Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mexican Inspired Couscous - Vegan

Some nights I just don't want to cook something for dinner that takes too long and a one-dish meals are my go to recipes.

I don't make this one too often, but I enjoy the flavors and it is quick and easy for a weeknight after work.   It is very adaptable.  Sometimes I add corn, sometimes okra.  For a gluten free alternative using quinoa instead of couscous, see notes after recipe. 


1 Cup Water
1 tsp No Chicken Bouillon
1 medium Onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Chili Powder or Hot Sauce
1 Cup frozen Peas
1-1/2 Cups diced fresh Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Couscous
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped and for garnish
1 Avocado, peeled and diced
**  1/2 cup frozen cut Okra and/or Corn (optional)

1.  In medium saucepan combine water and bouillon.  Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Add cumin and chili powder and cook for another minute.

2.  Add peas, tomatoes, cilantro, and if you are using corn and/or okra add it now too.    Bring to a boil.

3.  Add couscous, stir to combine.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let stand 5 minutes.

4.  Fluff with a fork and stir in avocado.  Serve and top with extra cilantro for garnish.  We like to eat it out of a bowl topped with Trader Joes Jalapeno Sauce.  One could also use it as a burrito stuffing and add a little vegan sour cream and salsa.

This makes two very large bowls/dinner portions or three lunch portions.

** To make it gluten free by substituting quinoa:  Cook the quinoa using a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cups water adding a little no chicken bouillon in the water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes then remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.  While quinoa is cooking, saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil.  Add cumin and chili powder and saute another minute.  Add tomatoes, peas, and corn/okra.  Cook until peas are thawed.  If mixture seems a little dry add a little water.  Fluff quinoa and combine the two mixtures.  Stir in avocado.    In the alternative you can thaw your veggies while the quinoa is cooking and combine the raw veggies and tomatoes with the fluffed quinoa for a cool salad rather than one-dish casserole type meal.

(With couscous, but without okra or corn)
- Bon Appetit

"  You can do a lot for your diet by eliminating foods that have mascots." - Ted Spiker

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peanut Thai Quinoa Salad - Vegan

This salad has become one of our favorites.  SpartanBabe provided me with the recipe from in the comment section of my Raw Pad Thai post last August, but I modified it and changed quantities in about 10 different ways to suit our tastes.  The recipe she provided was also modified from another from Ambitious Kitchen, so I have not included the original since this is a modified of a modified, etc and I don't know how well it even resembles the original.

A few of the ways I've modified it are as follows:  changed out the 'low fat peanut butter' to fresh ground peanut butter, I've upped the veggie counts and of course spiced it up a bit.  I also found the recipe to be too salty so I've reduced the amount of soy sauce.

*  To make this gluten free, use a gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce. 

** If you are looking for a colorful salad use red cabbage and a red pepper.  I use whatever happens to be cheaper so it is usually green cabbage and a green pepper.

Although I find this recipe is just as good warm, I traditionally make the quinoa up in the morning and refrigerate it until putting the salad together for dinner. As a meal this makes two large dinner portions and two large lunch portions.  As a side salad with grilled tofu or tempeh it will of course serve more.


1 cup Quinoa
1-1/2 cups Water
1 tsp No Chicken Bouillon
1 Bell Pepper, chopped (red or green)
2 cups Cabbage, shredded (red or green)
1-1/2 cups Shelled Edamame
2 Carrots, sliced in thin rounds
1 can Baby Corn, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (Optional)
1 cup sliced Green Onions, green and white parts
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Peanut Butter, fresh ground tastes best
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
2 Tbsp minced Garlic
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Szechuan Sauce
1 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
1-2 tsps fresh grated or minced Ginger
Sesame Seeds and fresh Ground Black Pepper for sprinkling on top when serving

**  I have also used 1 can of drained and rinsed chick peas instead of baby corn with good results - picture at end of post.


1.  Heat water, quinoa and No Chicken Bouillon to a boil in small saucepan.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes more.  Fluff with fork, put in large mixing bowl and refrigerate until assembling salad.

2.  Remove quinoa from refrigerator and add bell pepper, cabbage, edamame, carrots, baby corn and/or chick peas, and green onions.  Stir to combine.

3.  In small bowl whisk together peanut butter and sesame oil.  Add in one at a time the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, garlic, lime juice, szechuan sauce, maple syrup, and ginger whisking between each addition.  If you add all the liquid to the peanut butter and try and whisk at the end it isn't as easy and has a tendency to splash and make a mess. 

4.  Pour half of peanut dressing over quinoa veggie mixture and stir to incorporate.  Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and stir again.  Stir in cilantro.

5.  Serve in bowls or on plates.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and ground pepper and enjoy.

(Green pepper, green cabbage, and baby corn)
Here is a picture of a batch with red pepper, red cabbage and chick peas instead of baby corn.

(Red pepper, red cabbage, and chick peas)

- Bon Appetit

" He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skills of his doctors." - Chinese Proverb