How about some happiness for dinner?
Having spent four years cooking in the dorm and several years cooking in a small kitchen, you learn to embrace the skillet meal. I love stir-fry’s because you can cook everything together, you use relatively-little space, and it cooks vegetables to a nice bite which neither steaming nor boiling can hold a candle too. Plus, you can eat everything in one bowl!
While this recipe/incarnation uses quinoa and specific veggies, it’s really a versatile recipe and can be made with whatever grains and vegetables you prefer. Go crazy! This could almost be called Kitchen Sink Stir-Fry but I like Bowl o’ Happiness better because a) it’s more fun to say, and b) it’s true! All those veggies and whole grains cooked in healthy oils and lightly-seasoned? How can you not be smiling with every bite?
First off, I cooked up some quinoa, which took about ten minutes since I only prepared a single serving. The recipe is even faster and uses less kitchenware if you use pre-baked quinoa. Tip: I usually keep a tupperware of pre-made brown rice or wheat berries in the fridge since these take longer to cook, and don’t go bad super-quickly (but they can go bad after awhile! Originally this meal was gonna have brown rice but the small amount I had left was in the fridge just a little too long). But quinoa is fast-cooking and doesn’t necessarily need to be pre-made; you can chop veggies and prep your other ingredients while it cooks!
To start the stir-fry, I heated a blend of olive and toasted sesame oils in a skillet on medium, then sauteed some onion and garlic for about a minute or two, until the onions started to become translucent. I then added some frozen spinach (which I thawed under running water) and sliced baby portobello mushrooms.
I added the mushrooms and spinach first because both have a pretty high water content and I wanted to let the water steam out some and allow the mushrooms to reduce in size before adding the other veggies. This helps the rest of the veggies stay more crisp and prevents any seasonings from washing off in the water which is coming from the spinach and especially the mushrooms. However, you don’t have to have the water completely gone before adding the rest of the ingredients, just mostly gone. You don’t have to do much stirring here, so this is a good time to do some dishes or prep more veggies if need be.
Finally, I added everything else – the quinoa, black-eyed peas (like the quinoa, the choice of bean is not limited to one type), carrots, asparagus, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Mm mm, what a colorful skillet! I sauteed the veggies for awhile, then added a generous drizzle of Bragg’s liquid aminos, a lower-sodium sub for soy sauce (but you can use soy sauce if you like, or even just salt). After stirring in the Bragg’s, I allowed the mixture to cook without stirring for a bit, to give them a chance to heat up before tossing them around. And then it was done! This is a nice, simple stir-fry that doesn’t use a lot of spices or sauces, so it gives the veggies a chance to stand out on their own. Besides, sesame oil has such a great flavor on its own, you really don’t need much else.
Bowl o’ Happiness (Veggie + Grain Bowl) (Serves 2, or 1 if you’re famished)
1/4 cup dry quinoa + 1/2 cup water (or 1/2 cup prepared quinoa or other grain)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 large clove of garlic, diced
2-3 TB diced yellow onion
1/2 cup frozen spinach, slightly thawed
3-4 baby portobellos, sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 spears asparagus, chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed under running water
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
Bragg’s liquid aminos, to taste
In a small sauce pan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa has sprouted (when the swirly white part is visible on the grain).
In a medium or large skillet, heat oils on medium, then add the garlic and onion, sauteeing for a minute or two until the onions start to become translucent. Add the spinach and mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the water from the spinach and mushrooms has reduced greatly and the mushrooms have started to shrink (entirely is not necessary). Add the quinoa, beans, carrot, asparagus, peas, and corn, stirring to incorporate. Cook for about a minute, then add the Bragg’s, stirring it into the veggies and quinoa. Cook for about five minutes more, stirring occasionally. Serve hot in your favorite bowl.