Tag Archive | quinoa

Lemon Saffron Quinoa Soup


It’s at this time of year that I begin to miss soups, even before I actually stop making them. I push soup season for as long as I can and keep soups on my weekly menu plans until the end of May or early June, if it’s still cool enough. In fact, I don’t typically stop making soups over the summer, at least not entirely.  I just slow it down. I get one or two hot soups in before the summer months are over, not because they are seasonal, but because some seasonal ingredients work so well in soups, but more importantly because I love soups in any season. 

I’m not sure from where the inspiration for this soup came except for the fact that I enjoy soups and love quinoa. Quinoa is now being added to almost everything, soups, chillies, tacos, etc., but as one of many ingredients, and it frustrates me because I never seem to get my quinoa fill. This is a light, brothy soup with plenty of quinoa swimming in a saffron, lemony pool packed with sweet leeks, loaded with parsley and rounded by a soft hit of pepper. It’s intricate simplicity at its best. 

You can have fun with this soup by changing up the broth. A sweetcorn broth works quite nicely, as would a carrot, parsnip, or fennel broth. A single shredded carrot or parsnip is also a nice addition. 

This is a fast weeknight meal that can be made in 30 minutes or so and a complete vegetable protein!

As I lament the upcoming “hiatus” from soups, I must admit that I am tired of the winter grade produce and am wildly anticipating the spring goodies. Oversized bunches of asparagus sit in my fridge as I decide how to celebrate the debut of spring. 

But for just a little while, I’m going to sit on the fence as I reminisce about the days of winter now gone and await the fresh bundles of spring.  So, enjoy a hearty bowl of soup as you awaken from the winter’s slumber and delicately step into spring. 

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

 Olive oil  1/4 cup + 1
 Leeks  2
 Garlic, cloves, minced  3
 Chili flakes  1/8 tsp
 Broth, vegetable  10 cups
 Quinoa  3/4 cup
 Salt  2 tsp
 Black pepper
 Parsley  1 cup
 Saffron, pinches, generous  3
 Turmeric  1/4 tsp
 Zest, lemon, small  1
 Juice, lemon  1 tsp
 Watercress, baby


Directions:

1. In a medium pot, over medium heat, heat oil.

2. Add leeks and sauté for 5-7 until softened, but not browned.

3. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Add broth and bring to a simmer.

5. Add quinoa, salt, black pepper, 3/4 of the parsley, saffron, turmeric, and lemon zest and simmer for 15 minutes (or until quinoa is cooked – check package directions).

6. Add lemon juice and remaining parsley and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

7. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of baby watercress.

Quinoa Fresh Vegetable Bowl

Quinoa Bowl

I have always been impressed with the rice / noodle bowl options at vegetarian restaurants. The colours, array of vegetables, and flavour combinations are not only exciting, but create beautiful vegan / vegetarian mains. However, when I recreate them at home, the rice and noodle bowls require the addition of a vegetable protein, which just adds more work to my weeknight meals. So, I’ve created a vegan bowl with quinoa, which means I don’t have to fuss with preparing tofu and such. Much faster.

There are no hard and fast rules, but most vegan / vegetarian bowls that I have eaten consist mainly of three components: the carbohydrate, the sauce / gravy, and assortment of hot and/or cold vegetables. The sauce is perhaps my favourite part of these dishes and if you are strategic about it, you can use your sauces to add not only flavour, but protein and nutrients.

My sauce doesn’t take long to make. You’ll recognize it from my “Loaded Cheezy Fries” post. I froze the leftovers not fully knowing what I would do with the extras, and here they are. The sauce is extremely versatile! I defrosted it from the night before and just heated it up over the stove while the quinoa was cooking.

I went with raw veggies entirely to reap the benefits of a salad and to avoid wasting time making a separate dish.

The combination was outstanding. Every bite was exciting. There’s something sexy about the interplay of hot and cold and this dish definitely knows how to work it. Picture… sweet, warm quinoa + the deep, rich, and slightly salty nutritional yeast-based sauce + the crunchy, fresh vegetables. Intermingling in there is also the fresh herbs, parsley, coriander, and chives and rich droplets of olive oil. Each bite differs. The crunch of the cucumber contrasts with the burst of juices provided by the tomato, which pairs beautifully, by the way, with the sauce. Then there’s the avocado; its creaminess and relatively neutral flavour seem to soak up the sauce like a sponge.

We couldn’t get enough of this dish. It’s dishes such as these that remind me how exciting the vegetarian / vegan diet can really be. I call this dish  “fast and furious”. Truly, it doesn’t get any better.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Sauce (Makes 4 cups. There will be leftovers. It freezes well.):
Canola oil ½ cup
Onion, Spanish, large, roughly sliced 1
Garlic, cloves, sliced 3
Salt 1 tsp
Black pepper
Nutritional yeast 3 tbsp
Mustard, Dijon 1 tbsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Bouillon, crumbled 1
Flour 1/3 cup
Milk, hemp, unsweetened 3 cups
Quinoa:
 Olive oil  4 + 1 tbsp
 Quinoa  2 cups
 Water  4 cups
 Salt  1 and 1/4 tsp
 Black pepper
 Chives  20 g (half a bunch)
 Parsley, fresh, chopped
 Vegetables:
 Tomatoes, medium  4 (1 tomato per serving)
 Cucumbers, small, Lebanese  4 (1 cucumber per serving)
 Avocados  2 (1/2 an avocado per serving)
 Salt
 Black pepper
 Olive oil  4 tbsp (1 tbsp per serving)
 Cilantro, leaves, fresh  Garnish

Directions:

  1. To make the sauce, in a medium pot, heat the canola oil.
  2. Add the Spanish onion and cook for 10-12 minutes until onion is translucent, but not caramelized.
  3. Add garlic, salt, and black pepper and cook for a couple minutes more until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Remove pot from heat. Scoop onion mixture into a food processor and process until thoroughly combined and smooth. This step is important to avoid a chunky sauce.
  5. Return onion mixture to pot over medium heat.
  6. Add nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, turmeric, and crumbled bouillon into onion mixture and combine well.
  7. After a couple minutes, add flour and thoroughly combine. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. One ladle at a time, whisk in the hemp milk until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy.
  9. Adjust seasoning adding salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer sauce for 3-4 more minutes or until you achieve the desired consistency.
  10. To prepare the quinoa, in a medium pot, over medium heat, heat 4 tbs of olive oil. Add quinoa and toast for a couple of minutes. Add water (check package to ensure you are using the right amount of water for your brand of quinoa). Bring water to a simmer. When the water is simmering, add salt and black pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When quinoa is done, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Stir another tablespoon of olive oil, the chives, and parsley into the quinoa. Fluff with a fork.
  11. To assemble, divide the quinoa between 4 plates. Top with a generous serving of the sauce (you’ll have leftovers which freeze very well). Arrange tomatoes, avocado, and cucumbers over the sauce. Season raw veggies with salt, black pepper, and 1 tbsp of olive oil per plate. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Saffron Quinoa with Steamed Veggies

Saffron Quinoa

I looove quinoa mostly because it is sweet (tastes like corn to me) and texturized. It’s such an easy and delicious complete plant protein that all it needs is some side veggies.

Saffron, fresh oregano, lemon rind, and the little bit of heat from the red chili pepper make this dish sing, in spite of its simplicity. It has a very mediterranean feel, warm and extremely tasty.

The pumpkin seed paste works very well with the kohlrabi, but even more so with the broccoli; it snuggles into the fibrous florets, coating them luxuriously, and creating a texture sensation that’s both creamy and tantalizing. It’s one of my favourite ways to dress broccoli. The hint of lemon juice in the paste, picks up well the lemon rind in the quinoa, tying the whole dish  together beautifully.

If you don’t have time to make the paste, a little dressing of olive oil, salt, and black pepper works well on steamed veggies. When I make the paste, I freeze it in batches of individual tablespoons for such occasions. The pumpkin paste really does take simple steamed vegetables to a very exciting place really fast, so it’s worth a try!

Topped with the hearty choice of vegetables (kohlrabi, celery root, and broccoli), the dish is extremely satisfying. My mouth wanted more, but my tummy was telling me it was full. It’s a nice, fast weeknight treat.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

Saffron Quinoa:
Olive oil 3 + 1 tbsp
Onion, red, chopped 1/2
Garlic, cloves, minced 2
Chili pepper, red, half of the seeds removed, chopped 1
Quinoa 1.5 cups
Water 3 cups
Saffron 3-4 pinches
Lemon, rind 1
Salt 1 tsp
Black pepper
Oregano, fresh, sprigs, chopped 3
Steamed Veggies:
Broccoli, heads, medium, cut into medium pieces 3
Kohlrabi, medium, sliced 3
Celery root, sliced 1/2
Pumpkin seed paste (see link for recipe) 2-3 tbsp
Olive oil Drizzling
Salt
Black pepper
  1. Prepare veggies for steaming.
  2. In a medium pot, over medium heat, heat 3 tbs of olive oil.
  3. Add onion and sauté until translucent approximately 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and red chili pepper and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add quinoa and toast for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add water (check package to ensure you are using the right amount of water for your brand of quinoa).
  7. Bring water to a simmer.
  8. When the water is simmering, add lemon rind, saffron, salt and black pepper.
  9. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare steamer and steam veggies for approximately 15 minutes or to desired crunchiness. Remove veggies from steamer and toss, while still warm, in 2-3 tbsp of pumpkin seed paste, and add: salt, black pepper and a drizzle or two of olive oil to taste.
  11. When quinoa is done, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
  12. Stir oregano and another tablespoon of olive oil into the quinoa.
  13. Serve with steamed veggies.