Tag Archives: Quinoa

Another Absolutely Wonderful Trip to San Francisco

First of all, I would like to point out that this blog is now one year old!  Woo hoo!  Thank you to all of my readers and supporters over the last year!

Now, down to business…photos from California!  Breakfast on the first day was a hearty veggie curry pastie from John Campbell’s Irish Bakery on Geary Street.  Yum.  Granted, this was probably not 100% vegan, but it was vegetarian and savory, and perfect for eating in Noor’s Land Rover on the way to Peet’s Coffee, which has the best coffee EVER (+ 2 vegan cookie options!)

For dinner one night we headed across the Bay Bridge to Oakland to eat at the incomparable Zaki Kabob House.  Noor really wanted to take me there, because he noticed that the menu has a whole column of vegan dishes!  It was hard to choose!  As an appetizer we shared the Mashweeya salad: tender roasted eggplant, fresh tomatoes, crisp red onions, lots of garlic, and good olive oil.

For my entree I ordered the Zaki Mediterranean Plate so that I could try a little bit of everything.  It had hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmas, falafels, and unlimited pita bread.

They provided complimentary fresh mint tea, and I also ordered a Jerusalem Mint Lemonade, which was SUPER minty: the perfect way to wash down a delicious meal.

This is a wonderful family-owned restaurant with a lot of integrity, definitely a new favorite.  The other purpose for our Oakland trip was a stop at Fenton’s Creamery, where Noor did get me to sample their heavenly Toasted Almond ice cream, but even there I did manage to find a vegan option in the raspberry sorbet.

All of their treats are freshly made by hand.  This was a far cry from the hard-frozen sorbets at the supermarket.  It was soft, flavorful, and not too sweet.  I know that Oakland gets a bad rap, but I had a great time there!

The next day I took the bus downtown by myself because Noor had to work.  At SFMOMA I got to see a work by one of my favorite artists.  Here I am in front of Janine Antoni’s Lick and Lather.  In this piece she cast self-portrait busts in both chocolate and lard.  Then she slowly erased her identity by licking the chocolate and washing with the soap.

After working up an appetite by looking at art, I really wanted to eat at The Plant, having read about it on Amber Shea’s Almost Vegan blog.  However, I got there and found that it is closed on Saturdays!    The location in the Financial District is only open Monday through Friday.  Oh well.  I wandered a bit and then headed over to the Ferry Building.

The Ferry Building is host to an upscale (and fairly pricy) farmers’ market, but it was winding down for the day.  I did find some wonderful food from The Slanted Door at their to-go window, called Out the Door.  I ordered the Vegetarian Curry and Iced Tea and walked outside and found a bench.  This was my lunch:

This was where I ate my lunch:

…and this was my dining companion:

Not bad, huh?  The curry was lovely.  It was a Vietnamese curry: not heavily seasoned, but hearty.  With potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, it was almost like a good stew.

In addition to trying some great new places, I also got to enjoy some old favorites.  On Sunday morning/afternoon we had brunch at La Palma Mexicatessan while listening to the church bells.  I got the Vegetarian Burrito (no sour cream or cheese) again, but this time I tried the tomato-basil tortilla (last time I had the spinach tortilla).  Yum.  Here it is untouched but already bursting at the seams with goodness:

…and here it is after I destroyed half of it.  Noor also got me some chips and guacamole and vegetarian sweet corn tamales to take back to his place (because he knows the way to my heart)

They accidentally gave us the cinnamon tamales, but they were good!

We also went down to San Jose to visit our good friend Scott, and, of course, we hit up Falafel’s Drive-In.  I had the Falafel Sandwich again, and it was awesome again!

In San Jose I also got to say hi to our friend Jane’s chickens. These are some happy chickens.

This one thinks she’s a cat and roams around the house looking for spiders under the furniture.

Needless to say, I felt no qualms about eating some eggs from THESE chickens!  Thank you, Jane, for the wonderful eggs!  Look at how pretty the colors were:

Noor made me another potato omelet, which I devoured!

I think the steam was fogging up my camera lens here, and I was too hungry to care, but you can still tell how rich and yellow the egg yolks were: not at all like the ones from the store.

Noor also made VEGAN CHILI for me!  Yeah!  It had black beans, quinoa, Morningstar crumbles, tomato paste, and onions, and was well seasoned with chili powder and cumin.  It was thicker than what I usually make.  In fact, the texture was downright meaty!

On my last day we got breakfast at the farmers’ market in the parking lot of the mall by his apartment.  I love that you can’t swing a dead cat in San Francisco (not that a vegan would ever do that) without hitting a farmers’ market.  It was a foggy, misty morning: very pretty but no good for taking pictures.  We got a nice loaf of French bread, and then we happened upon a hummus stand.  The hummus guy was a very good salesman.  He let us try all of the flavors, including yummy Artichoke, Tomato-Basil, and Avocado-Cilantro.  He explained that their hummus has a super creamy texture with half the oil and tahini of traditional hummus, thanks to a special blade for blending it smoothly.  It was super yummy and only 250 calories per tub.  We chose the Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus and also the Italian Caponata (a yummy eggplant-tomato-olive spread).

After putting a big dent in our bread and spreads we also each had a piece of bread with some off-brand Nutella that happens to be vegan as our “breakfast dessert.”  Then we headed over to Peet’s to wash down a fabulous breakfast with the BEST coffee.

What a great trip!  I can’t wait to go back and get some more of that hummus!  I love that I’ve spent enough time in San Francisco now to have old favorite restaurants but that I also had the chance to find some new favorites.  I also love it when my BF cooks for me.  I’ll have to make him a nice meal when he visits me in KC next month.  If you were a (mostly) vegan cooking for a confirmed omnivore, what would you make?


Lovely Lentil Loaf (+ Sandwiches)


This is basically a recipe from Alex Jamieson’s Great American Detox Diet:


It’s a wonderfully versatile recipe: you can use whatever legume, grain, and veggies you have on hand.  I especially like to use leftover cooked lentils and grains here, so it’s a little bit different each time I make it.  This time I used red lentils and quinoa.  This was my favorite combination so far.  The textures worked better in loaf form than brown lentils and rice.  I also used a couple of ribs of celery instead of the bell pepper and dried instead of fresh parsley.

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa: $0.45
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils: $0.18
  • 1 cup uncooked instant oats: $0.07
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushroom: $0.67
  • 1 medium yellow onion , finely chopped: $0.25
  • 1 medium carrot, grated: $0.08
  • 2 ribs celery, diced: $0.24
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts: $0.66
  • 1 can tomato paste: $0.89
  • 1/4 cup green olives: $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley: $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: $0.18
  • 2 tablespoons mustard: $0.23
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage: $0.02

$4.51/10 servings


I served it with:
  • roasted sweet potato wedges: (1/2 a large sweet potato): $0.15
  • crispy roasted Brussels sprouts:  (1/4 a bag from Trader Joe’s): $0.70

The sides were easy to prepare.  I just sliced the sweet potato, sprayed it with canola spray, and put it in the oven 30 minutes before the loaf was finished (flipping after 15 minutes).  For the Brussels sprouts, I steamed them in the bag in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, then cut them in half, sprayed them with oil, and put them in the oven 15 minutes before the loaf was finished (when I flipped the potatoes).  Then I put them under the broiler for a few minutes to get them nice and crispy.

…so my whole dinner only cost $1.30!

By the way, this loaf is one of those things where the leftovers are even better!

Speaking of leftovers, I used some of them to make really good sandwiches:

  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread: $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard: $0.08
  • 2 teaspoons Vegenaise: $0.05


with leftover Brussels sprouts my lunch came to: $1.53!

This was a nice, hearty sandwich that really hit the spot!


Chili Verde

There’s no doubt that chili (sin carne) is a vegetarian staple.  Without the meat it’s still hearty enough and recognizable enough to please omnivores and vegans alike.  But, of course, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve been thinking about developing a veggie version of a white chili or green chili recipe for some time.  When I had some friends over for my birthday this week, it was the perfect chance to test my idea, and I was happy with the results.

Before leaving for work I threw the following into my crock pot:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cans green chiles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I let that cook on low for about 7 hours (or you could cook it on high for just a few hours).  When I got home, it was a bit soupy, so I added:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

…and let it cook for another hour.  That soaked up the extra broth and added exactly the textural dimension it needed.

Feel free to garnish it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, crushed tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, etc.

  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 can cannellini beans: $0.89
  • 1 can corn: $0.49
  • 2 cans green chiles: $1.58
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped: $0.80
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed: $1.40
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced: $1.99
  • 4 cups veggie broth: $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon oregano: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon cumin: $0.02
  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67

=$11.09/8 servings


PS: Kudos to my friend Kate for bringing over homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.  They were delicious!!!

David Lynch’s Quinoa Recipe

A while back, my friend Brandon told me about a video of David Lynch making quinoa.  He had seen it as a special feature on a DVD of one of Lynch’s films, but I was able to find it on YouTube.  If you like David Lynch, you will enjoy this.

I had been meaning to try this recipe for a while.  I finally made it last night, and really enjoyed it.  This is definitely a “bachelor” recipe, but that’s what I like about it.  It makes enough for one person.  It’s simple, tasty, and fairly nutritious, although pretty high in sodium.  You could change that by subbing homemade broth for the bouillon or omitting the salt/Braggs.  That, of course, is the beauty of cooking at home.  You could also add other veggies or proteins.  Pine nuts or tofu cubes would be good.  By the way, did anybody else find it hilarious that David Lynch apparently owns neither potholders nor a kitchen timer?

I started by watching the video again and trying to transcribe the recipe.  I had to estimate the amounts.  I decided to add the bouillon BEFORE cooking, although David Lynch added it at the end (I guess that’s what makes him a counterculture icon).

I tested my recipe and then posted it on Food.com so that I could see the nutrition info.  You can view it here:


  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67
  • 1vegetable bouillon cube: $0.38
  • 1 cup broccoli: $0.57
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs liquid aminos: $0.09
  • 1 teaspoonextra virgin olive oil: $0.05


I bought the quinoa and broccoli at Trader Joe’s.  The other ingredients came from the co-op. This will definitely become one of my “pantry staple” recipes: something for which I almost always have almost all of the ingredients on hand.  That way I don’t have to freak out and hit up a drive-thru when I realize that I haven’t planned anything for dinner.  After all, what drive-thru has a nutritious meal for $1.76?

Thank you, David Lynch (and Brandon)!

Impromptu Dinner

Edamame-Corn-Quinoa Salad

Do you ever find that it’s 6:00 pm and you have plenty of food in the house but NO idea what to eat for dinner?  When that happens to me, I often resort to Google.  By punching a few ingredients into a search engine, I usually find something that I can make with what I have on hand.  I used that strategy the other night and found this:


It didn’t quite fit the bill, but it gave me a spark of inspiration!

First, I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of coconut milk (leftover from that frosting I made the other day) and 1 cup of water with a dash of salt and a dash of pepper.  To cook quinoa, just bring it to a boil, cover and turn down the heat to low, then let simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  It turns out that coconut quinoa is absolutely delicious.  The coconut flavor was subtle, but it made the quinoa sweet and fluffy.

While the quinoa was cooking, I measured 1 cup of frozen, shelled edamame and 1 cup of frozen corn into a bowl and set them aside to thaw a bit.  I diced 3 small carrots and 1/4 of a yellow onion (but red onion would have been more delicious) and threw them into the bowl.

Then, I mixed together a dressing using the juice of one lime, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, and salt and pepper to taste.

When my quinoa was cooked, I mixed it with the veggies.  The hot quinoa helped to warm up the frozen veggies (and the frozen veggies cooled down the quinoa).  Then, I tossed the mixture with the dressing.  Some fresh cilantro would have been a lovely garnish.

This was easy, colorful, and fresh.  It was the perfect thing to enjoy while I watched the premiere of season 2 of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

By the way, I am pretty much in love with Jamie Oliver:

He may not be vegan, but he IS adorable, and he is trying to bring fresh, healthy food to the masses.  The English accent doesn’t hurt either.

Anyway, back to the quinoa salad…

Quinoa: $1.2o

Coconut Milk: $0.65

Edamame: $1.33

Corn: $1.23

Carrots: $0.25

Onion: $0.22

Lime: $0.17

Olive oil: $0.78

Chili sauce: $0.03


It made 4 generous servings, so that comes to only:

$1.47 per serving!

The cold leftovers made great, easy lunches.

Cuckoo for Quinoa!

Quinoa Chili

“Cooking with quinoa at least once a week will elevate you to level 7 vegan in no time,” according to Isa Chandra Moskowitz in her must-have cookbook, Veganomicon (page 115).

There’s a reason that quinoa is so beloved by vegans and other health-conscious foodies, as well as by ancient Aztec warriors: it’s considered to be the only grain that is also a “complete protein.”  What that means is that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) in significant quantities.  In other words, it’s vegan gold.
Quinoa is an excellent value for a couple of reasons:
1.    The aforementioned protein, along with the good amount of fiber in quinoa make it a filling, satisfying food.
2.    It actually TRIPLES in size when you cook it!
WARNING: do be careful when shopping for quinoa; it’s easy to get ripped off.  You can easily spend $10-12 for a 26-oz. bag of Bob’s Red Mill-brand quinoa, while it’s only $3 a pound or so in the bulk bins a few aisles away.  Not everything is cheaper in the bulk bins, but quinoa always is (in my experience).

Another great thing about quinoa is its fun texture.  It’s actually a seed (hence the protein), and when you cook it, it pops open and forms a little spiral shape.  This texture was a perfect addition to the chili I made on a recent quiet, rainy, Saturday night at home.  It was the ultimate comfort food: hot and delicious, and very, very hearty:

You can (and should) get the recipe from Food.com:


Seriously…you know you want to…just look at this…

Really…you won’t miss the meat at all, thanks to good ol’ quinoa.
It cost about $10.44 to make, and it made enough for about 10 servings.  The leftovers are delicious; I froze some of them for easy lunches in the future.  …soooo in the end it came to about:


Let me know in the comments if you get around to trying it or if you have a favorite quinoa recipe.  Some time soon I will share David Lynch’s quinoa recipe.