Thursday, September 05, 2013

Quinoa with Pear and Vegetables, Smoky Tempeh, Sweet Potato (Almost No Added Fat)

We enjoyed this past long weekend at the beach. As usual, we stopped enroute there and back at Tidal Creek Coop - perhaps our favorite coop. They honor our local Weaver Street Market coop discount, have a certified organic produce department, have an organic salad bar that is usually all vegan, and have many excellent vegan (and often soy-free and gluten-free) desserts. They also have a very nice smoothie bar. I think that they are my favorite coop!

One thing that we discovered there is Thomcord grapes, a cross between Concord and Thompson seedless grapes. They have the flavor and juiciness of Concords without the thick skin or seeds. They are perhaps the best grape that I've ever had!

Another thing that we brought back was a pear labeled a "baking pear". It was rather round and heavy, and looked mottled. (Tidal Creek is not just a great store, but uniformly the people there are so helpful and nice; I called tonight to get more details on the pear and the person in the produce department said that it is grown at nearby Red Beard Farms and, though no more information was available, he could ask the farmer who happens to be his neighbor and email me!)

  • 1/2 large bell pepper cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 small shallot finely diced
  • 1/8 medium onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • Additional 2T onion cut into 1/4" cubes (reserved till the end)
  • 1/8 t cumin seed
  • 4 fingerling potatoes cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1c quinoa
  • 2c water
  • 1 cube vegan bouillon cube
  • Half baking pear cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 6 roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (though walnut sounded appropriate for this dish, I didn't have any, so instead used 2-3 T slivered almonds)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • (optional) 1-2t lime zest


  1. In a stainless steel pan, I put put the 1/8 onion, shallot, and bell pepper, and cooked over medium-low heat for just a minute or two, stirring constantly with no added oil
  2. At this point, the onion was clear but not carmelized; I added the cumin, stirred for half a minute, then added the potato, quinoa, water, and bouillon cube
  3. I increased the heat to high just long enough to bring it to a boil, then reduced the heat to medium and simmered, uncovered, for about 10m till the quinoa revealed its characteristic spiral when done and the potato was done
  4. I added the pear, stirred, and cooked for another minute or minute and a hafl, then added the nuts, salt and pepper, and lime zest
I served this warm quinoa dish (though it would probably taste great cold, too) with baked sweet potato (nothing added for my wife and me, and some Earth Balance margarine for my daughter) and with smoky tempeh strips (cooked without oil).


My wife claimed that this was the best quinoa dish that she has ever had. and my preschool daughter enjoyed it. I liked the quinoa, but think that my wife is being too generous with her praise; I have had better quinoa dishes, but this was very good - the pear was a nice surprise in taste and texture, as I had thought it would be.

By the way, I claim this to be an almost-no-added-fat dish since slivered almonds do have some fat (3.5g/T) but, distributed among the three of us, we had maybe 3g of fat from the nuts.That's pretty good, even by low-fat standards.

Ideas for the future

I had originally thought about adding some cranberry to the dish, but forgot. I think that some fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberry would add another interesting contrasting flavor. I do think that toasted walnut or perhaps a little bit of toasted pine nut would give a better result than the almond. The zest was good, and I think could stand doubling or, perhaps even better, having 2t of lime zest and 2t of orange or tangerine zest. Capers instead of additional salt would have been good.

Though we are not gluten-free, this dish should be appealing to those who are. If that is not an issue, small chunks of seitan would have been nice in the dish. I have been cooking with toned down spices since my daughter joined us at the dinner table, but otherwise the dish would benefit from some heat; in fact, I added some hot sauce to my wife's and my portions.


At Thu Sep 05, 07:23:00 AM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Nice post. Would love to have this for dinner. First time on your space.

At Wed Nov 13, 01:39:00 AM EST, Blogger Dilip said...

Thanks, Supriya! I hope that you will continue to visit. --Dilip


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