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 I originally made this dish for a quick dinner, but I gladly ate it again for breakfast the next day, and then later for lunch…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.


Happy Hour at Adsum

I was kindly invited to Adsum for a happy hour debuting their new menu. While they have been on my radar for quite some time, I’ve been disappointed by their entire lack of vegetarian dishes, and have been ignoring them out of spite. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary!

I started the evening off with a dirty (filthy) martini, smartly served. Then moved on to the pickled vegetables, and the house made potato chips.

Quinoa salad with thin slivers of radish, cucumber, basil and red onion is more of a light meal than a snack, but fresh and with a bright flavor.

I could have skipped the truffled mushroom, drooping without inspiration on crisp rice cracker, along with the predictable edamame, but overall, the vegetarian selections pleased me. Not only does Adsum have a very affordable happy hour, the new menu also features a slew of vegetarian and vegan dishes. If, like me, you had turned away in frustration, now is the time to give Adsum another chance.

Little Quinoa Patties

I introduced my roommate to quinoa, and to these little quinoa patties for “Super Natural Everyday,” just a few weeks ago, and man, is he obsessed. So obsessed that there is always quinoa in the refrigerator, that he has ordered quinoa in bulk, and that these little patties make an appearance at least once a week. It’s true, they’re so delicious its hard NOT to make them all the time.

This recipe is a great way to use left-over quinoa, so make a double-batch next time and leave the rest in the fridge for later in the week. Salt, a beaten egg, garlic, and any kind of chopped vegetables that you have around (I think the above patties have lots of brussel sprouts in them), squeezed all together and fried in a skillet. Thought the cookbook calls these a “snack,” we’re more likely to make them larger, burger-size, and eat them alongside a fresh salad for lunch or a quick dinner. They would also be great as a veggie burger, but with the complete protein/carbohydrate package of quinoa, you don’t really need the bun!

Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad
Summer Quinoa Salad

Lately I’ve been loving cold grain salads with fresh vegetables. For this salad I boiled some of the red Incan Quinoa that I like, and added to it fresh heirloom tomatoes, green pepper and corn cut right off the cob. Just a dash of olive oil and some fresh lime juice, and this became a delicious cold salad full of grains, proteins and vegetables. The recipe was loosely based on that of the “stoplight salad” (red, yellow and green vegetables – get it?) from Simply in Season, which I’ve been turning to lately when trying to figure out how to quickly use as many seasonal vegetables as I can.

Southwestern Quinoa Soup

Quinoa, roasted corn, and avocado soup
Quinoa, roasted corn, and avocado soup

Always in search of new ways to use quinoa, I’ve run across a few ways to combine quinoa, corn, and avocado in a soup. Here’s my version, which turned out quite tasty, and with a little kick! Leftovers made great lunch all week – just add the avocado at the last minute, or mash it into the soup if you’ll be eating it later in the week.

Southwestern Quinoa Soup
serves 4

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 cup of quinoa (I often use red, but white works fine)
1 tsp. salt
4 cups of vegetable stock, homemade is best
1 large, dried chipotle pepper
1 cup or roasted corn, frozen of fresh
1 Tbs. of your favorite hot sauce (I used sriracha)
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
handful of greens (I used baby arugula this time)
pepper to taste
1 avocado, sliced and salted
1 lime, quartered

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry until the onion is soft, and the garlic is lightly browned. Add the cumin, stirring to coat the onion. Add the vegetable stock, quinoa, dried chili and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and keep covered, until the quinoa softens and sprouts “tails” – about 12 minutes. Stir in the roasted corn, greens, hot sauce, and cilantro, stir, and heat through. Remove the soup from heat and ladle it into four bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1/4 of the avocado, sliced, fresh cilantro, a wedge of lime, and black pepper.

Carrots and Zucchini with cumin
Carrots and Zucchini with cumin

I had some leftover carrots and zucchini, so I lightly steamed the carrots and gave them both a toss in the skillet with a tad of olive oil, salt, and a generous pinch of cumin.

Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed

Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed
Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed

I love roasted peppers, and goat cheese, and really, everything in this dish. It is based on a this recipe from the March issue of Body & Soul magazine  – finally they focused on vegetarianism as a way to live “greener!”  As is my way, I changed a few things. First, I didn’t read the recipe very carefully, and halved the peppers before I realized I was supposed to roast them whole, then slit and stuff them. Oh well. Different aesthetic, same flavor. I also substituted 4-pepper soft goat cheese for the goat feta, black beans for the black soy beans, red incan quionoa for the white quinoa, a whole dried ancho pepper with the Tbs. of chipotle (I’m not a big chipotle fan), and poured the sauce over top everything, instead of at the bottom of the pan and under the peppers. That said, it was delicious!

Salad with toasted pumpkin seed dressing
Salad with toasted pumpkin seed dressing

I served the roasted  poblanos with a simple side salad of red leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a toasted pumpkin seed dressing I found on epicurious.com. I reduced the oil significantly, and while the flavor was top-notch, Senor Lanky grumbled a bit because it was chunkier, and therefor didn’t spread as well throughout the salad.

Roasted Poblanos, casserole-style
Roasted Poblanos, casserole-style

Yum.  You can see all the choppped cilantro from the sauce, nestled on top.

Quinoa Stir-Fry with Pineapple and Cashews

Quinoa, Pineapple and Cashew stirfry from <em>Veganomicon</em>
Quinoa, Pineapple and Cashew stirfry from Veganomicon

I’ve been tempted to make this quinoa stir-fry from Veganomican for a long time, but it’s rare that I have pineapple, cashews,  fresh red pepper and basil, and green onions in my house at the same time. A little advance planning, and viola! Senor Lanky was a bit concerned about the sweet and the savory (we both tend to avoid that combination) but the extra garlic and thai chilis I threw into this stir-fry pushed it over the top, and I was very excited to eat the leftovers for lunch today.

Stirfry additions
Stir-fry additions

Look at all these lovely additions! Scallions, garlic, ginger, edamame, and fresh basil. Yum! Some soy sauce, thai chilis, peanut oil and rice wine added to this South East Asian flavor combo.

Frying in the wok
Frying in the wok

I used red Incan quiona for this stir-fry, which is extra pretty. Because  quinoa is a perfect food – protien, carbs and fats! – and I added the cashews and edamame, this was a complete meal with th3e additional fruits and veggies. I bought this Ikea wok for my first post-college apartment in Humbolt Park almost 6 years ago. It was probably $15. And it still work perfectly. I keep it “seasoned” by not washing it so well.