Creamy Tomato Spinach Soup with Quinoa and Chickpeas

This soup is satisfyingly rich and creamy but the protein and leafy greens have it firmly planted on my healthy list. I used coconut milk with trepidation (I usually use it in curries and soups full of ginger and chilis) but it works here to add a nice creaminess to the soup without using actual cream.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup dry white wine*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (796mL) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (400mL) can coconut milk
2 cups broth
1 (540mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 (300g) block frozen chopped spinach, not thawed**
1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:
grated parmesan or asiago cheese
finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Serves 8.

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat.

Add onion, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 7 - 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Don't let your pot get too hot or you'll scorch your garlic.

Add white wine and cook, scraping up tasty bits from the bottom of your pot, until liquid is reduced by approximately 2/3.

Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, broth, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until carrots are very tender. Buzz with immersion blender until smooth.

Add spinach and turn heat up until soup boils. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is tender (approximately 15 minutes). Add basil and oregano. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Top with grated parmesan or asiago cheese and finely chopped fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.

* If you don't have wine, skip this step and increase your broth by 1/2 cup.

** If you just have fresh spinach, use about three cups, chop finely, and increase your broth by about 1/4 - 1/3 cup.

Creamy Tomato Spinach Soup with Quino and Chickpeas.jpg

One Pot Vegetable Quinoa Curry

I've seen a bunch of one pot pasta recipes floating around lately and it made me curious to find out if I could make a curry with the quinoa all in the same pot. My kitchen experiment was a success. This curry is rich, flavourful, filling, and is made from start to finish in one pot. I served mine with broccoli to increase my intake of plant-based protein.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated (approximately 2 cups of grated sweet potato)
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
zest and juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp. green Thai curry paste (I use this one)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 apple, diced
1 (10oz) package cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup dry quinoa
1 (540mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
(400mL) can coconut milk
water

Directions

Heat olive oil in large pot (I used my soup pot). Add sweet potato, carrots, celery, and onion and cook over high heat, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 7 - 9 minutes.

Stir in ginger, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, curry paste, curry powder, apple, and tomatoes. Cook for another minute or two until apple started to soften. Stir in quinoa.

Add chickpeas and coconut milk. Fill empty coconut milk can with water and add to pot. Stir well and bring to boil over high heat.

Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid, stir well, and continue to cook over high heat for another 5 minutes or so if it's too runny for your taste. Keep in mind the quinoa will continue to absorb liquid over time.

Enjoy as-is or serve with steamed veggies. I tweaked my cilantro yogurt from this post as below and topped my curry with a generous scoop. I also added a tablespoon each of hemp hearts and chia seeds for added protein, fibre, and serious smugness.

Cilantro Yogurt

Finely chop 1 small bunch cilantro and 1 small bunch green onions. You want to end up with about a cup of fresh herbs. Add 1-1/2 cups plain Green yogurt (the thicker the better) and salt and pepper to taste.
 

one_pot_vegetable_quinoa_curry.jpg

Vegetable Quinoa Sushi Rolls

This week's Meatless Monday offering is not quick or easy but it is delicious and meat-free (unlike last week's Tuna Salad). Variety is the spice of life, yo.

I was cooking with quinoa last week and it got me thinking: could I use quinoa in place of rice in sushi rolls? I lead a wild and crazy life (haaaa) so I decided to experiment.

I didn't want to end up with a lot of failed sushi quinoa if my experiment wasn't successful so please note that the amounts listed below only made enough for three sushi rolls. You'll want to double or triple the recipe if you're making sushi for a crowd.

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry quinoa

3/4 cups water

2 teaspoons soya sauce, divided

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 Tablespoons sugar

Sushi Nori (dried seaweed)

fillings (I used cucumber, mango, roasted sweet potato, and green onions for my veggie rolls)

toppings (soya sauce, wasabi, sesame seeds)

Directions

Rinse quinoa well and place in medium saucepan with water and 1 teaspoon soya sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Stir in rive vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon soya sauce. Cover and continue to cook over low heat 5 - 10 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed.

Spread quinoa out on a plate to cool while you chop your fillings.

Assemble sushi, roll, slice, and serve.

This is a great tutorial if you want to learn how to roll sushi.

I noticed the quinoa was a bit less bulky than traditional sushi rice so I used less, but that just meant I got to use more fillings. I will definitely use quinoa in place of rice to make sushi again especially since it means I can customize my sushi exactly how I like it.

image.jpg

Hippie Food

This is a dish I make often during the rainy season. It's a product of my love for one-pot meals and my desire to add more non-meat protein to my diet. It started as a meal made from random stuff I had in the fridge, but now I actually make it this way on purpose. Though the steps may seem a bit finicky, the dish itself is easy and easily tweaked to suit your preference. 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

4 inches of fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped

4 - 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock (you could also use plain water but stock adds more flavour) (I use 4 cups water and a heaped Tablespoon of this)

1 heaping Tablespoon red curry paste (I use this one)

1 - 400mL can coconut milk

2 medium zucchini, diced

1/2 cup dry quinoa 

1 - 540mL can bean of choice, drained and rinsed (I usually use white kidney beans or chickpeas but I've also used black beans - it really doesn't matter)

Toppings

Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Green onions, sliced

Fresh jalapenos, finely diced

Chia seeds

Hemp hearts

toppings

Directions

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another 5 minutes or so, until onion is transparent.

Add stock and bring to boil. Cover and cook until carrots are tender, 5 - 7 minutes depending on large you chopped them.

Remove from heat and add curry paste and coconut milk. Buzz with an immersion blender (or blend in regular blender) until smooth.  

Return to high heat and add zucchini and quinoa. Bring to boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender and quinoa is thoroughly cooked.

Remove from heat and add beans.

Top with your choice of toppings and enjoy!

hippiefood

A few things to note:

This recipe makes a lot - approximately 6 - 8 hearty servings. Fortunately it transports well and actually tastes better the second and third day after you make it (the flavours have time to get really friendly with each other. ) 

Pre-cancer, I hated cilantro. Like, I aggressively hated cilantro. It made me gag. It tasted like old dirt to me. My tastes have changed (it's a thing that can happen with hormone therapy. It makes no sense) and now I actually like cilantro. If you are like pre-cancer me and you hate cilantro? Eliminate it or use parsley. I won't judge. 

For even more protein power, I've served this over tofu. It stands on its own as a meal if you are tofu-adverse. Real talk: I've also served it over chicken (#notarealvegetarian).