Buying in Bulk, White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa, and a Recipe for Savory Red Lentil and Quinoa Bolognese

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca; CC image via twiga_269 on Flickr.
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You guys know how much I love ye ole bulk food stores, right? Back when I started that “frugal vegans” series a few VeganMoFos ago (which sadly turned out to be fairly short-lived, since I exhausted all my ideas in under a month), buying in bulk was one of my top/most popular tips.

Whether you’re prepping for the apocalypse or just trying to save some money, buying in bulk can be a great option. Don’t have an underground bunker in which to store all those tubs of extra goodies? Pair up with a friend or two and split your haul!

So when Alexa from IFS Bulk got in touch, I jumped at the chance to try out some of their products and create a few original recipes.* With everything from black chia seeds to dried currants and mammoth pecan halves (my favorite!) to choose from, it was hard to whittle it down. In the end, I went with red quinoa and hazelnut flour. We’ll discuss the hazelnut flour another day (spoiler alert: there will be vegan Nutella!); today it’s all about the quinoa.

Prior to this, I wasn’t even aware that quinoa came in different colors – red and black in addition to the more popular white. What’s the difference?, you might be asking. Good question! I wanted to know too, so I did a little research, and here’s what I found.

(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Quinoa Vegetable Cakes

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

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2014-11-14 - VHC Quinoa Vegetable Cakes - 0006 [flickr]

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I’m a sucker for homemade veggie patties, and the Quinoa Vegetable Cakes from Vegan Holiday Cooking are among the tastiest I’ve ever had! Technically they’re a “cake,” not a burger, but they’re pretty much the perfect size for slapping between two slices of bread, so there you go.

The batter is a mix of quinoa, onions, carrots, and red peppers, half of which you blend into a mash using a food processor (resulting in the burgers’ psychedelic neon orange color). Add breadcrumbs, shape into patties, and bake!

The primary spice is cilantro, which made me a little nervous; I’m not the biggest fan (tastes like soap!). To my surprise, the cilantro isn’t at all overwhelming, and actually adds a rather nice flavor to the finished patties.

You’re supposed to bake these bad girls at 350F for ten minutes, after which time they should be nice and crispy. Mine weren’t, even after twenty minutes in the oven, so I cranked the heat up to 400F to get the job done: about ten minutes on each side. (The recipe also doesn’t say anything about flipping, but that’s the only way I could get both sides nice and crispy.) The next time I make these, I’ll go right to 400 degrees; ten to fifteen minutes on each side ought to do it.

These are freaking amazing when served with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mustard, and Vegenaise (pictured above) – and even better when you swap out the fresh vettable topping from friend onions and mushrooms. YUM.

Happy Cows and Quinoa Patties

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

THE HAPPYCOW COOKBOOK IS HERE Y’ALL!*

2014-05-18 - The HappyCow Cookbook - 0006 [flickr]

Well, technically it doesn’t come out until June 3rd, but I was lucky enough to score a review copy. (Thanks again for that, BenBella books!) I have literally been waiting for this cookbook to drop for eight months now, no lie. Maybe more. (My memory ain’t what it used to be.) Now that it’s here, it does not disappoint. Although a real, live chef to recreate all these masterpieces would be icing.

I just got my grubby little paws on it on Friday, and already I’ve made two dishes AND ordered a spiralizer to try out some of the raw pasta recipes. The book features recipes from 46 vegan restaurants – in both the United States and around the globe – interspersed with profiles of each. Along with the expected junk food, there are also some healthy, wholesome recipes, as well as tons of fancy schmancy dishes. (The photos are provided by the restaurants, so good luck matching their presentation! Not even gonna try.)

Topping my to-do list: the Buddha Lentil Burger from Buddha Burgers; El Piano’s Peruvian Leftovers Pie (though I’ll need to generate some leftovers first!); the Canelones de Seitan via Mi Vida; Peacefood Cafe’s Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Cauliflower, Garlic, and Mashed Potatoes with Porcini Mushroom Gravy (say that five times fast!) and its Award-Winning Chickpea Fries; and the Enchilada Pie from the awesomely named Stuff I Eat. There are also some pretty bitchin’ zerts here – Chocolate Raspberry Hazelnut Cake, Gluten-Free Coconut Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes, and Key Lime Tarts, oh my! – but idk if my pants can stand any more sweets. Not with ice cream season upon us.

But wait! Before I get ahead of myself.

2014-05-17 - HappyCow Quinoa Patties - 0001 [flickr]

I started with the Quinoa Patties (contributed by Green Cuisine in Victoria, BC), both because they sounded tasty and seemed pretty easy to whip together in a pinch. Plus I had all the ingredients on hand, so bonus.

(More below the fold…)

Quinoa Burgers & Pizza Crumbles

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

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The good news: The Quinoa Burgers from Mayim’s Vegan Table are bangin’.

The bad news: The recipe requires a little finagling to make it work.

So I followed the recipe as directed – it’s pretty simple, with just seven ingredients – but my burger batter came out way too wet and sticky to handle. I ended up adding 1/4 cup of flour and between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of quick oats before I could shape it into patties without half the quinoa clinging to my phalanges.

2014-04-20 - MVT Quinoa Burgers - 0002 [flickr]

Then you’re supposed to fry the patties and bake ’em a little longer. Instead, I went right to the baking portion of the directions: 425F for 30 minutes (20 minutes on one side and then flip) on a lightly greased cookie sheet. I figured it’d be both easier and healthier, and I think I was right on both counts.

Also weird, but not necessarily in a bad way: I ended up with nearly double the burgers I was supposed to.

2014-04-20 - MVT Pizza Crust - 0005 [flickr]

Anyway, I could only fit five patties to a cookie sheet, so I had a little extra batter left over. The next day we had a mini pizza party for Easter (and because it was Sunday. And 4/20. Basically we don’t need a significant reason to enjoy pizza, is what I’m saying.), and I spooned some of the batter onto the Daiya mozzarella and onion pizza. Soooooo good, y’all! I think I like this even better as a pizza topping.

2014-04-20 - MVT Pizza Crust - 0009 [flickr]

We also took the pizza crust recipe from Mayim’s Vegan Table for another spin. The first time around, it didn’t bake all the way through; instead, it remained a little dense and doughy. Chalk it up to bad yeast or wacky weather, but the crust came out much better on our second try. Yay!

Pizza Pizza Pizza!

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

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2014-03-23 - Pizza (including Mayim's Crust) - 0009 [flickr]

Last Sunday was pizza night, and we took the opportunity to try out another recipe from Mayim’s Vegan Table – namely, the pizza crust. It’s almost identical to our go-to recipe, minus the sugar (there isn’t any). Consequently, the dough doesn’t rise quite as much, resulting in a thinner, denser crust. Shane was happy to report that it’s still plenty pliable.

Onto Miam’s pizza (top and bottom right) went mushrooms, red peppers, onions, and the pepperoni crumbles from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Pizza. (The extras made some pretty kickass burritos. Just saute with zucchini, red peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and a touch of salt and pepper and serve warm. So good I could cry. BECAUSE I’M OUT.) The other pizza (bottom left) has zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Of course there’s mozzarella Daiya on each. (OF COURSE.)

Neither of the pizzas cooked to the center, though. Possibly this is because of all the juicy toppings, but who knows? Our crust cooked through when reheated in the oven, but Mayim’s remained a little chewy on the inside. Definitely gonna try it again to see if we get different results.

Tasty either way.

Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

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I don’t know why I don’t have burritos more often; aside from pizza, they’re pretty much the flyest finger food out there, and soooo much fun to eat. Seriously, I think the last time I made burritos was for a cookbook review more than a year ago! Such a shame. Note to self: must rectify this immediately.

So I wasn’t quite sure how these Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos from The Oh She Glows Cookbook would turn out. I really don’t eat quinoa very often – I’m still working on a two-pound bag I bought several years ago – so yeah. I figured I’d either love it or hate it. (In which case there’s a 99% chance that Shane would be more than happy to eat the extras. Human garbage can, that one.)

Well, I’m happy to report that option A prevailed. As in, this is totally one of my new favorite recipes! The combination of broccoli, sundried tomatoes, onions, and quinoa is tasty, but it’s the cheesy cashew sauce that really takes this burrito to the next level. (Yeah, I left out the celery. Sue me!)

Mine looks nothing like the burrito portrait in the book but I suspect that’s because I’m an amateur when it comes to wrapping burritos. Consider me flummoxed.

As a Saturday Raturday Bonus: A shot of Finnick, begging for food right next to a picture of him begging for food in nearly the exact same spot. How meta.

2014-02-12 - OSG Broccoli Quinoa Burritos - 0006 [flickr]

P.S. If you’d rather not use quinoa, I bet plain old rice would make an excellent substitute. I’ll give it a try next time around and report back to you. Deal? (The things I do for you people!)