One of my favorite things to do as the weekend draws to a close is make a stew or other hearty fare that will give me a few meals throughout the week. Since I’m still trying to make amends for my holiday indulgences, I decided to make something meat-free and full of ‘plants’ (a la Mark Bittman, or Michael Pollan – whichever you prefer). In truth, this isn’t something I would prepare for friends – it’s just a solid dish that will get me through the week (plus, I was trying to clean out the fridge).
If this were one of those ‘How to Live Frugally’ blogs I’d tally the cost of the ingredients, but it’s not, and I’m lazy, so take my word for it: this dish is also cheap as hell.
This recipe can be made in about an hour, and requires little supervision. Feel free to make alterations to your likings (suggestion: swap brown rice for quinoa if you don’t like the flavor of that grain, or small red beans for the lentils).
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup yellow split peas
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable broth
- 28 oz. can plum tomatoes
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 4 oz. baby portobello mushrooms
- 1/4 head of cabbage (~1/2 lb)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 cup red wine of your choice (I used a Cab Sav) for deglazing – optional
- Start by soaking your quinoa if you haven’t bought a pre-washed variety. (It’s important to soak quinoa to remove the saponins that can make the cooked product bitter, as well as give you digestive woes). Chop the onion, carrots, and celery (mirepoix) and begin sauteing your aromatics in 2 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. When the onions are translucent, add the chopped mushrooms & garlic and continue sauteing as you chop the remaining vegetables. Deglaze the pot with your wine – alternatively, you may do this with water, or any other liquid of your choosing.
- Add the cabbage, split peas, and lentils (which you’ve washed and surveyed for sand, rocks and critters). Next, add the vegetable broth and canned tomatoes (note: you can use diced or crushed varieties if you don’t want large chunks of tomatoes in the finished product). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and add your spices.
- Finally, add the quinoa, zucchini and 2-3 cups of water – bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes. The qunioa and zucchini are added last because they can easily overcook. You’ll know the quinoa is cooked & tender when the grains turn from white to translucent and the spiral-like germ pops off. Salt to taste and make any final flavor adjustments before serving. Grated cheese is a great finishing touch.
Since this is a great opportunity to introduce you to one of my favorite sites, Nutrition Data, I’ll use this recipe as an example in my next post.
Update: See an example of Nutrition Data’s report for this recipe.