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Posts Tagged ‘bell pepper’

Over the years, I have made quinoa salad quite often, usually with the same standard ingredients of black beans, cilantro and tomatoes. Quinoa pairs well with these flavors but this time I wanted to change things up for a slightly different flavor. I liked the slight sweetness in this dressing from the agave nectar. So, try it, and let me know what you think.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1-1/2 cup quinoa

3 cups water

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced

Dressing

2 tsp olive oil

1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp agave nectar *

1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder

1/4 tsp salt

garlic powder

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Let it cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl.

Combine all other ingredients except the avocado in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and pour dressing over the top. Mix well.  Gently fold in avocado and serve.

Notes:

* You can substitute the agave nectar with honey if you’d like.

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I originally found these recipes in one of those free magazines you can pick up at the health food stores. There were a couple of recipes that we tried from this one cookbook and I thought they were so good that I was inspired to buy the cookbook from which they were from. But I am not as enamored with the cookbook as with these specific recipes. If you are a flexitarian or carnivore, you may appreciate the cookbook more as there are a lot of meat based Thai dishes. I also need to pull the cookbook back out and look through it again.

The tofu dish we have had quite a few times before and we really like it. As usual, I added more vegetables to this recipe. I also changed the sauce slightly from the original.

This was the first time I made the cucumber salad and my husband dug into that right away. He gave it ‘two thumbs up’ before I even got sat down in my chair. I’ll admit that I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it while I was making the tofu.

Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Rice

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp canola oil, divided

1 pound of extra-firm tofu, sliced

3 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups baby carrots, sliced into thin slivers

1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

2 cups french green beans, fresh or frozen, in 1-inch pieces

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp black pepper

Turn on rice cooker. Slice tofu into 8 slices and place between the layers of a clean, dry towel. Place something heavy on top and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Slice each tofu slice into 8 squares.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large wok or skillet. Carefully add tofu – it will splatter. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and let cook for 3-4 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel covered plate.

Add 1 tbsp oil to hot pan. Add shallots and garlic. Stir fry for one minute – careful not to burn the garlic. Add the carrots, bell pepper and green beans. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and let cook for a couple more minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp. Add tofu back to pan and cook until heated through. Serve with rice.

Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp rice vinegar, gluten free

1 tbsp soy sauce, gluten free

2 tsp sugar

1 large English cucumber, sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

Mix together vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except peanuts, and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve topped with peanuts.

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Curried Tofu

This is a good starter recipe. The first time I made this recipe I modified it, which is unusual for me. You can check out the original recipe here. I think I change it slightly each time I make it. My modifications are included below. If you aren’t a fan of tofu, I am sure chicken would work just fine.

Curried Tofu

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

2 tsp oil

1 pound extra-firm tofu *

1/2 tsp salt

1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup carrots, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

2 tsp curry powder *

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1 can light coconut milk *

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 – 15 oz can pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup fresh basil, torn

Cut tofu into 8 slabs and press between the layers of a clean kitchen towel. Place a heavy pan on top and allow to sit for about 10 minutes, the longer the better. Prepare vegetables while tofu is draining. Cut each slab into 4 pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add tofu and sprinkle with salt. Cook about 5 minutes and then flip over and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it is slightly browned on the edges. Remove from pan.

Add onions to skillet. Saute for about 5 minutes or until they are beginning to soften. Add carrots and bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk. Add peas and pineapple. Gently stir in tofu. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Top with basil and serve with rice.

Notes:

* Extra firm, water-packed tofu is best for stir-frying. You can find it at most large grocery stores.

* I used a different curry powder this time, some Turkish curry powder that my mother-in-law brought me back from a trip. It is getting old and needs to be used. It wasn’t the best flavor for this dish. Next time I will go back to my regular old Spice Island curry powder for this one.

* I prefer to use light coconut milk when I cook. Trader Joe’s has a house brand that works for me.

* The original recipe does not call for onions or green peas but I like them both a lot so I add some every time. I am not a huge fan of the pineapple but yet add it every time. Next time I think I will try to remember to make it without.

* I also used a whole can of coconut milk instead of just 1/3 cup. I wanted to be able to simmer the vegetables in the sauce a bit and 1/3 cup just isn’t enough.

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