Last fall my husband decided that he wanted to take vegetarianism a step further and become a vegan. (That means no eggs or dairy in addition to no meat.) I really tried to be supportive, and bought a book that he had recommended to him, but the recipes it had generally called for ingredients that I couldn’t find and many ingredients that I wasn’t allowed to eat anyway (
because my baby had terrible reflux, and one of these days I’ll get around to writing about that debacle). So after a couple months we gave up. For Christmas my friend gave us a copy of Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero and I recently got around to reading the whole thing. I love this book. Even if you’re not ready to take the plunge into full-out veganism it give lots of delicious ideas and recipes for just eating more vegetables and hearty grains. (Think- great resource when you get some random vegetable in your produce co-op basket that you have yet to successfully turn into something that your family will eat.) I love that it has many recipes that are not based on highly processed soy products. And for the most part they call for ingredients that I am familiar with! It made me feel like vegan eating just might be a possibility. It also has multiple color photos, which are always nice. Plus they have amusing and quirky commentary for their recipes. Most of the recipes are pretty involved, however there are also many that are pretty quick and simple. The facts of life are that often good-tasting healthy food just requires a lot of work. Now obviously being the mother of three small children I have not had the time to try every recipe in this book, but everyone that I have tried has been good. (And there are several more that I want to try when I feel like cooking again. When it is 108 (+) outside the oven stays off.) I’ve tried the Sun-dried Tomato Dip, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango, Herb-Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Portobellos, Chickpea Cutlets with Mustard Sauce, Black Beans in Chipotle Adobo Sauce, Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry, and Almond Quinoa Muffins. High on my list to try are: Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies, Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake, Scallion Flatbread, Baja Tempeh Tacos, Chipotle Vegetable Tamales and Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms. The recipe I decided to share here is the Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry. Unlike some vegetarian fare, this meal is delicious and satisfying. If you love fresh pineapple, you really should try this. When I made this I thought ‘This is awesome. I would feel totally comfortable serving this to company, even of the omnivore persuasion. That is if I can stop my husband and myself from inhaling it ourselves.’
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
4 oz cashews, raw and unsalted
3 tablespoon canola oil
2 scallions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red hot chile, sliced into very thin rounds
1/2″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen peas or edamame
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin shreds
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 cups fresh pineapple cut into bite-size chunks
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1. Prepare quinoa first, which can be done up to a couple of days ahead of time. 2. Combine quinoa, juice, water and soy sauce in a medium sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil. 3. Stir a few times and cook on low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed. (12-14 minutes) 4. Uncover, fluff and cool.
5. In a very large dry skillet (at least 11″) or a wok, toast cashews over low heat for 4-5 minutes. 6. Remove cashews, increase heat to medium and saute garlic, scallions and oil. 7. When garlic starts to sizzle, add pepper and ginger. 8. Stir-fry for 2 minutes then add bell pepper and peas/edameme 9. Stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes, until pepper is softened and peas are bright green. 10. Add basil and mint and stir for a minute before adding quinoa. 11. In a measuring cup combine soy sauce, vegetable stock and lime juice. 12. Pour over quinoa mixture. Incorporate completely. 13. Stir-fry for another 10-14 minutes until quinoa is very hot.
Notes: You can make the quinoa with just water instead of the pineapple juice, it’s just really good with the pineapple juice. Making this goes smoother if you have all of your produce and spices chopped and ready to go before stir-frying. I used edamame instead of peas and I think that it added to the heartiness of the meal to have a little extra protein in there.