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Celebrate “Veganuary” in 2019 by exploring plant-based meals featured in The Cascade Kitchen during the first month of the year. This week’s recipe showcases quinoa, a grain that hit “superfood” status a number of years ago but managed to measure up to the fame. It boasts a high protein content, a wide range of micronutrients, and an “International Year of Quinoa,” declared by the UN in 2013. At the time it was even suggested that quinoa could be the key to securing worldwide food sustainability since its crops have high yields, are drought resistant, and grow at a wide range of temperatures and altitudes. Note that this healthy grain doesn’t have to break your wallet either. It’s widely available in the bulk section of grocery stores where you can buy what you need while reducing cost and packaging.
Ready in: 30 minutes. Serves: 4 (Makes ~16 bites)
473 ml (2 cups) cooked quinoa
562 ml (1 can) of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
156 ml (1 can) of tomato paste
15 ml (3 tsps) dry basil
5 ml (1 tsp) onion powder
5 ml (1 tsp) garlic powder
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
Cubes of cheese to put in the middle (optional or replaceable with non-dairy or vegan cheese)
Tip: Similar to cooking rice, you can cook quinoa with the general rule of 1 part uncooked quinoa: 2 parts salted water. Combine the two, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer with a lid until the water’s been absorbed. Quinoa tends to double in size when cooked, so 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will give you roughly 2 cups cooked.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a baking sheet to set aside. This is also the time to precut 16 cubes of cheese if you’re using them.
- With a fork, mash the pinto beans in a large bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients until combined. You can adjust the seasonings to taste here, but I found the taste of the uncooked mix (tasted mostly like tomato paste) wasn’t necessarily reflective of the end product (tasted mostly like pinto beans and quinoa).
- Use your hands to roll the mix into balls, and if using cheese then press a cube into the centre of the ball before covering it up with the mix around it.
- Place all your balls onto the baking tray and bake for ~20 minutes or until the outsides look dry and they’ve browned on the bottom.
- Optional: set your oven to broil for 2-3 minutes after that to get a crunchier exterior.
- Serve and enjoy!
Image: Chandy Dancey