In my last post, I listed some of my favorite healthy and delicious toppings. Now, I’m posting a recipe that lends itself well to toppings. Well, it’s not quite a recipe, it’s actually more recipe-ish. One of my early posts was some basic guidelines for vegan cooking, that people could follow so they weren’t constantly looking up new recipes. This “sort of recipe” follows those basic guidelines: cook a grain, sauté some vegetables and protein, and add some flavor (see the original post for much greater detail). You can vary how you make this depending on what ingredients you have on hand. My husband and I eat this on a weekly basis, and it’s never quite the same.
Fresh Mexican Sauté:
Grain of your choice: quinoa, rice etc. – 1 cup
At least two vegetables: 1 colored bell pepper, sliced or diced; 1/2 to 1 cup of frozen or fresh corn; in the winter, 1 diced sweet potato (or a bag of frozen sweet potato chunks); or in the summer, 1 diced medium zucchini; 1 sliced medium onion or 3 – 4 diced green onion; diced tomatoes; anything else you can think of!
Beans: pinto or black, at least one can, rinsed and drained, or pre-cooked beans (if you want even more protein, try throwing some pre-cooked or pre-baked tofu in with this at the end!)
Green of your choice: kale, chard, or spinach, at least 2 handfuls
Toppings of your choice: cilantro, salsa, guacamole or sliced avocados, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, hot sauce, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds etc. If desired, use my tomatillo guacamole recipe as a topping.
1. Begin cooking your grain, according to instructions on the package, or better yet, =the instructions in the bulk section where you bought it. (In general, rice and quinoa require a 2:1 ratio of water to the grain, plan on at least 20 minutes of cooking time for quinoa or white rice, and at least 45 minutes of cooking time for brown rice).
2. Using a large pan, warm either a tablespoon of oil (canola, olive, coconut etc) over medium heat, or warm a few tablespoons of vegetable broth for oil-free cooking. Sauté the vegetables that need a longer cooking time – such as a bell pepper, sweet potato, zucchini – for 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re soft.
3. Add the beans and any softer vegetables (such as corn). Cook a few minutes longer – just until all of the ingredients are heated through. If you are using kale or chard, add it now too, and make sure to cook it until the greens have wilted slightly.
4. Serve on a plate: If using spinach, spread the plate first with spinach, then top with the cooked grain and the sauté (putting the spinach on the bottom will warm it ever so slightly); if you already used another green, simply spoon the cooked grain on to the plate, followed by the bean mixture. Then, add as many toppings as you like to each plate. Make sure to have at least one topping (such as salsa) that will add flavor to your food, and challenge yourself to add one topping that enhances nutrition, such as pumpkin seeds.
This will serve 3 – 4, depending on how many ingredients you added. Enjoy, and please let me know what variations you came up with!