Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spicy Vegan Quinoa With Asparagus And Shiitake Mushrooms - Low In Calories And Perfect For Weight Loss!

Spicy and delicious but only 250 calories a serving!

The Secret to Good Quinoa
For years I wasn't a big fan of quinoa. Whenever I tried to make it, it came out bitter and I disliked the consistency. I finally found out that to make good quinoa, it must first be soaked and then rinsed really, really well. Evidently there is an outer coating of saponin which gives it the bitter taste. Once I finally prepared it properly, I fell in love with this grain-like edible seed. 
Soaking and rinsing quinoa removes the bitter coating
Shiitake Mushrooms
This is truly a "Food For Long Life" as shiitake mushrooms were used medicinally by the Chinese for thousands of years and were a symbol of longevity! They are also a very good source of iron, an important nutrient for vegans. 
Fresh shiitakes are much easier to find these days and are so much better than the dried ones. Don't be put off by the price, they are pretty light. Also, don't throw away those stems you just paid lots of money for. They make an excellent mushroom or veggie stock. I pop them in a baggie and throw them in the freezer until I'm ready to make stock.

Fresh shiitake mushrooms are better than dried 
Carefully remove the stems and use them to make veggie or mushroom stock
Use your Favorite Veggies Too
This recipe calls for asparagus and red bell peppers but you can also add other veggies too. This weekend I made a double batch for a vegan potluck and besides the mushrooms, asparagus and bell peppers, I also added snow peas. They were a nice addition and gave it some extra crunch.

Sauté vegetables in the order of their required cooking times

Spicy Vegan Quinoa with Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms
[Makes 4 servings]

1 cup quinoa, 
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, (or to taste)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
4 scallions, diagonally sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed, diagonally sliced in ½” pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Soak quinoa for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water for 3 to 4 minutes. Place quinoa in water in a 1½ quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a non-stick Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-low heat and sauté ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. 
Add peppers and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the peppers and mushrooms begin to soften. 
Add asparagus and cook another 3 minutes until fork tender.
Add soy sauce and lemon juice and mix together well.
Mix in quinoa and serve immediately.

Per serving: 252.9 calories, 6.0 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 13.3 g protein, 46.1 g carbohydrates and 8.7 g dietary fiber. 


Health Seeker's Kitchen said...

I love quinoa, asparagus and shitake mushrooms, so this is a recipe I definately want to try. Love all the advice on how to prepare the quinoa.

James Daniel Simmons said...

Very nice! Thank you for sharing:)

Anonymous said...

hi, good site very much appreciatted

Growing Younger Every Day said...

I have shitake mushrooms and even snow peas .... so I will try this recipe this afternoon... nice to visit your site... I don't eat meat and love the adventure of finding great recipes with good nutrients like our friend, the quinoa!