It’s hard to believe that my first summer term will be over in just a couple weeks. I knew two summer classes would be a lot to juggle when I registered, but I was quite prepared for how busy the end of May and early June have been. The great thing about summer class, though, is that it flies by, and I’ve had enough downtime to get done what needs doing outside of class. Not quite as much time to play in the kitchen as I’d like (I miss baking!), but I’m taking care of meal prep and fueling well.
This simple quinoa and chickpea dish has been a staple for me. In two weeks I’ve made it three times, which means it’s a keeper. It’s nearly as easy as preparing a plain batch of quinoa, but the paprika and tomato flavors give it character and make it adaptable for many different meals. I’ve used it in bowls, in packed lunches, and piled into soft tacos. I’ve mixed it with a frozen vegetable medley and a killer sauce (most often my cashew queso) and called it dinner; I’ve also used it as a side dish, serving it with baked tofu and some sort of green.
In spite of the short ingredient list, the quinoa packs a nice flavor punch. The dish is a little salty, a little spicy, and pretty smoky. It’s also got a touch of umami, thanks to the tomatoes, which you can boost with some nutritional yeast or by adding mushrooms to the recipe. Garlic is another possible addition, and the spices can be varied to suit your taste.
Easy Spanish Quinoa & Chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons olive oil substitute water for sautéing to make oil free
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth substitute water
- 1 cup 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 can, drained and rinsed
- Red wine or apple cider vinegar to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- Chopped parsley or cilantro optional
- Heat the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the quinoa, broth, tomato sauce and paste, paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the cooking liquid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes to taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and fold in some fresh herbs, if you like.
Who knew that adding tomato sauce to cooking water could be such a game changer? If you like, you can use the same formula with regular rice (which will cook up just as quickly) or with long grain brown rice, which will take about 35 minutes. I’m also wondering if the recipe would work with millet, and plan to try it soon. But for now, I’m really happy with the quinoa. And right after calling myself out on my chickpea usage, more chickpeas! (I think that’s three recipes in a row?!) Fortunately, you guys don’t seem to mind 🙂
OK, friends, it’s back to nutritional epidemiology for me. Excited to check in soon for the weekend roundup. Have a great rest of the week.