Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quinoa and Black Beans, Or Being Vegan Doesn't Need to Be Hard

I stayed at work later than I expected today, and, by the time I got home, I was most definitely not in the mood for doing much cooking.  My husband wasn't really up for making anything either, so I threw something together based on what I had in the fridge.

Fortunately, we have a well stocked pantry.  When you're busy, making grains in bulk really helps.  As I mentioned on Monday, I made a big pot of quinoa this week.  Last week, we had a big pot of farro.  The week before that, it was wild rice.  We buy our grains in bulk now as it's cheaper and cuts down on packaging.  If you vary your toppings and sauces, having the same grain several days in a row won't seem monotonous.

We also always have multiple cans of beans on hand.  Sure, they take up a lot of room, and they don't quite compare to the flavor of cooked dried beans, but you can put them in anything, and they're good in a hot dish or in a salad.  We rinse ours first to cut down on sodium and get rid of unappetizing "bean goo."

Finally, we always have tons of fresh vegetables on hand, and good knives to chop them with.  To save even more time, you can pre-chop your veggies over the weekend.  If you'd rather use frozen, that's fine, but we prefer fresh.

As a bonus, have tons of dried spices and seasonings, as well as shelf stable hot sauces and other liquid condiments.  As in two shelves full of them! (Perhaps we could consolidate, or get those spice stacker thingees.  Yep, just ordered one on Amazon.).  A little of those goes a long way and it's easy to add variety to your food.

With all this in our arsenal, I made a quinoa, black bean, green onion and kale saute seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin in about 15 minutes.  Husband had his as is, and I added a bit of mozzarella daiya.  Since it was a one pot meal, we also had minimal dishes - the pot, a cutting board, a knife, the container for the quinoa and our plates and forks (no knives needed!).

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