Quinoa Porridge with Grilled Tomatoes and Garlic


I could eat this savory porridge everyday. Between the quinoa, rich in vegetable stock (and butter!), the rich flavor of blistered  cherry tomatoes, bright herbs, salty feta cheese tang, and crispy, fried garlic, this dish gives me everything in umami flavors, and diverse textures. I originally made this dish for a quick dinner, but I gladly ate it again for breakfast the next day, and then later for lunch…

Taken from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, but with a substitution of parsley and cilantro (because that’s what I had) for his mint. You can make thicken or thin this porridge to your liking simply by adjusting the amount of vegetable broth. Don’t skim on the oil or the butter – this dish needs fat to really make it sing!

Serves 4

  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • about 4 2/3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3½ oz  crumbled into ¾-inch/2-cm chunks
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 oz baby plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • salt and black pepper

Herb oil

  • 1 green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup mint leaves ( I used cilantro, instead)
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • salt


1. To make the herb oil, place the chile, parsley, mint, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and process to form a smooth sauce with a thick pouring consistency.

2. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, uncovered, for about25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until a porridge-like consistency is formed. You might need to add a bit more stock if the quinoa is sticking to the pan. At the very end, fold in the butter until it melts, followed by the parsley and then the feta, making sure the feta stays in chunks.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, place a large sauté pan over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice so that all sides get some good charred color. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, so that it turns golden brown without burning. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with¼ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Chop the mint and fold it into the tomatoes just before serving, as it will start to blacken once chopped.

4. Spoon the warm quinoa porridge into shallow bowls, top with the tomatoes, finish with a drizzle of the herb oil, and serve at once.

Miso Vegetables and Rice with Black Sesame Dressing


Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook, “Plenty More,” arrived yesterday. I confess – I preordered – and was so excited when it arrived at my door! This dish looked perfect for a night in where I was feeling “comfort food” with an Asian angle. The key to this recipe is to prepare all the vegetables ahead of time, because they each braise quickly in a miso, vegetarian dash broth. I chopped all of my vegetables ahead of time, and plated them for easy access.

IMG_0745    This dish also has a base of sushi rice. I had forgotten just how tender and sweet this rice can be, even without the added sugar and rice vinegar you often find in other recipes. Sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumber, and bok choy from my garden (instead of the broccolini from the recipe) and some beautiful organic beech mushrooms. Topped with fresh cilantro, chili, roasted peanuts, black sesame seeds and rice wine vinegar, this was a great dinner, and leftovers made a great lunch the next day!

Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

In the last year, I’ve been raving quite about about the grain, vegetable, and citrus zest-happy recipes from the “Simply Natural” cookbooks. As a recipe-referring cook at best, I was shocked to find a cookbook whose recipes I wanted to follow to the letter. Friends, it’s happened again. After reading rave reviews for Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi<;, I put it on my Amazon wish list, and my sister sent it to me for my recent birthday. Let’s just say WOW. You’ll be hearing a lot about this all-vegetarian cookbook on Veggicurious from here on out.

But lets get to the food. A fresh, sweet corn polenta? A revelation. I didn’t even know you could make polenta from fresh corn, and I have a bundle from my CSA. The resulting texture is lighter, fluffier, with a brighter vegetable flavor. Of course, the added butter and feta (feta!) add a real zing to the sweet corn. And the sauce? A very simple, fried eggplant (I used small, white eggplants) with tomato paste, fresh tomato, white wine and oregano. An Italian-style meal with no garlic? I thought impossible. I was wrong. I whipped this amazing dish up in 20 minutes. Then I moaned aloud as I ate it. I moaned to myself, to the animals, and to my housemate who I forced a bite upon as soon as he walked in the door.

This dish is like discovering a country in heaven that you didn’t know existed. I can’t wait to try more recipes from Plenty.