February 20, 2012

Recipe: Quinoa, Chickpea and Spinach Dish

My pilaf, with the addition of spinach.
I write a lot about the virtues of the Amy's brand in this blog -- especially the low sodium line.  But, more often, I bring my own lunch to work.  Discovering and preparing tasty dishes to pack along is fun -- I often make dishes specifically for their portability and freeze-ability (nothing like a few extra containers on hand to make life easier!).  And, making my own lunches means I can control exactly what goes in them, veg-wise, sodium-wise, and GERD-friendly wise!

One of my favorite recipes is a quick Quinoa, Chickpea and Spinach pilaf recipe I adapted from a friend's adaptation of the Veganomicon's Quinoa and Chickpea Pilaf recipe.   I omit salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander, use water instead of vegetable broth, and add frozen spinach.   This may sound bland, but my palate has become accustomed to "less is more" cooking.   I find this pilaf pairs very well with my cranky gut!   See the original recipe on Where the Veggies Are's blog.


This one-pot recipe is a breeze to make and freezes exceptionally well -- perfect for homemade "frozen meals" for the workplace microwave.  

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely 
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed 
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
1 cup frozen spinach (less or more to taste)

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil for 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2.  Add the tomato paste; saute for 1 minute.
3.  Add the quinoa and saute for 2 minutes.
4.  Add the chickpeas and water; cover and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat to very low, cover, and cook.
5. After 15 minutes, add a cup of frozen spinach (no need to thaw!) and stir well.
6. Cook for an additional three minutes (18 minutes total is recommended) or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water.  Stir occasionally.  This sometimes takes me longer than 18 minutes and I've added more water if the quinoa seems tough.
5.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

This recipe is popular around the web, and other interesting additions suggested include broccoli, yellow peppers, or cilantro.  I imagine cooked kale would go well with this, too.  

A note on the politics of quinoa:  I've been torn about my consumption of quinoa after learning how the Western quinoa craze in recent years has negatively impacted local Bolivian consumption.  I was thrilled to come across the AlterEco brand in Whole Foods the other day -- a fair trade version that keeps Bolivians employed and with access to this excellent food.   

My pilaf, packed and ready to go.

Here is an example of my typical "throw together leftover veggies, add edamame, and go."  This is a hodgepodge of frozen butternut squash chunks, roasted cauliflower, roasted onion, chopped parsley, and frozen edamame.  I lightly drizzled with olive oil and microwaved at work, to achieve this yummy result:
Edamame and leftover vegetables -- quick and tasty!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why my typeface for this post is so...off. I'll fix it at some point, but for now, the content is fine!