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Cilantro Quinoa with Tender Roasted Kale and Baby Portabellas

Posted on January 24, 2018 at 12:05 AM

There’s a Lake in Bolivia and Peru with a really fun name, and an incredibly rich history. Lake Titicaca was an important place for pre-Colombian civilizations. It was a center of worship, farming, fishing and hunting, and civilization. In fact, according to Inca beliefs, Lake Titicaca was the cradle of civilization. Around 200 ruins of the great cities and structures are known to exist in the jungles around this beautiful lake, and more are being discovered every day.

There’s no question that Titicaca has been the source of many great things for Incas and their descendants, it is also the source of a food item that many of us love eating in the U.S.. According to modern research and ancient mythology, quinoa developed in the area around the lake. Eventually, it was domesticated and cultivated by the Incan peoples around 3000-5000 years BCE. Eventually, once the European invasion was well settled, the use of quinoa started to phase out in lieu of new European grains. Luckily for us, and for the culture around this incredible plant, it wasn’t put entirely out of use, and it’s popularity spread as more people learned how to farm these seed-bearing plants!

Before yesterday, my wife had only had Quinoa once… JUST ONCE!... but I remembered her going on about how much she loved the texture and ever-so-gentle touch of bitterness in the seeds. More recently, she has decided (after much discussion with her healthcare professionals and others suffering from the same auto-immune disease) to try a gluten free diet…. Guys, gluten free AND meatless is not an easy combo to accommodate. That being said, I think this recipe pulls it off pretty well.

Cilantro Quinoa with Tender Roasted Kale and Baby Portabellas


Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Serves: 2 people

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

-½ cup Sweet White Onion, diced

-1 Garlic Clove, minced

-5ozs Baby Portabella Mushrooms, sliced

-3 large leaves of Kale, whole

-2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped

-¼ cup Loose Sweet Corn

-¼ cup Carrot, shredded

-pinch of Cajun Seasoning

-½ teaspoon Garlic Powder

-½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

-½ teaspoon Dry Vegetable Flakes

-Salt and Pepper to taste

-5½ozs Quinoa, prewashed and dried

-2 cups Vegetable Stock

-1½ tablespoons cooking oil

-1 teaspoon Honey

Directions:

The first step will be to roast your kale. Here’s the three best methods I’ve found for roasting the kale.

Method One: Fire Roasted

This would be the preferred method if you have a wood burning stove, grill, or fire pit. Stoke a strong, hot fire and let it burn down. Spread out the coals, and find a suitable hotspot. Place 2 of your kale leaves directly on the coals, with the back of the leaf (the duller colored side with the fat part of the vein) down. As soon as the leaves start to wilt and the edges crisp, remove the kale from the heat source and let cool.

Method Two: Grilled

This method is almost the same as fire-roasted, and doesn’t matter whether you’re using propane or charcoal. Simply start your BBQ the same as you normally would. Once the cooking surface is hot enough to sizzle, place your kale and cook the same as method one.

Method Three: Broiled

Turn broiler to high and allow to preheat. Once hot, place your kale in in oven/broiler on the center rack. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until kale looks as described in method one. Remove and cool.

Remember, you’re only roasting two of the kale leaves. Once roasted, flake off the crispy ends and set aside to garnish later. Chop the wilted kale and set aside to finish cooking later The third leaf should be cut in half and set aside for later.

In a large sauté/frying pan, add oil and place over medium heat. After two minutes of heating the oil, add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Sautee until the onions just start to become translucent. Add mushrooms and honey and reduce heat to low. Sautee, stirring often, until all ingredients have caramelized. Add corn and carrots, and bring heat back to medium. Sautee until carrots have completely softened. Add kale and vegetable stock, then bring mixture to a simmer.

Once simmering, still over medium heat, add all other ingredients and stir. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. For added flavor, turn heat up to high and slightly sear the quinoa mixture.

To serve, place your fresh kale upright, along the inside of your bowl. Fill the bowl with the quinoa mixture and top with crispy kale flakes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Project notes:

I spent 45 minutes walking around the store trying to figure this meal out. Like I said, meat free AND gluten free is not an easy combination. I wanted to craft a delicious meal that also contained many of the nutrients required for the day. Kale is packed with tons of great vitamins, iron, and protein. Mushrooms share some vitamins with kale, but also contain a great number of other important vitamins and minerals. Quinoa, the star of this dish, contains many of the amino acids, proteins, and fats needed for a healthy meat-free diet!

How’d your dish turn out? What changes did you make to the recipe? Did you try one of our methods for roasting the kale, or did you come up with another one? Let us know in the comments below! We love seeing how you throw down in the kitchen!

 

CJ @ Children of Terra-NEO

Resources:

USA Today: Travel Tips-Lake Titicaca

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations-Quinoa

Self Nutrition Data-Kale

Self Nutrition Data-Portabella Mushrooms

Self Nutrition Data-Quinoa

 

Categories: In the Kitchen

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