Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa Collard Wraps (Vegan)

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

In response to all of the intricate raw food posts I’ve made over the last several months, I’ve been hearing a common question: “When do you have time to do all of that?!” Well, the truth is that I don’t, and I often had to sacrifice my sleep to complete everything on time. The learning experience was fantastic, but I need a little break, so I’m taking the month of November off to rest and do some traveling.

Like most other full time working professionals, my free time is limited to evenings and weekends, and many times after a long day, I’m just tired and don’t want to put a lot of effort info food preparation. Of course, I always want to make sure that I’m not sacrificing the quality or nutritional value of my food when I do so. I still shop almost exclusively in the produce department and make everything from scratch.

So, what was on my dinner plate this evening? Quinoa collard wraps! There is a local restaurant here where we live that makes wraps, which my husband is very fond of (I’ve never tried them). Today, he mentioned swinging by there for lunch, and I suggested that since he liked wraps so much, we should just pick up some ingredients at the grocery store to make our own much more affordably. Big thumbs up from Mr. Frugal. =D

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

We obviously have much different tastes in food (hence the name of this blog). While he is using whole wheat tortillas and turkey in his, I love to use gigantic collard greens as wraps and fill them with vegetables. Quinoa also makes a really hearty filling for wraps. While many traditional wraps put the grains on the outside and greens on the inside, I like to reverse it! I get a lot more green in my diet this way. 

These were really easy to make. I cooked some quinoa and seasoned it like a tuna salad with celery and onion. Something that I also really love to add to quinoa is a good quality mustard. In this case, I used a 100% homemade curry honey mustard! A little of this stuff goes a long way. Use it sparingly!

curry honey mustard

Of course, you can use any kind that you like, but but seasoning the quinoa with any sauce or spread you might put in a sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it dripping out of your wrap while you’re trying to eat it.

I also added tomato, some yellow bell pepper, some spicy radish sprouts, and a few slices of homemade pickles from cucumbers that I grew on my porch. 

dill pickles

Cucumbers in brine, at the start of the pickling process.

All you have to do is layer in your ingredients and then wrap it up just like a burrito. After that, slice it in half (on the diagonal to be a little fancier), and voila!

raw vegan quinoa collard wraps

I ate two of these for dinner, and I feel very satisfied. I also met my requirement of adding something leafy and green to every meal. 😉

This is an incredibly healthy meal for several reasons:

  • Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is one of the only grains which can be considered a “complete protein”, and it also contains more minerals than other grains.
  • Quinoa contains a bioflavanoid called “quercetin”, which is also found in the skins of apples and onions. It helps to stabilize mast cells and prevent the release of histamine. If you have allergies, this is a great food to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Leafy greens are a great source of calcium in general, but collards are the best source of calcium among all leafy greens, or any other vegetable for that matter!
  • Collards are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C. 2 cups of chopped collards give you 92% of all the RDA for vitamin C. The leaves in this recipe are so large, they easily blow that out of the water. 
  • Collard greens are also a source of ALA (omega-3). Combined with vitamin K, they are a highly anti-inflammatory food.
  • Collard greens are effective at lowering cholesterol! Their high fiber content and the nutrients they contain bind to the bile acids that are released by our gallbladders after eating a fatty meal. Instead of getting reabsorbed into the body along with the fat, they pass through the intestines and existing cholesterol must be broken down to make more bile acids. This is actually the same mechanism by which some cholesterol drugs work. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138)

Please enjoy this recipe!

Quinoa Collard Wraps
Serves 1
These quinoa collard wraps are not only easy and quick to make, they are also delicious and nutritious!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Wrap Ingredients
  1. 2 giant collard leaves - washed, dried, and stems shaved down flat
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  2. 1/2-1tsp honey mustard
  3. 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  4. 2-3 tsp red onion, finely chopped
  5. pinch or two of salt, to taste
  6. twist or two of black pepper, to taste
Other Wrap Fillings
  1. 1/4 bell pepper, cut into strips
  2. 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  3. 6-8 small dill pickle slices (don't skip these!)
  4. sprouts of your choice (optional for extra "green")
Instructions
  1. If you have leftover quinoa, this is a great use for it! Just mix in the "Quinoa Ingredients".
  2. If you need to cook the quinoa, follow the instructions on the package or just throw it in a rice cooker if you can't be bothered to read such things (guilty). Just make sure you rinse it first to remove residue which can result in bitterness.
  3. Chop the vegetables. If you had to cook your quinoa, mix the celery and onion in while it's still warm to soften them a bit. They are also good crunchy!
  4. Lay your prepared collard leaves down on a flat surface. Don't forget to shave the stems down with a sharp knife so the leaves can be rolled easily.
  5. Depending on the size of your collard greens, add appx 1/4 cup of quinoa (or maybe a little more or less) to the center of the leaf.
  6. Add any other wrap fillings that you'd like.
  7. Roll it up like a burrito.
  8. Slice it up and eat it!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut

A simple vegan meal for two of both cooked and raw foods: germinated quinoa and lentils, salad of romaine and cucumber, homemade sauerkraut

Dear Internet,

I have great news! In an effort to be more frugal, I am now preparing all of the meals for both my husband and I from scratch. We’ve been all about simplifying our lives (even more) and “getting rid of (even more) stuff” lately. As I am the cook, he’s been eating vegan food. It’s a lot cheaper and better for the planet to eat good quality plant based foods than to eat animal proteins. He’s dropped a few pounds and is looking even hotter than usual. Hooray for easy vegan meals. 😉 

sauerkraut

We also rearranged the furniture at about the same time that we started to implement this, so now we get to sit down every night and share a nice meal and some conversation together. It’s really been wonderful, though I will have to admit, it is more time consuming than I thought it would be. In an attempt to not keep him waiting too long for dinner, I haven’t been as diligent at recording my recipes, and I haven’t really been using recipes, so much as throwing together simple, healthy, and very affordable meals with items we already have on hand.

quinoa and lentils

While I prefer more raw food, he prefers more cooked food, and I want to be able to accommodate both of us, and also make sure he’s still getting some “roughage” since cooking destroys certain heat-sensitive vitamins, like vitamin C (which, as a friendly reminder, humans are unable to produce on their own like most other animals on the planet – we must consume it from our food). 

romaine and cucumber salad

After struggling over whether or not to post these ridiculously easy vegan meals, it struck me that this very thing was the original premise of my blog. My husband is actually eating and enjoying the vegan meals that I’m preparing. It truly is a “taste of two plates” now! =D

By incorporating some of my own dietary tweaks (which I also feed to my husband), I’ve seen additional improvements to my health as well. Since I cut oils (except for a little flax) out of my diet and started to treat nuts and seeds as condiments rather than snacks or main ingredients, I’ve dropped about 2% body fat (no lean tissue loss), have very sound sleep with minimal disturbances, have been getting up earlier, and have been feeling rested on less sleep. This is nothing short of a miracle for me. For all the health issues I’ve managed to reverse, I’ve still always needed a lot of sleep.

simple vegan meals

This evening’s dinner consisted of a large romaine and cucumber salad, some homemade sauerkraut (love the bugs!), and some sprouted lentils and quinoa with parsley and a honey mustard sauce (the only cooked part of the meal). Yes, I use local raw honey (to build immunity against local pollen), but you may use any natural sweetener you like (such as a fruit puree). I’ve been buying dried lentils, beans, and seeds, so I can soak and germinate them before eating, whether they will end up being cooked or eaten raw. This reduces the phytic acid content and makes them more digestible. Less phytic acid means you can absorb more nutrients from the rest of your food too. 

Apricot Honey Mustard Quinoa & Lentils, Simple Salad, and Sauerkraut
Serves 2
An easy vegan meal with a lot of raw food, a little cooked food, and a healthy dose of probiotics. The quinoa and lentils are germinated to maximize nutrition and digestibility, and are also hearty and flavorful enough to please the omnivores in your house.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Sauerkraut Ingredients
  1. Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Quinoa & Lentils Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  2. 1/2 cup dried lentils
  3. large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  4. 2 TB cup organic mustard
  5. 3 TB water
  6. 2 TB ACV
  7. 1 TB naturally sweetened apricot fruit spread (e.g. Polaner's) - optional, but delicious
  8. 2 TB local raw honey (or preferred vegan sweetener - or just add extra apricot spread)
  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Salad Ingredients
  1. 1/2 head of romaine
  2. 1 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
  3. 2 TB flax oil
  4. 2 TB raw ACV or lemon juice
  5. Dried herbs of your choice (optional - I used fennel and dill on mine)
  6. Tiny pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Germinating Quinoa and Lentils (Optional)
  1. The night before you want to make this, soak the quinoa and lentils overnight (in separate bowls), drain in the morning, and then leave on the counter, covered loosely with a towel, during the day. If you want instant gratification, you don't need to do this advanced prep work, but it makes them much more nutritious and digestible.
Cooking Quinoa and Lentils
  1. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa, cook the quinoa either in a rice cooker or simmer for appx. 20 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil.
  2. Using a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils, simmer the lentils for appx. 30 minutes on the stove after bringing the water to a boil (test for tenderness).
  3. Combine in a bowl and mix in the parsley (bonus points if you grew it yourself).
  4. Whisk in a bowl until well blended: mustard, water, ACV, apricot spread, honey (or other sweetener), and sea salt.
  5. Pour the sauce over the quinoa and lentil mixture and stir it in.
Salad Directions
  1. Layer greens and veggies on the plate.
  2. Top each salad with 1 TB each flax seed oil and ACV or lemon juice.
  3. Add some dried herbs if you like.
Notes
  1. For best preparation efficiency, start cooking the lentils first, then the quinoa. While those are on the pot, prepare the sauce, chop the salad vegetables, and retrieve your sauerkraut from the fridge.
  2. I use local raw honey because it helps to keep my allergies at bay. You are welcome to use any other natural sweetener that you would like in this recipe if you would like a truly vegan alternative.
  3. You are welcome to use any dressing you like on the salad in order to have a peaceful meal with the omnivores in your life. My husband and I do not use the same salad dressings. 🙂
  4. I like my food a bit on the spicy side. If the mustard is too potent for you in the sauce, feel free to add a little extra water to dilute it. Keep in mind that once it is mixed into the quinoa and lentils, they will soak it up and it will not be as strong.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa & Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto (Vegan)

Sun dried tomato quinoa with pumpkin seed avocado pesto

This quinoa and pesto dish was inspired by an over-abundance of basil on my porch, and some ACV fermented garlic that I’ve been culturing for the last 6 weeks. I’m a big fan of cultured foods. I try to incorporate some into my diet every single day.

I created a twist on traditional pesto based on the ingredients I had on-hand and my dietary restrictions, and I’m quite happy with the results! Pumpkin seeds are a lot more budget-friendly than pine nuts. They add a little bit of texture and some health benefits, like being a good source of zinc, which is a great immune booster. The avocado provides a familiar creamy texture that pine nuts and cheese would have provided, and is a healthier source of fats than dairy.

apple cider fermented garlic and fresh basil, waiting to become pesto

Garlic cloves fermented in unfiltered apple cider vinegar and fresh home grown basil. Pesto is a natural thought that comes to mind when pondering the ways to marry these flavors.

Here in sunny Florida, we’ve already got a head start on our spring planting, even those of us without yards. Right now, on my small 3rd floor terrace, I’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, marigolds, basil, aloe, a small avocado tree (which will eventually need a yard), and some micro-greens.

I am looking forward to creating more unique pesto recipes throughout the warm weather season as my little plant continues to blossom and produce more basil leaves. By the looks of it, I should have some fresh tomatoes to add to my homegrown ingredients list within a few more weeks!

Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa with Avocado Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Serves 3
This recipe is a delicious and filling vegan appetizer or side dish that is quick and easy to prepare. The quinoa contributes protein, the avocados add fat, and the pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which helps to strengthen the immune system.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Quinoa Ingredients
  1. 1 & 1/3 cup water
  2. 2/3 cup dried quinoa
  3. 2 TB sun dried tomato, chopped
  4. pinch of sea salt
  5. 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. Fresh squeezed juice of 1/4 lemon
Pesto Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  2. 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. 2 cloves of AVC-fermented garlic (substitution: 2 tsp garlic powder)
  5. 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 tsp coarse gray sea salt
  7. 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Directions for the quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Add water and a pinch of sea salt to medium sized pot on the stove until boiling.
  3. Add quinoa and sun dried tomatoes to pot and reduce heat - simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed (alternatively: you can use a rice cooker).
  4. When finished, transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Add another pinch of salt if you like (I do).
Directions for the pesto (prepare while quinoa is cooking)
  1. Add all ingredients into a variable speed blender and mix until well-combined. The basil should be shredded and the pumpkin seeds should be chopped. I have a Vitamix and the mixture incorporated well on the 4-5 setting.
Assembly
  1. If you want to make it fancy like the photo, use a 2.5" ring mold and layer the ingredients so there is roughly a 3:1 ratio of quinoa to pesto.
  2. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, a bit of extra quinoa, and fresh ground pepper.
Notes
  1. If you decide to use a ring mold, twisting it gently will keep the top layer smooth as you remove the tamper.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/