Mixed Grains Risotto With Kale, Walnuts and Black Quinoa

The idea of this recipe for a risotto that mixed arborio rice and quinoa, was intriguing to me. I liked that the picture in the New York Times showed the dish with broth pooling in the bottom. I messed up the instructions on this dish. I made it like regular risotto, waiting until each 1/2 cup of broth was absorbed before adding another. The recipe instructions actually go by time instead of the traditional method. As a result, I didn’t end up with much broth at the end. The picture makes it look like this is mostly rice with a little quinoa. My dish ended up the other way around, I’m not sure why. The flavor of this was fine and I like the addition of the walnuts, but it wasn’t particularly exciting and I thought there was too much quinoa.


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.

Chinese Broccoli in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

After 6 months had passed on my one-year lease of The Veggies Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Kwoklyn Wan without me trying a single recipe, I picked out this recipe for Chinese Broccoli in Garlic Ginger Sauce on page 40 to accompany Crispy Tofu with Spring Onions. The recipe is easy and super fast (20 minutes tops).

I used conventional American broccoli since I didn’t have any Chinese broccoli on hand and added some asparagus from my garden as well. The asparagus wasn’t a perfect fit, but it was fine in the dish. I’m sure Chinese broccoli would have been even better, but conventional broccoli was good too. If I hadn’t added the asparagus, the recipe would have been low fodmap since I swapped the garlic for garlic oil.

This dish is super flavorful and would be great if you have broccoli and ginger in the house and not much time or energy to make dinner. It would also be great when you were just in the mood for some great Chinese broccoli. My one complaint about the dish was that it didn’t make enough. I’d definitely double it next time at least. I could have eaten so much of this.

Crispy Tofu with Spring Onions

I borrowed The Veggie Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Kwoklyn Wan from one of my family members when I was back in Texas last August. By March, I still hadn’t made a single recipe. I decided to buckle down and find some dishes to make. I chose this recipe for Crispy Tofu with Spring Onions on page 65, along with Chinese Broccoli in Garlic and Ginger Sauce. I used true spring onions from my yard and to make it low fodmap, I fried the white parts in oil ahead of making the dish and then included just the green parts in the finished dish. The recipe calls for 2 tsp of chile bean paste. I used 1/4 tsp of Gochujang. The spice didn’t really come through. Next time I’d use 1/2 tsp. I also used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil, since I don’t keep peanut oil around.

This is an easy, fast weeknight dish. The longest part was cleaning and cutting the spring onions, which would have been way faster if I hadn’t used the onions from my yard, which are very diverse in size and much smaller overall than what you’d get at the store. Be warned, this recipe calls for 10 ounces of spring onion, which is A LOT. It doesn’t sound like so much until you consider how light these veggies truly are.

Overall, I liked this dish. It was easy to make and was a great dish to use all the spring onions in my yard when I’m short on other veggies in the house. I’m sure it would have been better with the white par of the onion included, but I still enjoyed it just with the green parts. I’ll keep this in my back pocket for when I’m in a dinner pinch and in the mood for Chinese.

Vegan Caldo Verde

I’ve had caldo verde on my list of dishes to try for a while. I recently found myself with extra collards during an especially cold March week. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try this recipe for Caldo Verde from the New York Times. The recipe is not vegan, but was easily made so by swapping the sausage for my favorite vegan sausage and the chicken broth for homemade veggie broth.

The ingredient list is short and the recipe was easy and quick to make. It would make a great weeknight dish. The whole thing was done in 30 minutes. The recipe said to cook the potatoes for 25 minutes, but mine were done in 15.

Even with the list of flavorings pretty limited (garlic, onion, broth), the soup was plenty flavorful. I made the soup by using onion and garlic oil instead of whole garlic and onion. I’m sure the dish would have been even better with the onion and garlic left in. I do think the dish would have benefited from a little more liquid. Next time I’d add an extra cup of broth. The recipe said to use 3-5 ounces of sausage. I used five and it was too much. Next time I’d use 3-4. Also, the vegan sausage became a bit water logged after I added it to the soup. Next time I’d keep it separate and just add the pieces each time I ate it.


Sesame Tofu with Coconut Lime Dressing and Spinach

Spinach and tofu aren’t ingredients I frequently put together, so I was intrigued when I found this recipe for sesame-crusted tofu over a bed of cooked spinach. The recipe was pretty easy to make, and didn’t take too long. The coconut dressing and cooked spinach were delicious. I used doubanjiang instead of sambal olek. The recipe called for 2 tbsp sambal olek. I used about 1/3 tsp of doubanjiang and thought that was just right. I’m pretty sure I cut the oil in the dressing and I’m sure I cut the oil in the frying, but I’m not sure by how much.

There were major issues with the tofu portion of the recipe. There was at least double the sesame-panko mixture as was actually needed. The recipe makes a whole cup to coat 1 block of tofu!! There was also at least double the egg yolk mixture as well. Since the tofu is dipped in egg yolk instead of soy sauce (as with my mother’s baked tofu recipe), the inside of the tofu is very bland. I’m not sure if the egg yolk is necessary to make the mixture stick (which it did very well). I might experiment with a soy sauce water mixture and see if that worked. The other major issue with the recipe is that there was way too much sesame on the tofu to my taste (1/2 a cup!!!!). If I made this again (which I might) I’d cut the sesame in half and leave the panko the same. I suspect that would still make way too much of the mixture, but I’d start with that.

All of the tofu issues aside, I really liked the tofu, spinach, dressing mixture. I served it over rice noodles. I did wish there was more spinach. Next time I’d make 1.5 the spinach part of the dish.

Sauteed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach

In my quest to find new recipes to try in old cookbooks, I found this simple recipe for sauteed seitan with mushrooms and spinach in Veganomicon. I made the seitan the night before. With the seitan pre-made, this is a true weeknight dish. It took me about half an hour to cook and I made the whole thing in one pot. I made this while I was taking a break from my low fodmap diet. With onions, garlic, and mushrooms galore, it is decidedly not low fodmap. Make sure you make this in a pan with tall sides, it needs a lot of room to cook.

This was okay. Not bad for something so easy to make on a weeknight, but I’m not sure that seitan and spinach make an amazing combination. I tried eating it over rice, which was fine, noodles, which wasn’t great, and risotto, which didn’t work at all. If I happened to have these ingredients and need to whip up something quick, I’d consider making this again. But I don’t think I’d seek it out. If I did, I’d use more spinach (maybe 1.5x the amount called for). The amount of spinach seemed crazy, but it actually wasn’t much when it cooked down. I thought there wasn’t enough for the amount of seitan.


Rice Cakes with Peanut Sauce and Hoison

I bought a large bag of Asian rice cakes for another recipe, but I only ended up using a third of the bag. While looking for something to do with the remainder, I found this New York times recipe for pan fried rice cakes and bok choy. The recipe is written for cylindrical rice sticks, but says you can slide rice cakes instead. Slicing these rice cakes was awful and took forever. I ended up resorting to a pizza roller after trying a few different knives.

I’m not sure if the rice cake/rice stick swap was the problem, but my dish did not look like the one in the picture. Instead of nicely browned individual rice sticks, the rice sticks kind of merged together and stuck both to each other and the pan. A cast iron pan or nonstick pan is a must for this dish. Instead of making the peanut sauce in the recipe, I just used leftover peanut sauce from gado gado that I had in the freezer.

The recipe had a great flavor and even though the rice cakes turned into a rice cake clump, I enjoyed their chewy texture. I thought the bok choy needed to be cooked for a minute or two longer. I also found the recipe really benefited from chopped peanuts on top to add a bit of crunch. This was unusual, but oddly good. And it seemed to get better with time. I’d make it again, but would try the rice sticks next time.


Fast One-Pot Low Fodmap Kale Farfalle

I’ve been super busy for the past week and haven’t had much time to cook or menu plan. So I found myself super hungry at dinner time with nothing made. I made this pasta dish with things in my house. It took no more than 20 minutes to make and was pretty tasty for something I just threw together. All the kale made it more filling than most pasta dishes.

12 oz farfalle

1 large bunch of kale

1/4 cup Garlic oil (if you’re not eating low fodmap you can saute 3 cloves garlic in oil instead)

Zest one lemon

2 – 3 tbsp capers

2 – 3 tbsp pine nuts

1.5 – 2 tsp salt plus a couple pinches

1/2 cup grated parmesan

pepper to taste

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil
  2. While water is coming to a boil, remove stems from the kale and tear into pieces
  3. Once water comes to a boil, add a couple pinches of salt
  4. Add kale and pasta to the pot. Cook on rolling boil for 9 minutes
  5. While the pasta and kale are cooking, Add the rest of the ingredients to your serving bowl.
  6. Before draining the pasta and kale, reserve 1/2 cup water from the pot
  7. Drain the past and kale. Shake well to dry and press to remove extra water.
  8. Add the pasta and kale to the serving bowl, stir to combine.
  9. Add pepper and adjust salt to taste
  10. Add the Parmesan and conserved water, stir well.

Vegan Miso Marinated “Scallops”

I love mushrooms. But oysters are the only mushrooms that have been tested and deemed low fodmap by Monash University. So I haven’t had mushroom since last spring. I was at my local Asian market and was excited to see they were selling king oyster mushrooms. I had no idea what to do with them, but bought them anyways. When I got home and started searching online, I was surprised to find there weren’t a ton of king oyster recipes available. One thing I did see in several places were recipes that used king oysters as a substitute for scallops. This seemed intriguing. I made this recipe, but only the marinated scallops not the accompanying garlic sauce.

I liked but didn’t love the flavor and texture of these. I don’t imagine they’re anything like actual scallops. I just left them marinating in the fridge and then sauteed them as I wanted to eat them. I ate them over paella, which was a nice combo. Although I think risotto might have been better. I think they probably would have been even tastier with the garlic butter sauce, maybe I’ll try making that at some point.