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Quinoa with stir-fry vegetables

A quick weeknight dinner that comes together in minutes, if you have quinoa and vegetables on hand.

Cook quinoa (I use one part to two parts water) as per instructions. Do a quick sauté of vegetables (I used baby bok choy and asparagus) and tofu (optional) in oil of your choice. Keep the veggies crunchy and bright. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

Optional seasonings: Bragg’s liquid aminos, toasted sesame oil, ginger oil, shallot oil.

Ruby Red Quinoa Salad

I always wish that I could post recipes here but I can’t claim to have any originals to my credit. I pick a recipe from a book/site, ensure that it meets my health/praana criteria, check if I can get hold of the ingredients, then make it my own. Tweak it a little, substitute ingredients, play with cook/bake time… and so on. Like this Ruby Red Quinoa Salad. Maria Speck’s Ancient Grains For Modern Meals has a recipe for Cumin-Scented Quinoa that uses beets. I thought it was a nifty little recipe, easy to prepare and healthy. But I use a fair bit of cumin in my cooking, so I wanted to change things up a little.

Ruby Red Quinoa Salad

Ruby Red Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup shredded beet
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cucumber (chopped into quarters)

1/4 cup Olive oil
2 teaspoons lime/lemon juice
A squirt (or two) of Agave nectar
1 teaspoon Ginger Oil
1/2 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos


  • Toast the quinoa in a pan until the seeds begin to pop. Add 2 cups of boiling water and salt to taste, cover with a lid, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, allowing the quinoa to cook.
  • As the quinoa cooks, a small ring is formed around each seed. You can sample a seed to confirm that the batch is cooked.
  • Add the shredded beet and carrots, mix, turn off the heat, cover. The remaining steam is sufficient to cook the beets and carrots.
  • Make a dressing by combining olive oil, lime/lemon juice, agave, ginger oil and Braggs liquid aminos. Whisk them together until a smooth emulsion is formed. Pour over the quinoa salad when it has cooled down.
  • Add the cucumber and toasted sunflower seeds.


  • Texture! Each time I say ‘texture’ with reference to food, P raises an eyebrow. Pretentious, you think? It is one of the things I learned after hours of watching Food Network. Anyway, this salad is a play of various textures. Crunchy sunflower seeds, soft quinoa, chewy beets and carrots… The first time I made the salad, I threw in some tofu. Added protein and yes, texture.
  • You can experiment with the ingredients in the dressing. When I made this salad earlier, I used olive oil, lime juice, dried basil and sumac. Random, I know! It tasted awesome, though. If you’d like it spicier, add a few drops of chili oil. Slivers of ginger would add a subtle sharpness as well. Chopped garlic, fresh rosemary, maple syrup, freshly ground pepper… the list is endless.
  • Leftovers taste even better as the flavors get a chance to “marry” (Food Network term!)
  • Toasted pine nuts would be a nice substitute, so also slivered almonds.
  • Fresh herbs would work great in here as well. Feel free to add fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro… whichever green your heart desires. Each one would grant the salad its own distinctive flavor.

Quinoa with Carrots, Onions and Pine Nuts

I seem to have gotten into the unfortunate habit of adding toasted pine nuts to everything I cook. Ok, that is an exaggeration, as you probably guessed already. Not everything I cook, certainly. But many dishes, yes. Yesterday’s lunch was another one of those random occasions.

I was feeling too lazy to cook anything but lunch had to be made. I rummaged in the fridge and found a bright bunch of carrots (picked up from Decatur Farmers Market) and remnants of an onion. Pine nuts? Yes, please.

Measured out half a cup of quinoa into a pan. Boiled water in my electric tea kettle, measured out one cup, added it to the quinoa, threw in some salt, turned up the heat.

Sliced the onion and chopped the carrots.

Toasted the pine nuts in a little metal (iron?) bowl, then sauteed the vegetables in the same bowl afterward. By this time, all water had been absorbed and the quinoa was cooked. Turned off the heat, added in the sauteed vegetables and toasted pine nuts.

Made a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, ginger oil, chili oil. Poured it over the quinoa and vegetables, tossed it all well together. Oh, I also added some Braggs liquid aminos, just a little bit.

How did it turn out? Pretty good, I thought. I shouldn’t have added the chili oil, it made the quinoa a tad too spicy. As I took the picture above, I remember thinking that I should have sauteed some greens and added them as well. Would have made a prettier picture!

And the toasted pine nuts? Added just the perfect crunch. As expensive as these lovely nuts are, it’s nice to have them in the freezer, if only for an occasional treat. I thought I had done a job cleaning up the table and the sides of the bowl but that one grain of quinoa managed to get away…