Quinoa Veggie Bowl

By Wendy Monro

Daphne is very much involved in the vegan community around Las Vegas. She reads the articles, eats at all of the restaurants, and attends mixers with other vegans. She shares recipes with friends and reads their recipes. She has become an amazing cook. She tries to rope me in whenever possible. I generally decline. Like I have said in the past, I worry that my food will lose it’s magic if I think about it far too much. I am happy she has a passion about it though. It works for her. It’s fun to see her get excited about some new dish or vegetable she has discovered. I am particularly pleased that she is doing it right. She eats grains, vegetables, fruits, etc… She doesn’t just eat processed non-dairy and meatless food. A lot of people make that mistake, which makes being vegan unhealthy.

I did go with her to a vegan Chinese restaurant the other day. It was incredible. The menu contained all of the traditional Chinese restaurant dishes: beef and broccoli, orange chicken, Peking duck, etc… However, the meat wasn’t actually meat. I didn’t go so far as to ask what exactly the “meat” was. I left that to the imagination. I wanted to retain a bit of magic.

I ordered the beef and broccoli and it was delicious. It had the consistency and flavor of beef. It was sort of odd. I am not sure if I can wrap my head around food that tastes like meat but isn’t meat. Why not just say what it is? It could be called, Terriyaki tofu and broccoli, if that is what it was. It reminds me of a “gay wedding”. Why isn’t it just called a wedding? It was very tasty. We ate “cheesecake” for dessert. I was very impressed by the flavor. It tasted exactly like cheesecake. How did they do that?

So, when I make a vegan dish, I like to just think of it as food. Lets just call it what it is. It’s usually better to just say, “I made veggie enchiladas,” instead of, “try these vegan enchiladas.” I think this goes over better with people who aren’t vegan. For some reason, the word “vegan” turns a lot of meat eaters off.

This weekend, Daphne got together with some of her like minded friends to hand out food to the homeless. Of course, the food was meat and dairy free because that is what they care about and want to promote. It was a really cool group of people who gather together, hop on a bicycle, pick up donated food from restaurants, and serve it at a park. I think I might join her next week. I saw the photos and it looked like a lot of fun. People brought their little kids and cruised around with them. It seemed like a great example to set for children. Daphne invited me to go this time, but I made up an excuse because it was too cold outside. That was pretty selfish of me, especially when they are feeding homeless people. I felt pretty bad when she started sending me photos of all of the joy they were spreading.

I wanted to make her a nice dinner when she got home from the bike ride. So, I looked around the kitchen to see what was available. I had a leftover sweet potato. That was my beginning ingredient. I needed to work around that. I thought quinoa and black beans would be a nice accompaniment and provide lots of protein. I added red pepper and onion for some crunch and flavor. These are all ingredients she loves.

She came home and saw this dish in the skillet on the stove. I told her how proud I was that she was out there volunteering and giving back to the community. She grabbed a bowl and filled it with the quinoa dinner. Then, she sat by the fire, enjoying her food while telling me all about the day. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Quinoa Veggie Bowl:

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

2 cups of cooked quinoa, prepare according to package directions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup black beans

½ baked sweet potato, cut into one inch pieces

salt and pepper to taste

After preparing the quinoa, set it aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and red pepper. Sauté for five minutes. Add the black beans and sweet potato. Cook until beans are heated, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.