Sunday, September 2, 2012


I'm starting off this week with a couple of posts dedicated to cookbooks on quinoa, that magical grain with the funny name. I tend to get stuck in quinoa ruts, only using it as a side grain in the same way I would use brown rice.

I was offered a copy of The Idiot's Complete Guide Quinoa Cookbook to review, and even though it's not a vegan (or even vegetarian) cookbook, I decided to give it a gander anyway. I figured, although there are some meat dishes in the book, a cookbook about quinoa is bound to be filled with veg options. And I was right. Despite recipes for Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad and Quinoa Roast Beef Wraps, there actually seem to be more vegetarian dishes in here than meat ones. And many of those are vegan or are easily veganizable.

And yes, I believe that is cheese on the cover. But just pretend you didn't see that.
Veg recipes are peppered throughout the book, but there's also a chapter dedicated to Vegetarian Dinners. Some of the dishes in this chapter use quinoa as a side grain, but most are pretty darn inventive. There's Quinoa Veggie Burgers (and they contain sriracha!) and Quinoa Muffins. I found the most original use I've ever seen for quinoa in this recipe for Black Bean Hummus with Quinoa:

This is unlike any hummus I've had. There's no tahini and no chickpeas, which in my opinion, pretty much makes it not hummus. But it's tasty nonetheless. I might have called it Black Bean Spread with Hummus, but that's all semantics. What's in here? Well, cooked quinoa for one. Duh. But also black beans, hominy, tomato paste, chili powder, lots of cilantro, and lime and lemon. See? Totally unlike hummus. But delicious. The quinoa added a nice chew, but it was still very soft and creamy.

Since one cannot live on hummus alone, I served this spread and bread with some homemade Summer's Bounty Veggie Soup from my book, Cookin' Crunk:

I know summer isn't really the time for soup, but you have to make this soup when everything — the okra, sweet corn, squash, basil etc. — is in season. And since the tomato base is made with fresh tomatoes cooked into a broth, it's crucial to use juicy, summer tomatoes. My book is out now, by the way. You can order your signed copy on my page (PayPal button on the right) or check your local bookstore.

But I digress. I'm really here to tell you about The Complete Idiot's Guide Quinoa Cookbook. If you're bored with quinoa taking a backseat to your main dishes, this book is for you. Recipes like Cucumber Mousse with Quinoa Caviar (not vegan, but easily veganized) and Crispy Quinoa-Stuffed Wontons (they have tofu in 'em!) are sure to expand your quinoa horizons.

Now tune in tomorrow for another review of another quinoa cookbook!


Jan Scholl said...

Amazon is out of stock of the book. I had it in my cart while I looked for toys for the grand kids and poof, gone. Its been a couple of weeks I think. Please Amazon them back to being in stock. I need to buy it!

Pam said...

So happy to have found your blog! I'm a West TN gal, myself. I appreciate your list of vegan-friendly Memphis restaurants. I'll definitely reference it next time I'm there!

Babette said...

I also tend to use quinoa as a side dish like rice or millet. Sometimes I make a Peruvian soup or a quinoa stew, but that is pretty much it.

The soup looks amazing, and I really want to try it. I've never had soup with okra (this veggie is not so common where I live). I can't wait to get your book in the mail. Today is Labour day in Canada, a statutory holiday, so I have to wait until tomorrow at least.

Allysia said...

Summer is totally a time for soup! But I love soup no matter the season. Also I'm really excited to pick up your book - just waiting on some cashflow. :) And quinoa is my favorite "grain" ever, I should try to find some books at the library!

Anonymous said...

a cookbook dedicated to quinoa! love it!! that soup looks great!

Bianca said...

Hey Jan! I noticed that too. I'm thinking it's probably because they're using what they had to fill the pre-orders. I'll alert my publisher. You can also order the book using my Paypal button on this blog. I have plenty in stock! :-)

tender b. said...

That hummus that isn't really hummus looks really good. I love the idea of hominy and quinoa being joined together in a spread.