Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mixed Split Pea Dhal with Collard Greens and Cauliflower, Quinoa with Papaya and Avocado (No Added Fat)

I love children and babies, and felt so fortunate to have a fellow vegan family with a baby just 1 month old over for dinner. How lucky for us!

The husband especially likes Indian food and enjoys a lot of spice, but the wife likes minimal spice. I wanted to use fenugreek, which is supposed to help breast feeding mothers to produce more milk (though it may only be effective in higher dosages and possibly problematic at even higher ones).

I thought that I'd make a split pea dish; it's so easy in my Instant Pot, cooking in a ratio of 1:3 over 8-10 minutes of high pressure. I loved my recent collard green experiments, and thought I'd cook collards with the split peas. I also used a head of cauliflower.

My wife had picked up a papaya a few days ago, and I wondered what a savory quinoa-papaya-avocado side dish might be like, subtly flavored with onion. Here is what I did.

Ingredients (I usually cook for my family of 3, but was cooking for 2 more adults, and still ended up with leftovers)
  • 2 cups split peas (I used 1 cup green and 1 cup yellow, since I didn't have 2 cups of either)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1T fenugreek
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups collard greens; after removing bottoms of stems, cut into 1/2" squares (3 collard leaves)
  • Small-medium cauliflower cut into florets (mine generated 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots cut into large 3/8"-1/2" slices (it took 5 small-medium carrots)
  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2t lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  1. I put all the ingredients except the onion, lemon juice, and salt, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 9 minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. I served with cut jalapeno on the side for any who wanted to add some spicy heat.
I also made the quinoa, simply by sauteeing 1/2 cup of roughly (maybe 1/2" or even a little larger cubes) chopped onion, and 2 t of chopped (1/8") ginger with no oil in a large Saladmaster stock pot over low-medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then adding 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 3 cups water, along with a pinch or two of salt. I covered the pot and brought to a boil for 3 or 4 minutes, then turned the heat off and let the quinoa sit for at least 10 minutes while the dhal was cooking. I mixed in half of a large papaya with seeds (surprisingly, only had hints of a few seeds - I've never otherwise seen a seedless one) and skin removed and then cut into 5/8" cubes (about 2 cups), as well as similarly cut avocado (my large avocado resulted in a bit over a cup of cubes).

Wow, dinner came out better than I had expected. All seemed to enjoy.

It was nice seeing how the cauliflower cooked down essentially into a thickening agent. The fenugreek added just a bit of bitterness, but it was fine.

The star of the meal was the quinoa. What a great combination papaya, avocado, and quinoa makes. Why didn't I think of something like this before?

Ideas for the future

Split pea dhals always come out well. I should make more dishes with cauliflower both cooked just for a few minutes to keep its contributory texture, and also cooked down like I did today. Maybe we need to buy papaya more often - it sure was great in the quinoa. Both the avocado and papaya were just barely ripe, and I think it probably worked well, as they were suitably firm.

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