As part of my “Picking My Battle: April” challenge, I decided to make 2 new vegetarian recipes each week. Every Monday and Wednesday, my husband and I make different things for dinner due to our different schedules, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to try out some new recipes I’ve always wanted to try, but can’t get D. to eat.
I started off this week with a Quinoa and Vegetable Stew, which is a recipe I found in the America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two 2012 magazine. It’s a fairly easy recipe, and one that only took me about 30 minutes to cook from start to finish.
Unfortunately, I can’t find a link online for this exact recipe*, but I’ll leave you with the original recipe that was posted on the USA Today website. It serves way more than two people, and includes a few ingredients that weren’t in the two-person version, but it’s pretty close. The recipe I used didn’t include the tomato, peas, or cilantro – beyond that, just halve everything. Oh, and I swapped out the red bell pepper for a yellow one. I don’t like red bell peppers, so I just went with one I do like, and it was fine.
One thing I found really helps when cooking a recipe for the first time is to get all of my ingredients out and ready before I start cooking. That way, I’m not scrambling to find/chop something while burning stuff in the pan (which happens to me more than you might think). Once I make something a few times, I get the timing down better to be able to work as I cook, but taking the extra time to prep my ingredients the first couple of times makes things a lot less stressful and hectic.
If you’ve never cooked with quinoa before, it’s worth trying – I think it tastes like rice, and is full of protein which is nice when eating vegetarian dishes! Just make sure that you rinse it fully before cooking (otherwise it can be bitter), and read the package to get an idea of how long to cook it.
While the soup itself is very flavorful, the toppings really made the dish for me. Something about the creaminess of the queso fresco and avocado helped balance out the smokiness of the paprika, cumin, and coriander. I think this soup would go well with pretty much anything you would use to top a taco, so next time I might try adding some tomato to it at the end for some acidity.
The finished product was so good! We had some leftover tortilla chips from making the Martha Stewart Bean, Corn, and Tortilla Salad the night before, so I just grabbed a small handful of those for a salty side dish. Even D. mentioned that he really liked the smell of it when he came home yesterday as I was finishing things up. He didn’t try it, but I think it’s something he would really enjoy…though I’m positive he’d ask to add chicken or pork to it. 🙂
*To be fair to America’s Test Kitchen, and to keep out of mad legal trouble, I won’t post the actual recipe I used because I can’t find it elsewhere online. If you want, you can order the magazine edition for $10 on their website, or modify the recipe I linked to – beyond that, it’s not my property to share, so I can’t. If I uphold my college students to a high standard of avoiding plagiarism, I have to model good behavior too!