Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies

Since going vegan, I had not found a really good peanut butter cookie.  I tried the recipe from TJOVB, and didn’t love it, etc.  Recently, i found some  Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes, and on the back of the box was a little recipe for Crispy Quinoa Cookies.  I never thought this would also turn out to be a really good, gluten-free Peanut Butter cookie.  I took a bite, expecting more of a Middle Eastern or quinoa flavor, but no, it just tastes like a great little peanut butter cookie!  I switched out the honey and got lucky on the results.  These would be great to pack into lunch boxes, take on hikes and bikes, and are good enough to give as gifts.  Gluten Free and loaded with protein, but you’d never know.  I’d like to try making them as peanut-butter-and-jelly thumbprint cookies.

PEANUT BUTTER QUINOA COOKIES

Makes:  about 36 to 40 cookies

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Cup agave syrup
1/4 Cup real maple syrup
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup vegan butter (one stick of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1/2 Cup peanut butter (I like Maranatha No-Stir  or  O Organics No Stir)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup rice flour
3/4 Cup Quinoa Flakes (Ancient Harvest brand)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 Cup sliced almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, beat agave and maple syrups, brown sugar, vegan butter, peanut butter and vanilla, until creamy.    In a medium bowl, combine rice flours, quinoa flakes, baking soda and salt, and dry whisk.    Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until well blended.
If using, add nuts and mix just until incorporated.
Measure out rounded teaspoons and then flatten them slightly.  Place about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper).
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown (I found 13 minutes just right for my electric, non-convection oven).    Cool one minute before transferring cookies to rack.

Notes:  Cookies will firm up slightly once cooled.  I made them one time using 1/2 Mochiko flour and 1/2 brown rice flour, and they were good.  These cookies do not spread much, so that’s why I flatten the dough balls slightly before baking.

Coconut Curry Quinoa Stew

img_3152     I adapted this easy recipe from a little brochure that came with my bag of Ancient Harvest quinoa.  This stew by itself is good, but we felt it could use a little something more, so I put out mango chutney and shelled some salted pistachios, and once we garnished our bowls with those, it was more along the lines of very good.  This is a great one-pot meal, really, but if you serve it with some greens and a good bread, it’s a healthy feast.  Lots of protein, warm and comforting.   You could also put out some sriracha sauce for those who want it hot.   I just use whatever veggies I have in the house sometimes–it’s flexible like that.  Some cornbread or a fruity quick bread would be a great accompaniment, or could serve as dessert.  I served it with steamed kale on the side, too.

COCONUT CURRY QUINOA STEW

Serves 6 to 8  (recipe said it serves 4 but it makes a lot)

INGREDIENTS
1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil  (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
1 small zucchini or summer squash, chopped
2 celery stalks chopped small  (optional)
1 yellow or red bell pepper diced
1.5 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ Cup uncooked quinoa
1.5 Cups water
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cinnamon stick,  or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Cup cooked kidney beans  (I use one 15 oz. can drained)
14 oz. can light coconut milk
If fresh corn is available, kernels from 2 to 3 ears, added in at last minute
Fresh parsley and/or cilantro for garnish
Chutney for topping (stir it up so it’s a little soupy for drizzling)
salted pistachio nuts, shelled, for topping

DIRECTIONS
Chop vegetables.   Heat oil in a heavy-bottom soup pot or Dutch oven, on medium heat.
Add all vegetables and stir occasionally, for 5 minutes.   Add ground spices to vegetables and mix in.    Add quinoa to the pot and stir.    Add water, salt, cinnamon, beans and coconut milk.    Simmer until quinoa drinks up the liquid and vegetables are soft, 15-20 minutes.    Remove cinnamon stick if using.

Put out chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, plenty of shelled pistachios and a sweet chutney for drizzling, and let everyone garnish their own dish however they like.  It’s good to remember that cilantro is an acquired taste for some.  This stew will thicken as it sits.

Note:  I like Patak’s Chutney (found in many grocery stores) and there are different flavors, such as sweet mango or hot mango.

Quinoa Cereal

Here’s another great idea for breakfast; quinoa cereal.  Quinoa (keenwah)  is an ancient, whole grain that can be mixed and matched into many dishes (stuffings, salads, pilaf); or substituted for rice, pasta, bulghur, etc.  It’s gluten free, if that’s your thing, and so you could make quinoa tabouleh, for example.  Quinoa’s also a low-glycemic-index food, and provides all 8 of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.  And of course, it tastes great. This is easy to make in the morning while you’re having your tea, doing the crossword, doing dishes or making lunches, etc.

Quinoa Cereal 

Serves 1.   Double recipe for 2 or 3 people.

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup plant milk, such as WestSoy Organic Unsweetened
1/2 Cup pre-washed or rinsed quinoa, such as truRoots organic
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (or maple syrup, agave, date sugar, brown rice syrup, etc.)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup fresh fruit (sky’s the limit)
or a tablespoon or two of dried fruit
and a Tablespoon or two of raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)

DIRECTIONS
If it is not pre-washed, then rinse quinoa.  Many are already pre-washed.
Add quinoa and plant milk into a 1 quart or 1.5 quart pot.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and cover the pot.
Simmer, covered, until ¾ of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Stir in sugar and cinnamon (you could also add your dried fruit here).
Cook covered until almost all of the milk has been absorbed, about 10 more minutes.
I have a glass-top electric stove (not gas), so just watch it.
Stir in fresh fruit, or dried fruit, and nuts.
You can serve with additional plant milk, nuts, cinnamon and fruit.

There’s a little trick to knowing that quinoa is fully cooked, and here’s a quote from the truRoots web site:  The pale ivory seeds cook to translucent little orbs ringed with a tiny white germ thread.

Here’s an optional step for sprouting the quinoa.  If you’ve got a couple of minutes at night, and think of it, you can measure the quinoa into the pot, and just cover it with water overnight.  The next morning, dump the quinoa into a very fine sieve and rinse with clean water before preparing as usual.  I have not tried this yet and do not know how it affects cooking time.

Perfect Vegetable Chili with Quinoa

This is a VegWeb recipe.  For anyone who isn’t familiar with VegWeb, it’s a free online resource of vegans and vegetarians who post and review recipes.   This Vegetable Chili with Quinoa also has a can of refried beans in it.  The original recipe is very good and very mild.  I had to bump up the heat a bit.  Here below is my twist on it.  You can throw in whatever you have on hand, and if you don’t have something, don’t worry about it.  This makes a ton, at least 10 servings, so you’ll be able to freeze a bunch or serve a lot of people.  I tried to cut the carrots very finely but they were still a bit too firm, so next time, I would put the carrots in a food processor, or grate them by hand.  I served it with fresh sliced avocados, fresh chopped cilantro, vegan sour cream and corn bread muffins.  It would also be good with corn chips when watching the football game  I can’t even IMAGINE the staggering amount of protein and vitamins in this!

VEGETABLE CHILI WITH QUINOA

Makes:  10-12 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 Tablespoon oil and 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 carrots, grated by hand or in food processor
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
2 teaspoons cumin
2 Tablespoons chili powder
3 cloves garlic, pressed, or crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I used tomato puree this time)
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can refried beans (make sure they’re vegan)
1 Cup quinoa
1 to 2 Cups vegetable broth (try one cup and then add if needed)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)
avocados (garnish)
fresh cilantro, chopped (garnish)
Tofutti Sour Cream (garnish)

DIRECTIONS
Heat oil and Earth Balance in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat.
Saute onions, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper and garlic, and saute until fragrant, about one minute.
Add tomatoes (or tomato puree) and cook one minute.
Stir in refried beans and stir well to fully incorporate.
Add drained and rinsed black beans.
Bring to a simmer, then stir in broth and quinoa (you may not wish to add all of the broth).
Cook over medium heat until quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper, cayenne (don’t add salt until now).
If desired, add turmeric and nutritional yeast.
Serve piping hot with Tofutti Sour Cream, fresh chopped cilantro and freshly sliced avocados.  Corn bread is also good with this.  This tastes even better the next day.

Note:  This is a mild chili, so you may wish to put a bottle of hot sriracha sauce or a little can of jalapenos on the table.  p.s.  If you want a healthier corn bread,  here’s a different corn bread.

Kale Quinoa Salad with Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

This salad is so delicious and pretty and healthy; packed with fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, etc.  Kale is lower in oxalates than spinach, making the calcium it supplies easily absorbed.  Kale is one of the Dirty Dozen, so it’s important to buy organic.  Of course, the vinaigrette could be used on lots of other salads or even cold steamed vegetables, such as beets or green beans, etc.  And it’s flexible; you can use whatever vinegars or whatever you have in the house.  However, I think the spices and ingredients lend themselves to paler vinegars, as opposed to dark heavy ones.  To save time, I toasted the almonds and made the dressing the day before.  I washed and spun the kale, and made the quinoa in the morning, and it was a snap come dinner time; I just had to do the chiffonade.  p.s.  Keep in mind that you will only use 6 tablespoons or so of the vinaigrette, for two people.  You will have leftovers if only making salad for two people.  I’ll just make more salad tomorrow, and use any leftover kale in the juicer.
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Kale Quinoa Salad with Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
1/4 C of dried cherries, chopped coarsely, rehydrated with water for 15 minutes, and then drained.
3 cups chiffonaded fresh, raw organic kale, rinsed, spun-dry and chilled
1 C cooked quinoa, chilled or room temperature
1 or 2 ounces of sliced almonds, toasted

For the Vinaigrette:
juice of one lime
3 T sherry wine vinegar
2 tsps fig-infused white balsamic vinegar, such as Alessi brand (inexpensive and available in my local grocery stores) (or any white balsamic)
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 1/4 tsp, to taste)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp curry powder

Whisk vinegars together in a medium bowl.
Slowly whisk in each of the oils.
Whisk or froth in all seasonings and spices.
Chill in a glass jar.
When you remove it from the fridge, whisk or froth again, and it will hold together better once chilled.

Toast sliced almonds under the broiler for a few minutes (watch closely).

Plunge organic raw kale in cold water and swish, and let drain.  If you have a salad spinner, spin it dry.  Dressing will cling a bit better if it’s dryYou can also put the kale in a clean cotton pillow case and swing it dry.

To chiffonade the kale, cut the thicker parts of the ribs out of kale with a sharp knife.  Then stack and roll kale leaves and slice thinly, so you wind up with thin ribbons of kale.

Note:  I think dried cranberries would also be good in this.