So, with food becoming an increasing focus of my life and this blog, I thought I’d start sharing some of the creations that I come up with on my Vege Adventures.
Going vegetarian has been a surprisingly steep learning curve in terms of the way we’ve cooked. It’s continued to be one because at the end of last year, we got lazy and ate a lot of take away. As I’ve mentioned before, we have excellent Mexican, Thai, pizza and Middle Eastern foods right on our doorstep, so the temptation to just not bother with cooking is pretty high.
As such, we’ve been fumbling in the dark a little with the whole balanced-vegetarian-dinner fandango. We’ve been cooking a lot of the things we used to make and just removing the meat – probably not that nutritious and definitely not that satisfying. Finding good food that is inherently vegetarian seems to be the way forward.
So, here is the first of my adventures. Please remember though, I am not a food blogger and I am most definitely not a food photographer. I’m not going to guarantee that my meals look pretty. I also cook in a pretty ad-hoc manner, so feel free to tweak anything you try! I make absolutely NO promises! These are just things that I have tried that have tasted good to us.
Firstly, acknowledgement – this is heavily based on this recipe from allrecipes.com.
A decent sized splash of olive oil – about 2 tbsp in total
1 large onion or 2 small onions, roughly chopped
Lots of garlic – I used about 4 or 5 cloves. That said, I adore garlic so you could definitely play with the quantity a bit!
1 cup/250g quinoa
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock
1 can black beans (rinse them off – they tend to be weirdly goo-covered)
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen or canned corn
Any other veges that take your fancy, also roughly chopped
Lashings of Cajun Spices (I use a pre-mixed one which is basically Cayenne Pepper, Sweet Paprika, Cumin, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano and Salt. I have all of these spices as well, but I know that the quantities in the pre-mixed one are accurate!)
Put about a tablespoon of the olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan. Throw in garlic and onion, cook until soft. Remove from heat (burnt garlic is not that tasty folks). Add quinoa to the pan, rattle it around in the oil for a bit until it’s lightly coated. Add vege stock, return to heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. It won’t look very pretty at this point (also, apparently my ability to cook and take iPhone photos at the same time sort of sucks – at least you’re getting pictures though!). Make sure to gently stir the quinoa every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.
In another pan, heat up the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add capsicum, black beans and your truckload of Cajun Spice, followed by the peas and frozen corn. There didn’t end up being any corn in our meal the other night – apparently the corn had suffered a little too much in the move between house freezers and had died a rather frosty death. You really can add just about any vegetables you like to this meal though – it’d also be good with mushrooms I think.
Keep stirring your vegies and quinoa until the beans and peas are heated through and the capsicum is cooked to your liking. Take the vegies off the heat if the quinoa is taking longer than anticipated to cook – soggy capsicum is a no no!
Once the quinoa is cooked through, mix in your Cajun-ified vegetables. Put in bowl, realise it looks sort of ugly. Serve. Enjoy! It’s super tasty!
If anyone has any other good veg recipes they’d like to share, they’d be gratefully received and experimented with. Just be warned though – David is a little afraid of tofu and lentils…