Black Bean & Quinoa Wraps

IMG_7238Earlier this spring I was catering for a large group, and was asked to provide a 50/50 split of vegetarian and meat sandwiches or wraps. This is so standard now, as many non-vegetarians simply don’t want to be eating meat at every turn.

The vegetarian wraps would need to be sustaining, not just filled with veggies & sauce. I decided to do a mix of beans & quinoa, which would keep these folks energized all afternoon. The resulting mixture made for one of the best wraps I’ve ever had, a good ratio of filling to wrap, with a nice blend of textures.IMG_7214 Continue reading

Moroccan Salad with Quinoa

IMG_4999We used to have a flat-weave picnic basket.  It was lined in green tartan, and had a place for everything that a family might need for a great lunch.  Today we tend to pack lunches into coolers or backpacks, with lots of ice or freezer paks.  Somehow our unchilled lunches of yesteryear never made us sick.  We would have a stack of sandwiches, maybe a salad or two, some pickles, and cookies and fruit for dessert.  A bottle of lemonade would be enough for us all.  No pop tins, fancy fruit juices, or iced teas.  How did we ever survive?

There is always time for a picnic.  Don’t go overboard thinking it out, just make some things that make you happy, and get outside!  Even if you just toddle down to the local park.

This salad would be an amazing picnic salad.  Salads are great when they can be used as a main dish as well.  This colourful salad, full of fragrant spices lasts well in the fridge, and works well as a side dish for dinner, or as a main course salad, for lunches or a light supper. It’s packed full of nutrition, and is pretty as well!

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Quinoa Bites

IMG_3956This is a simple adjustment to the Quinoa Cakes recipe. I was catering a small memorial event, and was planning a vegetarian appetizer buffet.  The quinoa cakes are so yummy, and I thought that if I could get them to hold together in a small patty, that they would make a great appetizer.  Over the next couple of days, I got a few e-mails asking for the recipe.

Last night I offered them at a reunion party.  They presented so well, and made a good addition to the other items on the buffet.   Continue reading

Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce

IMG_3583I am always on the lookout for vegetarian main dishes that can hold their own on a menu.  Gone are the days of simple substitutions for animal protein, to satisfy the needs of a few vegetarians. As I’ve mentioned before, meat is just one of several dishes that go together to make a meal.  There should be at least one complex, wonderful vegetarian dish that everyone at the table looks forward to.  I had been trying a few ideas along the lines of grain cakes, when I received an issue of Canadian Living that showed their most downloaded recipe, Quinoa Cakes.  So look no further – these are amazing.  I may have switched an ingredient or two, and made a slight change, but only because I may have had a replacement on hand and also considered the merit of incorporating the pine nuts into the cakes instead of sprinkling them on top.

Okay, memory lane time.  As vegetarianism became more mainstream, and we were starting to hear the word vegan, I can remember cooking rice with chicken stock at an event, and questioning whether or not we should be using it for the buffet.  The answer – sure, it doesn’t have meat in it.  I switched to water and returned the packaged stock to the storeroom. Really?

Then there was a Groom’s Dinner BBQ we were catering back in the early 2000’s.  Out of about fifty guests, a dozen or so were vegan (wow – cutting edge guests!).  We were given long lists of wants and desires.  We started by cooking about 4 – dozen tofu & veg skewers, followed by similarly glazed chicken.  When we were about half way through service, we realized we were down to about 10 skewers.  Everyone wanted some!  We quickly covered the remainder with foil and asked each guest from there on in if they were vegan.  We had just enough.  Since then, any service that includes vegetarians or vegans, I serve a full service of a vegetarian or vegan main.  Really?  It is just part of a gracious service. Continue reading

Quinoa Tabouleh

In the spring of 1976, my best friend and I headed to San Francisco for the weekend in her dear old VW bug.  We had 4 days off from college, and knew that we could make it.  A friend of a friend had a house that we could stay at, and that’s about all we knew.  The weekend was fascinating and the people living in the house were so kind and welcoming.  We ate at the Acme Café, and for the first time in my life, I ate Quinoa.  I didn’t eat it again until it became mainstream about 10 years ago. I think we all welcomed it as a change from the ever-present couscous. Continue reading