November 16, 2014

Quinoa Taco Salad

It's getting colder out which means we naturally remove ourselves from cold, albeit fresh, salads and opt for the more meatier (plant based of course) soups and rice dishes. So we've been having a lot of rice and bean dishes ... variations of the same, according to HOMY. He'd rather not eat another rice and bean dish for a few months :) !! I have been missing the greens in my diet and today when we came home with a salad box of baby spinach I decided to make a taco salad ... except HOMY is not a big fan of TVP and is fed-up with beans .. hmm? Stuck between a rock and a hard place .. not quite so because he loves Quinoa and I had the perfect idea to turn my Quinoa Chili recipe into a Quinoa Taco Meat recipe. 

Prep Time: 20 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained.
  2. 1 cup Water
  3. 1/2 Medium Red Onion, diced
  4. 1 can (15 oz) Dark Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  5. 2 Large Tomatoes, diced
  6. 2 cups Yellow Corn, steamed and ready to serve. 
  7. 1 lb Baby Spinach, rinsed and ready to serve
  8. 1 tbsp minced Garlic
  9. 2 tsp Cumin powder
  10. 2 Coriander powder
  11. 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  12. 1 tsp Taco seasoning
  13. 2 tsp dried Cilantro leaves
  14. 2 tsp Chipotle Pepper (add more, to taste)
  15. 1 tbsp Light Molasses
  16. 4 tbsp Soy Sauce, or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  17. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  18. Salsa, as dressing, to taste.
  19. Sliced Avocados or Guacamole, to taste (optional)
  20. Sliced Jalapenos, to taste (optional)
  21. Tortilla Strips, to taste (optional)
In a large non-stick skillet, mix quinoa, water, red onion, and all spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and allow to simmer until quinoa is cooked well (about 10-12 min). Remove cover, mix in Kidney beans and allow the excess water to evaporate until the mixture has the consistency of well-browned taco meat. Taste test and add more cumin, taco seasoning, salt and chili peppers, if needed. Split the baby spinach into 4 large salad bowls. Top off with a generous sprinkle of yellow corn and fresh tomatoes. Drop a generous dollop of taco meat in the middle, add salsa for dressing and serve. Garnish with optional taco salad toppings, if you wish. 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 349 (Fat Calories 42)
Total Fat 4.7 g; Carbohydrates 65.9 g; Fiber 12.5 g; Sugars 9.7 g; Protein 17.0 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

November 15, 2014

Steel Cut Oat Bean Chili

One of my favorite vegan chefs out there, Chef AJ, shared a recipe on Facebook for a Steel Cut Oat Bean Chili. The picture itself oh so appetizing. The recipe was super simple. It looked like it would come together is around 30 minutes. The temperatures have been dropping all week and today .. snow was coming down in gentle flurries all day long. It was a perfect day for a bowl of chili. I even had all the ingredients on hand. It was meant to be :) 

Adapted from: (original recipe in OATrageous Oatmeals, by Kathy Hester)

Prep Time: ~25-30 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 cups water 
  2. 1.5 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base 
  3. 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  4. 1 tbsp Oregano
  5. 1.5 tbsp Ground Cumin
  6. 1 tsp Smoked Chipotle Chili powder
  7. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  8. 1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  9. 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1-1/2 cups homemade)
  10. 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  11. 1 cup frozen corn
  12. 1.5 tsp Liquid smoke
  13. 1 tsp Freeze-dried Cilantro leaves (or fresh)
  14. Juice of 1/2 a lime (optional)
  15. Salt, to taste
I pretty much followed the directions on the website with the exception that I did not wait for the oats to be completely cooked before I added the rest of the ingredients. I let everything cook together which blended the flavors much better in my opinion. Bring the water and vegetable base to a boil in a heavy cast iron pot (I used my Le Creuset). Add oats, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Then stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil again and reduce heat to low, cover with a heavy lid to prevent excessive evaporation and serve when the oats are completely cooked (about 20 min). I forgot to use the lime juice listed in the original recipe. And with the vegetable base I used, I didn't even need to add salt to this recipe. It turned out great!!

My Assessment: This chili was really good. I love using different grains in my chili recipes and hadn't used Oats until now. The recipe was so simple, even with my couple of substitutions and additions, anyone could throw it all in a pot and have a wholesome dinner in half an hour!! A+++ 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 242 (Fat Calories 19)
Total Fat 2.1 g; Carbohydrates 44.7 g; Fiber 9.8 g; Sugars 3.5 g; Protein 12.0 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

November 2, 2014

Vegetables in Creamy Cashew Sauce

Someone in my Facebook Group (Indian Plant Based Whole Food Junkies) asked earlier today for a Korma recipe without tomatoes. Now growing up in India, I remember Korma as a hearty meaty dish with lots of caramelized onions and tomatoes. But, they'd tried it at an Indian restaurant and wanted a WFPB version. So I decided to give it a try today. She recalled it being in a creamy white sauce - my guess, they just skipped the tomatoes in their recipe. 

This recipe is an adaptation of an older recipe for TVP Korma which I modified today to make the creamy white sauce. I, of course, changed up the vegetables :) but I didn't call this dish a korma as it is not a true korma in my opinion. Maybe this isn't what you were hoping for :) but that's my 2c. 

Prep Time: 30 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 cups Green Beans
  2. 1 cup Corn
  3. 1 x 12 oz Pack of Extra-Firm Silken Tofu 
  4. 1/2 Medium Red Onion, pureed
  5. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  6. 1/3 cup Raw Cashews, ground (I use a coffee grinder)
  7. 1 cup Non-Dairy Milk
  8. 1 cup Water or Vegetable Broth
  9. 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  10. 1 tsp Ground Cilantro Seed
  11. 2-3 tsp Garam Masala
  12. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Line a skillet with water and add pureed onions and 1/2 tsp of salt. Saute and caramelize onions until they are a rich dark golden color (keep a measuring cup with water handy; keep stirring the onions until they dry up and start to stick to the bottom of the pan, which is fine, add a splash of water, which will allow the caramelized onions at the bottom of the pan to soften up again. Repeat the process until the onions are are rich red color). Once onions are done, add the ginger-garlic paste and repeat the same process until the mix is fragrant (2-3 min). At this point, add beans, corn, cashew powder, 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, spices and water. Mix well, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile dice half the tofu into chunks and puree the remaining with 1/2 cup of milk. When you have a smooth creamy paste of tofu and milk, add that to the skillet, mix well and allow to simmer for another 5 min. At this point you can also add the diced tofu to the pan but be careful when mixing so as to not smoosh the pieces. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a fresh sprinkle of garam masala. 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 190 (Fat Calories 78)
Total Fat 8.7 g; Carbohydrates 19.6 g; Fiber 4.2 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 10.9 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!