dinner, I found I had a LOT of black beans left.  Normally, the kids will have these for lunch, heating them up with some cheese and sometimes dipping corn chips.  Today, I went to the freezer to see what meat to thaw, when I realized, it's going to take hours to thaw the chicken or beef or whatever, but there were black beans.  I was thinking a chicken quinoa soup, as I've been meaning to get back to soups and hopefully help heal my body a little (recently realized there's some struggles with solid foods...? what is this, regression?)  The thing is, I didn't want to wait for the chicken to thaw.  I really have been craving some veggies.  So, when I saw the massive bag of quinoa in the freezer (I'll explain,) then I was very excited.   I grabbed some open bags of frozen vegetables that looked as if they were going to get frost bite faster than they were going to be eaten and I set up to throw together an amazing meal.

*Note:  I keep oats, flours - garbanzo, coconut, etc, quinoa, and other such dry goods in the freezer due to a problem a few years ago.   I found an infestation of moths in one of my cans of almonds.  I cleaned those out and the whole cabinet and later found them in a sealed box of flour (which I had long since stopped using.)  One by one, the dry goods in my pantry became contaminated with these tiny bugs that would just not stop.  I cleaned out everything.  Any dry good that came into my house, went into the deep freeze after that.  It just must be that way for now, until I can trust the vermin with my food.   No, I'm not talking about the children....

So, today's recipe is 100% vegan (with the option of adding meat if you need/want to.)  It's also extremely nutritious, protein packed, and delicious!

Hot Veggie Quinoa

2 cups uncooked (but washed quinoa - any type)
2 tBsp vegetable soup base  (non vegan can use chicken soup base if you like)
1/2 small onion chopped (or 4-5 green onions chopped)
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tBsp coconut oil   (non vegan can use butter if you like)
1 can or 10 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, your choice - I used a couple 1/2 full bags of edamame, mixed and green beans

1/2 cup vegan shredded white "cheese"  for topping (non vegan - shredded parmesan)
2 chopped chicken breasts/ meat if wanting to add meat

The usual ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2.  If you have one cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of water.  I used 2 cups of quinoa and 4.5 cups of water, maybe even a splash or two more.  I used a little extra water just to give it a smoother texture when I added the vegetables.  Heat large pot over medium heat with coconut oil, garlic and onion in it.  Cook until light brown about 5 minutes.  Add 2.5 cups water and add soup base mixing well until everything is swirled together in the water.  Bring the water to a light boil and add your quinoa.  Turn down the heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until the quinoa crack open and get al dente.  Add in the frozen veggies and black beans (and meat if you choose to have meat with this) and stir over low/med heat until hot all the way through.

Salt and pepper to taste and top with vegan cheese (or parm or nothing at all!) and ENJOY!!  This is very simple, quick, gluten free, appropriate for vegan, vegetarian or those avoiding meats and is still very delicious and healthy with a warm, comfort food appeal.

This recipe will easily feed 6-8, however, no guarantee there will be enough left for seconds or leftovers!

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