Has your family participated in Meatless Monday yet? Maybe you’re reluctant to because someone in your family thinks veggies are yucky. Or maybe you’re just perplexed on how to cook up a vegetarian dish that’s filling and will be liked by all family members. That’s why you have to check out the new cookbook by Suzanne Landry, The Passionate Vegetable. Her health inspired recipes promise to revitalize your life whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover.
You can tell that Suzanne is a health educator, because The Passionate Vegetable is as educational as it is inspirational. The cookbook includes a simple guide to food nutrition, suggestions for healthy vegetarian meals, transition recipes for the meat lover (love this!), and a guide to remaking your pantry to be healthier and vegetarian friendly. The Passionate Vegetable contains over 145 recipes including breakfasts, salads, soups, grains and bean dishes, and entries, as well as a chapter devoted to meat and healthy treats and desserts. It also features fantastic food photography for some but not all her recipes, unfortunately. Recipes I’m looking forward to making include Ratatouille over Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese.
With the weather getting warmer, I’m on the lookout for recipes that require a minimum of cooking and are more on the light side. This recipe from The Passionate Vegetable for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad fits the bill, since you can make it ahead of time in the morning when it’s cooler. Quinoa makes a terrific main dish since it’s an excellent source of vegetarian protein and it’s gluten free. Suzanne suggests adding leftover quinoa salad to scrambled eggs – just before the eggs set hard, add 1/4 cup and give it a stir. She likes this egg and quinoa salad dish for breakfast, but you could make it for lunch or dinner, too!
California Fiesta Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup tomato, chopped (1 medium tomato)
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped (1 stalk)
- 1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped (1 medium cucumber)
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (4 scallions)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata are the best!)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Place in boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed. Remove from pot into a large bowl and allow to cool before adding vegetables.
- Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch slabs and remove most of the seeds. Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½-inch cubes. This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces that won’t get mushy if the salad isn’t eaten right away.
- Cut celery by slicing down the rib in the center of the stalk. If the stalk is large you might want to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Slice cucumber lengthwise into 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop these strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans, and olives.
- Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together. Toss lightly with salad. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe and picture used with permission.