Quinoa Puttanesca

Capers and olives are two of my favorite things. So, naturally I’m a fan of pasta puttanesca. Last week I was looking for a super fast recipe I could pull together for Ian and I to eat for dinner. I found this recipe on Post Punk Kitchen for a gluten free version of pasta puttanesca that uses quinoa in place of pasta. Other than canned tomatoes, there are no veggies in the recipe, which seemed boring and not super healthy. I added broccoli and spinach. The recipe calls for A LOT of capers (1/2 cup!). We only had 1/4 cup so that’s what I added. Even with the added veggies, the dish was way too salty. There’s no added salt in the sauce, but with the olives and capers, plus the salt in the canned tomatoes, it was too much. I ended up adding chickpeas to tone down the salt, which helped a lot. Ian said the dish was better once he added unsalted fried egg. We also ran out of sauce long before we ran out of quinoa.

This a super fast weeknight, clean out the fridge kind of dish. It’s so fat and easy, that I’d try making my own version of it again, with a lot of modifications. I increase the sauce to account for the quinoa/sauce ratio, add veggies and fresh herbs, and omit the wine (I’m not convinced it did anything). Here’s the recipe I’ll try next time. I’ll report back once I do. If you try it before me, let me know how it goes!

1 cup dry quinoa (3 cups cooked)

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil (1 1/2 if making low fodmap)

3 cloves garlic, chopped (or sliced if you’re making low fodmap)

2 sprigs fresh thyme (use 1 tsp dry if you don’t have fresh)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (use 1 tsp dry if you don’t have fresh)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

generous pinch each tarragon and marjoram (optional)

1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped (sliced in half is great)

1/4 cup capers

38 (ish) ounces canned UNSALTED crushed tomatoes

2 cups broccoli florets (or other veggies like zucchini, bell pepper, or mushroom)

3 cups spinach (or other leafy green such as kale)

fresh black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Combine quinoa and two cups water in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
  2. Turn quinoa down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat a deep pan or mid sized pot over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and stir for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic (if making low fodmap, cook garlic for 5-10 minutes on low and remove garlic)
  4. Add olives, capers, chickpeas, herbs, spices, and tomatoes. Cook for about 9 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add spinach. Cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat. Add pepper and parsley.
  8. Serve sauce over quinoa.

One-Pot Turmeric Coconut Rice With Collards

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from New York times, but I made a lot of changes to the flavor profile and the greens and also made it low fodmap. This was possibly the best rice dish I have ever made. So so good, super easy, and all in one pot. A great weeknight dish. It also keeps really well for leftovers. Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups long-grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati (I used white basmati)
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 bunch wild onion or scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (I used the wild onion that grows in my yard)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp grated fresh tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1(14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 strands of saffron
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 bunches collard greens
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separate)
  1. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium pot or Dutch oven, toast the coconut and sesame seeds over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.) Transfer to a small bowl.
  3. In the same pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-low. Add the scallion whites and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until as dark as possible without being burned (4-8 minutes)
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and scallions (If you don’t need this to be low fodmap you can skip steps 3 and 4 and just add the scallions and garlic in with the coconut oil in step 5)
  5. Add the ginger and fresh tumeric to the oil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the ginger is cooking, bloom the saffron in small bowl of very hot water.
  7. Add the dry tumeric and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1-2 minutes
  8. Add the rice and stir together. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the coconut milk, saffron with its water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fill the empty can of coconut milk with water and add it to the pot. Give the mixture a good stir to separate any lumps and bring to a boil over medium-high.
  10. Once boiling, cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. As rice cooks, remove and discard the tough stems of the collards. Cut or tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.
  12. When the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, arrange the greens on top of the rice in an even layer and add final 1/2 tsp salt.
  13. Cover, and cook until the rice is tender, 5 more minutes. In the last minute of cooking, stir in the lime zest.
  14. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes.
  15. Stir in lime juice, coconut-sesame mixture, and the scallion greens.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

In my second attempt to make my own desserts, I decided to try a no-bake cookie recipe. I started with this recipe but made a ton of changes. The result was pretty yummy. It makes about 40 cookies that are 100 calories each. Not a bad treat.

1 cup sugar

1/2 butter or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but I think any vegan milk would work fine)

4 1/2 cup oats

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, milk, and oats in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring constantly for 20 minutes
  2. Stir in cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract
  4. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cuban Black Beans

In college I lived in an apartment with my two best friends. We cooked a lot. One of my roommates, Ellen, shared this recipe for her mother’s favorite Cuban black beans with me. The recipe came from one of her mother’s cookbooks. Creamy, sour, and a tad sweet, it quickly became one of my favorites as well. But I never got a copy of the recipe from Ellen and for years afterwards I couldn’t make it. Finally, recently I got a photo of the recipe from Ellen and went about making it once again. It didn’t disappoint.

Below is the version I make. I have greatly reduced the oil (the original recipe calls for 2 cups!) and also left out the pimentos, which are called for in the original recipe but which I never have around. I’ve also changed the steps around a bit and shortened cooking times to simplify things.

Be aware! This recipe make 12-16 servings. If you don’t want that much beans, consider halving the recipe. However, it does freeze well.

2 1/4 cups dry black beans, cooked (or 3 cans) (keep the liquid)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups green bell pepper, chopped

3 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup white vinegar

  1. Blend bell pepper and onions in a food processor until they are finely ground
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot
  3. Once oil is hot, add the pepper onion mixture and sauté it for 8 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is sautéing, blend 1 cup of the beans in the food processor
  5. Add the whole and blended beans, sugar, and salt to the pot, gently stir
  6. Simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the vinegar