Quick Quinoa, Beans and Salsa

Biggest Bro created a long running dinner favorite in my household which consisted of brown rice, black beans, salsa & cottage cheese.  (This is incredibly fast and easy if you use leftover rice and canned beans.)  Both my fellas always liked this but when that dang doctor told Mr. Bigg Sis not to eat dairy anymore, this one fell off the radar.  (Actually we are very grateful to that doc because Mr. Bigg Sis is much healthier since we ditched the dairy…, but it DID get in the way of some of our fast favorite dishes!)

Now the Sis Sisters usually just replace, substitute, re-vamp and redundify ;-), but none of the vegan cheeses we have tried with this concoction brought the same level of enthusiasm… until now that is.  So I’m going to share one of those annoying recipes that gives you ingredients, but no amounts.  I am usually not irritating…. Okay, Little Sis reads this and I could be very irritating when we were children…. Okay, maybe not just then…. can we just move on from the irritating thing now?

I am giving you only ingredients because this is a “put out the ingredients and let each family member put together their own perfect combo” recipe.  I know my 15 year old loves this concept, and only requires a reminder that there does need to be a reasonable amount of veggies in his bowl.  I love it because it is a little easier for both clean up and preparation.

At any rate, Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook once the water boils, and in that time the rest of the ingredients were prepared and then – oh yum!


1) Cook quinoa according to package directions

2) Kale sauteed in olive oil, garlic and cumin seed
Get your clean kale greens ready (I used about 3 big handfulls)
Heat about 2 tsp of oil
Add a minced or pressed clove of garlic and 1/2 – 1 tsp cumin seed
Once garlic and cumin seeds are fragrant, add kale and stir
After kale looks darker green and shiny, add about 1/4 cup water and place cover on pan
to steam
Turn off heat


3) Offer vegan parmesan
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
Blitz these ingredients in the blender – don’t go too long or you will create seed butter!

4) Drain and rinse can of black beans (or kidney beans – or whatever beans you have)
Heat the beans up a little so they don’t cool everything else down.

5) Open containers of salsa 😉



We will be having this again… So easy and perfect on a busy night when you don’t want to spend much time cooking.

Tasting Asia in Raw Veggies

When last we spoke, I mentioned that I had gotten in a bit of a food rut – cooking the same things over and over.  Even if you like those dishes, few dishes can stand up to top 10 airplay for very long.  I tried to goose up my creativity and inspiration by checking out a few cookbooks from the library.

Last week I introduced you to The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time, a great book for those making the transition away from processed food, and for anyone who’s trying to cook for and convince others (especially those of the junior sized variety) to do the same.  Today, I want to re-introduce you to Ani Phyo, raw chef. This is admittedly my third time checking out Ms. Phyo’s book from the library; I have now reached the buy it for sure phase of our relationship. This visit with her book Ani’s Raw Food Asia: Easy East-West Fusion Recipes the Raw Food Way has sealed the deal.

We absolutely love Asian food profiles around here. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, it’s all good as far as we’re concerned.  Since this category of food tends to be a winner for us, it’s a good place to experiment more, to find a little joy just outside the edges of the familiar by using raw vegetables rather than stir frying them for an Asian inspired meal. Ani Phyo’s book provided fabulous guidance, and is packed with absolutely luscious food photography, if that kind of thing works for you (which it does for me).

IMG_0187I quickly assembled some ingredients and put some brown jasmine rice into the rice cooker and got to chopping. Lovely thing about marinated raw veggies? Once you’re done chopping, you’re really quite nearly done. And so with about 10 minutes of effort and then a wait (during which I did all manner of other stuff) on my part, we had a lovely and extremely nutritious delish Asian feast that I would happily make over and over and over again.

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What did we have? We had a couple of namuls. A namul is essentially a marinated raw vegetable dish that, in Korea, is traditionally served along with rice.  We chose a spinach namul, a mushroom namul, and I topped them off with some quick pickled carrots and green beans. Namuls usually contain copious raw veggies and sesame oil, some form of soy sauce, and some seasonings. The key with a namul is to let it sit long enough to let the veggies get tender. Specific measurements for a spinach namul are here.

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I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to be so happy with a less than piping hot meal during these days of unrelenting cold, but truthfully there was something kind of hopeful about eating all those great slightly crisp and flavorful veggies. Spring will come again. For now, let’s have some great and tasty raw veg.