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Send me an email to Niki at HoldingOntoTheMagic dot com!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

[Quinoa Lovers Unite! Portabello Marinara Quinoa]

I've recently discovered the joy that is quinoa. I posted a recipe on the Life After Lactose Facebook page on September 7, from a site called Fit Foodie. I've made it twice already, doubling the recipe and making a fantabulous hot breakfast and cold mid-morning snack for my art-class days (it's one really long day, let me tell ya). Filling, and fulfills my sweet-tooth cravings using Stevia instead of sugar. Note: I don't have flaxseed or chia seeds on hand (I keep forgetting to pick some up), but it's still a great recipe without them.

Tonight, I tried a recipe I put together on the spot and loved--lots of flavor, and unlike some of the packaged quinoa kits, low on sodium (I use little salt anyway, so salty meals don't particularly appeal to me). It required the following ingredients to make a two-person or two-meal batch:

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine (I used blackberry merlot, but you can probably substitute grape juice or similar drinks if you don't want the alcohol--it burns out, but it's never fully gone, and I know some folks who have to avoid alcohol entirely)
1/2 cup tomato sauce (I use either Prego or Hunt's, depending on what I have on hand)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, pressed and diced, or at least chopped into several pieces
Portabello mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized pieces. I used half of a pint.
Italian seasoning to taste
Parmesan cheese (there are some good vegan alternatives if your lactose intolerance is severe enough that you can't handle even Parmesan--me, it depends on the week, so tonight I used the real thing) to taste

Bring to a boil the quinoa, garlic, water, wine, and sauce in a small-to-medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover for five minutes, stirring occasionally. After five minutes, add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the Parmesan cheese, which goes on top just before serving. Stir well, then cover and simmer for 8-15 minutes, or however long it takes for the quinoa to absorb most of the liquid (you'll want a little extra left over, because it absorbs the rest on its own shortly thereafter). Sprinkle with the cheese, and serve!

Tip: If you're like me and cooking for one, split it into two meals and save some sauce for reheating.
Another tip: If you'd like your quinoa to have a little less of an al dente texture (I think it's a fun texture, but it's not for everyone, and for this meal, I actually liked having it a little more tender), add more water so you'll have to boil longer.

This meal make a good spaghetti replacement, and it's high in protein. You don't have to eat as much volume-wise to feel full, so this actually makes a good stand-alone meal. I served mine on one of my little dessert plates, and despite the fact that I have a notably voracious appetite, I felt full and satisfied with the one plate. I plan to make it at least once more this week to finish off my pint of mushrooms and the rest of my small can of spaghetti sauce.