Quick Quinoa

You come home from ________ which took longer than you anticipated and are exhausted ~ only you remember that you still need to make supper.  No problem…you have a plan…until you open the cupboard/frig/freezer and discover a) somebody’s eaten a crucial ingredient to your plan, b) formerly mentioned crucial ingredient has spoiled, or c) you are actually missing said ingredient that you thought you picked up at the grocery store last week.  Now what?

This recipe is what ~ at least for me two nights ago!  Quinoa (pronounced keenwa) is a super fast “grain” to cook up.  (It’s actually a seed, but it’s texture and behavior is more grain-like.  It has no gluten and loads of protein.)  It adds plenty of substance to a dish for the hungry hordes who can’t subsist on haute cuisine’s small portions.

Even as I made this as a substitute for what I was supposed to make, I found out I still had an ingredient problem.  When I opened the new salsa/picante sauce jar and poured it into the measuring cup, lo and behold, it wasn’t enough!!  (I was doubling this recipe.)  I already had some of the ingredients cooking.  What was I going to do?  Then I remembered I had some cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis.  Perfect.  I was so excited that I opened the can and tossed the whole thing into the frying pan…without measuring it.  Rats.  Did I mention that I was exhausted out of my mind?  Mmm.

Well, now I figured I would have a slightly soupy mix.  I could either take the lid off and cook it all down, taking more time than I was willing to give, OR I could get some soycurls out of the freezer, snap them into small pieces, and throw them into the mix to soak up the excess.  (What are soycurls?  Read this.)  I went with the soycurls ~ just 1 c. for the doubled recipe.  Perfect!  Hubby announced that the dish needed more soycurls…go figure.  I could have left them out if I hadn’t dumped so much liquid in!

This dish can be as mild or spicy as you like, depending on the salsa, picante sauce, or canned diced tomato/green chilis you have on hand.  Serve it with soy sour cream, diced avocado, and/or shredded vegan cheese.  Add a veggie and your are set to go ~ all in about 20-30 minutes.

Quick Quinoa

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1-1 1/2 c. salsa or picante sauce, your choice of mild to hot **
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. soycurls, optional (use full measure of salsa/picante sauce if adding these.)

Saute the chopped onion in olive oil until a few pieces are beginning to brown on the edges and the rest are softened.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir and cover, simmering for 15-20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Taste quinoa to test if it is fully cooked (tiny “tails” or curls will loosen from the kernels as they reach preparedness.)  Add extra salsa or water as needed to keep from sticking if extra cooking time is required.  If it seems too soupy, take the lid off and continue simmering.

** Use 1 c. if you want a drier end result.  You can always add more salsa as the dish simmers if it seems like the quinoa isn’t soft yet, but things are getting dry.  If you want to add 1/2 c. of soycurls, use the full 1 1/2 c.

Black Bean Patties

I love a simple patty recipe.  A fast patty recipe that doesn’t involve 45 minutes to an hour in the oven.  One without a list of ingredients as long as your arm.  One that you might actually have all the ingredients for in your cupboard.  One that doesn’t require a multitudinous amount of chopping.  One that tastes good without a bun (for those with gluten issues.)  Oh, yeah…and one that the whole family actually likes, with no exceptions!  Whew, what a relief.

Black Bean Patties

  • 2 cans organic black beans, drained
  • 1 c. medium, or stronger, salsa
  • 2 T. ground flaxseed
  • 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (for gluten-free patties, use certified gluten-free oats)
  • 1/2 c. millet flour*
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder (opt., depending on the strength of your salsa)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (opt., depending on the strength of your salsa)
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil, preferably (if you are out of coconut oil, use extra virgin olive oil, but the coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids that are so good for you)

Put all ingredients except coconut oil into a food processor and process until only tiny pieces or flecks of beans remain.  Add melted coconut oil and continue processing, or mix together in a bowl.  Let mixture stand for 5 minutes.

If desired, you may spray or brush the griddle with olive oil to make it easier to form the patties, but it’s not required.  Heat griddle to 300° (I use a large electric pancake griddle) or frying pan to medium heat.  You may begin forming patties while it is heating.  Pile about 1/4 c. measure onto the griddle and smooth into a patty using the back of a serving spoon (bigger than a tablespoon from your silverware set, but not as big as a cooking spoon ~ I use this to scoop up the 1/4 c. approximate measure, too.)  Cook for 5 minutes; flip, press down lightly with the spatula to obtain an even surface on the bottom side, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Makes 12 patties.  Serve with guacamole, salsa, or ketchup, or on a burger bun.

*If you don’t have millet flour in your larder, you probably could substitute another type, but I haven’t experimented with different ones.  (Hey, when something works for me, I don’t mess with it!)  You also can put dry millet in a coffee grinder or strong blender and whiz it into flour.