quinoa: hoppin’ john style

It’s getting a little steamy out there for the usual meat and potatoes (or whatever the vegetarian equivalent is).

In the mood for something light and springy yesterday that’s easy on the stomach and low on grease, I turned to quinoa.

As it’s one of those ingredients that I only sort of like, but I really want to like, I’ve been experimenting with ways to make it as enjoyable as my go-to starchy dinner ingredients, like couscous, rice or pasta. It’s impossible to miss the thousands of articles about the benefits of quinoa, from its richness in protein, vitamins and minerals, to its inclusion of all eight essential amino acids, which makes it easy to digest and quite unique.

Try this bean and veggie quinoa dish – with a little fried tofu sausage – for a Hoppin’ John-esque salad that’s high on the protein but won’t make you feel overly full or bloated.

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2-3 slices red onion, diced
  • 2/3 can of pinto beans (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tofu sausages (I like the Italian Tofurky ones), cut in half and sliced in semi-circles
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil

For the dressing:

  •  3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Rinse the quinoa and put it into a small pot of medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the water is gone and the seeds smell a little bit nutty.
  2. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water and the salt. Bring to a boil and let it simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, until the water is gone.
  3. Fluff the quinoa and set aside, covered.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the canola oil and sauté the sausage until it browns. If it sticks, add a little water at the end so the brown bits come away from the sides.
  5. Add in the quinoa and stir together.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the beans, carrots, celery and onion.
  7. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and toss the salad gently with the dressing.
  8. Serve right away while warm or let it cool in the fridge for a couple hours.

I’m looking forward to trying other grainy foods that are rich in nutrients. I have yet to experiment with amaranth and teff, among others. It’s a great way to keep gluten consumption down and your protein levels high.

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2 thoughts on “quinoa: hoppin’ john style

  1. I love quinoa! All the colors in your dish look lovely. I hope you find recipes you like. I make a killer Triple K Quinoa Salad that has me eager for this summer’s kohlrabi crop.

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