Tag Archives: Cilantro

Everything Quinoa Salad

21 Feb


I love quinoa salads.  There, I said it.  I realize I already have a few other quinoa salad recipes on my blog, but I keep coming up with new versions of the quinoa+beans+vegetables and/or fruits formula.  Today I made a salad that was sort of tropical, because it has some mango and plantain, but it’s special because it really has a little of everything.  Raisins, peas, mango, plantains, red and green onion, and more.  It also has a lime juice-based dressing, which I adore.  There is no super strong flavor in this salad.  It’s really a mix a many equally wonderful flavors and textures.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed and drained

1 small mango, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

4 scallions, sliced thinly

1/4 cup chopped red onioin

1/2 sliced steamed or sauteed plantain

Pepper and salt to taste

Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T agave nectar or honey

Instructions

Cook the quinoa (this is a good step to do the day before, since the quinoa needs to cool completely).  Bring the water and salt to a boil, add the quinoa, and turn down to medium low heat.  Cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

Combine chickpeas, cooled quinoa, mango, pepper, cilantro, raisins, plantain, peas, red onion, and green onion.  Make the dressing.  Combine the lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, and agave nectar in a bowl and whisk together.  Add to the salad and mix until well-combined.  Taste, and add salt if needed.  Add pepper to taste.

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Smoky Black Bean Quinoa Salad

9 Dec

I recently started volunteering at the Sustainable Food Center.  My first major task was helping with a project to test several recipes for the revision of the Happy Kitchen cookbook, and important part of the SFC’s Happy Kitchen cooking class program.  I picked Smoky Black Bean Salad and Cranberry Sauce.  I had a lot of fun doing this and testing the recipes with different groups to get their feedback.  This particular recipe I’ve made my own, by upping the chipotle and cilantro, and adding some more color with the carrot and red bell pepper.  The salad makes for a really nice, light meal paired with some soup or a vegetable dish, or by itself.  Last night I ate a plate of this salad with some roasted acorn squash I had left over with some honey drizzled over the top.  Yum!  Healthy dinner after a nice run. 

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 can, drained and rinsed

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated with a box grater or finely chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 tsp adobo sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

First, rinse and drain the quinoa.  Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the quinoa, lower the heat to medium or medium low.  Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the quinoa to cool completely before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.  If you use hot quinoa to make the salad, the texture becomes mushy. 

Place the quinoa in a large bowl suitable for mixing.  Add the black beans, green onions, carrot, red bell pepper, and cilantro.

Next, make the dressing.  Combine the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk together until everything is well combined.  Add to the quinoa mixture and stir to mix until the dressing is well distributed.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Use the salad within a week of making it.

The CSA Challenge Part III: Peppers

23 Nov

Here are a few recipes to show some examples of how I’ve used the peppers I got in my CSA box a few weeks ago (yes, I still have some of the veggies, but they’re almost gone!).  Besides these recipes, I’ve also used the serrano and Anaheim peppers for the following:

  • 1 chopped Anaheim pepper to mix with my cornbread batter
  • 2 serranos for a batch of refried pinto beans
  • 1 chopped Anaheim pepper for a raw collards salad

Roasted Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

1 Anaheim pepper

1 bell pepper or other mild pepper (mine was an Italian Ringo pepper, an oblong yellow sweet pepper)

2 T olive oil, plus more for brushing the peppers

2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed is good too)

Large handful cilantro (no need to chop, the food processor will take care of that)

2 whole peeled garlic cloves

2 T tahini

1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste if necessary

Instructions

Heat oven to 400.  Brush peppers with olive oil, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the peppers are cooked and brown, like this:

Let peppers cool completely before using in the hummus.  Remove stems and seeds.  Combine all ingredients in the food processor, and whirl until everything is well combined, scraping the sides once or twice if needed.  Serve on bread, on sandwiches, or as a dip for crudite.

Salsa Verde

This green salsa was inspired by Kippy Nigh’s recipe in her cookbook A Taste of Mexico.  The salsa was fantastic with some molletes (toasted bread slathered with refried beans, salsa, and cashew/tofu cream) and the seitan tacos I made a few weeks ago.  Though I used the serrano peppers I got in my CSA share for this, I also found some tomatillos at my local farmers market, so this was a mostly local salsa! 

Ingredients

3-4 tomatillos, peeled

2 serrano or 1 jalapeno pepper

1 clove garlic

1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

About 1.5 cups water

Handful of cilantro

Preparation

Place all ingredients except the cilantro in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium high heat and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the tomatillos are cooked (they’ll be tender instead of firm as when they are fresh).  Once done, place the pan contents in a food processor along with the cilantro, and whirl until you have salsa.  Add water if you want a thinner consistency.

Mexican Cheeze Spread

19 Oct

This spread is a lot like hummus because it has chickpeas, but is richer with the addition of cashews.  Like many homemade non-dairy “cheezes” this one has nutritional yeast to give it a cheesier flavor.  You can use this spread for a million different things, but I used it in a quesadilla with sauteed cremini mushrooms and red onion.  Yum!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp sea salt

2/3 cup cashews, whole or pieces

3 T nutritional yeast (available in the bulk section of natural foods stores and well-stocked grocery stores)

1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (you can remove the seeds to reduce the heat, but I left them in)

2 handfuls fresh cilantro

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Juice of one large lime or 2 key limes

1-2 T water

Preparation

Add all ingredients to a food processor  and process until smooth.  Scrape the sides with a spatula, and process again to ensure all the ingredients are well-incorporated.

Marrakesh Minestrone with Cilantro Puree

14 Jan

I have a cookbook called The Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld that I absolutely adore.  Every recipe I’ve tried has been divine, and this one is no different.  The book has very interesting and flavorful combinations, most with an international flair. The book is based on the idea of “flexitarianism,” or eating a mostly vegetarian diet, but not eliminating meat entirely.  I’ve been eating this way for a about four years, though lately I’ve been trending more toward eliminating meat altogether.

I decided to make this particular dish because this past weekend my Foodies group (I found a group of people who love to cook as much as I do!)  had a Middle Eastern-themed extravaganza.  We each took a different dish, and I picked this Moroccan-style stew, which mixes sweet with spicy in a really amazing way.  Other featured dishes included hummus, rice with dried fruit and pistachios, garbanzo soup, tzatziki, roasted leeks and carrots, an amazing dessert made with rice and almonds, tea flavored with cardamom and cinnamon, and several others.  Yum!  I was truly amazed by the range of wonderful dishes everyone made.

This stew is very hearty and can be eaten as a meal.  The starchy vegetables in combination with the couscous and garbanzo beans along with the rich spices come together to make for a very satisfying stew for a cold night. I made a change here and did not use saffron–I tossed in some turmeric instead.  Saffron is pretty expensive and I didn’t feel like buying it on this particular day.

Ingredients

2 T olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pinch saffron threads (I used about 1 tsp of turmeric)

1 tsp ground fennel seed (I left mine whole)

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I used more–about 1 tsp–because I like it spicy)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used closer to 1 tsp)

1-14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes

5 cups water

1 cup sweet potato, chopped

1 diced carrot

1 zucchini, sliced

Salt to taste

2 cups finely chopped Swiss chard or chopped spinach

1/4 cup couscous

2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed

Black pepper

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Cilantro Puree

1 tsp whole or ground cumin

2 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Toss in the onion to cook for about 7 minutes.  Then, add the garlic, saffron, fennel, coriander, red pepper flakes, ginger, and cinnamon.  Stir, and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, and crush the tomatoes a bit with the back of your spoon.  Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  (As the tomatoes cook, it would be a good time to wash the chard and chop the vegetables to use your time most efficiently).

Add the water, sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini.  Cover and turn the heat to high.  Bring to a boil.  One the soup starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium low.  Add 1 tsp salt.  Cover the pot, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Next, add the couscous, chard, and garbanzo beans.  Stir.  Simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add the pepper and the lemon juice.  Taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.

Now, let the soup sit to cool and make the cilantro puree.  You can do this with a blender, but I used my food processor, which is much better at chopping than a blender.  Add the cilantro, cumin, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.  Pulse until the ingredients are finely and evenly chopped.  Then, turn on the processor and pour in the olive oil through the top.  You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl if the puree doesn’t mix evenly.

Spoon some cilantro puree over the soup, and enjoy!  I’m definitely going to make this again.

20 Minute Pinto Bean Tacos with Fresh Salsa

22 Aug

These tacos certainly fall into the category of ways to make dinner in a flash.  I think it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish.  My  tacos are a variation of a recipe on the NY Times website, called “Soft Black Bean Tacos”.

Under the “Health” category of the NY Times website, they have recipes categorized by ingredient.  Obviously, I found this one under beans.  Most of these recipes are very simple and use basic, whole ingredients, like eggs, swiss chard, beets, beans, pasta, and many others.  I wouldn’t have thought to look at the NY Times for recipes, but I’ve found many of them to be very handy if I find myself in need of ideas for what to do with a specific food item I have on hand.

I made the tacos with pinto beans instead of black beans, and I made a fresh salsa instead of buying a bottled or prepared fresh salsa.  Making  your own fresh salsa takes no more time because you can chop the ingredients as the beans cook away.  Instead of feta or queso fresco, I used cheddar because I happened to have some on hand.  Feel free to use whatever cheese you have on hand or no cheese at all.

Here’s what you need:

Pinto tacos post 002

To serve 2 people:

1 can pinto beans

4 corn tortillas

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil

Salsa:

1 medium tomato

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper

a handful of fresh cilantro

about 1/4 of a medium white or red onion

juice of 1 small lime

Step one: Open can of beans, put in a bowl, and mash with a fork or a big mashing tool like mine, as pictured.

Pinto tacos post 005

Step two: Heat oil over medium heat.  Add a drop of water to the pan and if it sizzles, the pan is warm.  This should not take very long, especially with a gas stove.  Once the pan is warm, add the cumin and chili powder to “toast” them slightly, about 1 minute or so.  Then, add the mashed beans and about 1/2 cup-2/3 cup of water.  Stir to combine, turn heat down a bit, to medium low.  Cook for about 10 minutes.

Pinto tacos post 008

Step 3: While the beans cook, make the salsa.  Chop the onion, cilantro, pepper, lime, and tomato into pieces similar to this:

Pinto tacos post 011

Combine all the ingredients, add a pinch of salt, and use a fork to extract the juice from the lime halves.  Stir to combine and distribute the salt and lime juice evenly.  Your salsa will look something like this:

Pinto tacos post 013

Step Four: Prepare the tacos.  Heat the tortillas either in a skillet over medium heat, or wrap in a paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds.  Fill the tortilla with about 1/4 of the bean mixture.  Grate some cheese over the top, or use pre-grated cheese.  Top with salsa, and voila, you have dinner:

Pinto tacos post 019

Avocado would make a good addition to these tacos, either in place of or in addition to the salsa.  Feel free to make whatever adjustments you want:  flour instead of corn tortillas, bottled salsa instead of fresh, black beans instead of pinto, etc.  Beans are very handy to have in your pantry, and this is one of many, many things you can do to turn a can of beans into an actual meal.  This particular dish proves that very simple ingredients can indeed become a very satisfying meal, especially on days where you don’t have the time or don’t feel like making anything more complicated.