Two Vegetarian Dishes, Oh My!

In this blog-post you will find F&W recipe variations of:

  1. Quinoa, bean and pepper salad.
  2. Roasted eggplant with tomatoes.

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Quinoa salad

INGREDIENTS

  • Quinoa (about half a cup was used)
  • Water (use about three times as many cups of water as quinoa)
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • One bell pepper, finely diced.
  • One can of black beans, rinsed.
  • Some pickled onions, diced
  • Some cilantro (more than just garnish)
  • Lime juice (used the stuff in a bottle)
  • Canola oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the quinoa essentially like rice–with the water, to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa has absorbed all the water, transfer it to a cookie sheet. Spread it out across the sheet and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Do the sous-chef-ing: chop the bell pepper, rinse the beans, etc.
  3. Take a large bowl. Start with a few tablespoons of canola oil and lime juice. Whip that with some salt and pepper to make a dressing. Pour the quinoa, beans, pepper, cilantro and onions into the bowl. Mix and serve.

This meal was surprisingly filling–this one small bowl was all I needed. The recipe would fill about six of these bowls. I had never worked with quinoa before, but I definitely think I will again. I thought it would have the consistency of couscous; however, I soon realized the step of spreading it across a cookie tray was necessary. It becomes very sticky very quickly, but not in a white-rice way. It feels more like caviar when you work with it–you can even see a sort of translucency in the picture.

Other note: I forget how much cilantro we used, though clearly it was more than just a garnish-worthy amount. Not sure I’d do that again. And not because of the price…it seemed to be too much herb for me and took away from some of the other yummy goodness.

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Eggplant and Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • One eggplant
  • One can of diced tomatoes (used a large, 26 ounce can), rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper (just a dash. Much less than the other herbs)
  • Paprika
  • Parsley (used the dried chopped)
  • Cilantro (enough for a garnish this time)
  • Lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Poke the eggplant a bunch of times with a fork. Drop it in a dutch-oven or similar cooking device. Keep on low-to-medium heat for approximately 40-60 minutes. You want the eggplant to be soft and the skin to be browned. May have to turn a few times for even cooking.
  2. Put the eggplant into a colander. Cut it and allow some of the excess juice to drain. Pull the pieces of the vegetable you want to use (i.e., NOT the skin and NOT the hard seed part), and throw it into a skillet.
  3. Put the olive oil, garlic and all herbs into the skillet with the eggplant. Mash the ingredients together.
  4. Put the skillet on medium heat and add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the water from the tomatoes and eggplant has evaporated. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice. Serve immediately.

This was more of a hit with my boyfriend than it was with me. Still, it’s a good vegetarian dish (hell, it’s really even vegan) to have in one’s repertoire. This recipe marked my first time working with eggplant, and I was surprised with how “tough” that vegetable was! After 40 minutes, my eggplant still was not soft in the middle. Regardless, it was a LITTLE therapeutic to (1) just drop the dang thing in a dutch-oven and (2) mash it up when it was done cooking (and, since I don’t have a potato masher I had to resort to using my meat tenderizer, adding to the therapy).

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