Last Monday was one of those days where I did pretty much nothing. I had a lie in, took a walk to the shops, did some levels of Romanian on Duolingo and started Season 4 of Schitt's Creek on Netflix. I'm so glad it's back! I binged the first 3 seasons and had to endure that between seasons longing.
Not a wasted day, definitely. Occasionally when the professional world is dragging themselves out of bed and dreading Mondays I'm still warm in my bed. The only downside is that while those same people enjoy weekends - I'm usually working. I had Sunday off which is better than nothing. I took myself to Belfast in the afternoon after a mishap of forgetting my wallet (it happens all too often) and visited the Asian market. It's definitely turning into my favourite place! It's definitely where to get ingredients I would otherwise have to order online.
Vegan cooking, especially to beginners and omnis, has something of an esoteric feeling to it. Xantham gum, chia seeds, jackfruit, banana blossoms, tempeh... the list goes on of ingredients unknown to the majority of my social or work circles. And when you're gluten free it can get even more mysterious. Who knew so many different kinds of flours existed? Add ground arrowroot, buckwheat, potato and tapioca starches to that mix. Tofu seems to be the only food known to pretty much everyone. But even then, I feel that it's completely underrated and misunderstood.
Eventually your cupboards (or at least mine) are full of various ingredients that surprise and bemuse your omni guests. On the downside, when I go and stay with my parents I have to pack a bag of the essentials; the spices, flours and seeds that make a plant-based diet just oh so good. My spice rack is over flowing and I've endless bags of flours: chickpea, buckwheat, brown rice and all purpose gluten free flour.
My collection has grown because I've learned that when you're on a gluten free and plant based lifestyle, your options for spontaneously eating out or grabbing a quick bite on the high street are severely limited. In my pre-vegan days I'd pop into Greggs, KFC or Subway on my work breaks. There was no need to scrupulously research restaurants. No more microwave meals either. I'm now more conscientious of what I eat for ethical and health reasons. This means I usually have to make pretty much everything myself.
Anyway, the day rolled by and so with Netflix on my phone to keep me company in the kitchen I set out to make a quick bite for dinner. What did I make? A quinoa and tofu bowl! Believe it or not but this was actually the first time I'd prepared quinoa myself. And I was not disappointed.
This bowl is pretty quick to put together without the extravagant ingredients I mentioned earlier. Healthy and tasty! I marinated my tofu beforehand in medium curry powder and paprika to give it a bit of an extra kick. It also has some pumpkin seeds which are my latest obsession. I've been putting them in everything lately! Hopefully at some point this week I'll make a pumpkin seed pesto.
What you'll need:
- 1/2 cup of quinoa (rinsed)
- one medium carrot (rinsed, peeled and chopped)
- a handful of green beans (rinsed and ends cut)
- Eggplant (I used a Korean eggplant)
- Firm tofu (drained, pressed and sliced)
- Some sunflower seeds
- Bring a small salted pot of water to the boil and add your quinoa, then simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes
- Grill/fry your marinated tofu for a couple of minutes on each side.
- Add the carrot, green beans and eggplant until cooked.
- Drain your quinoa.
- Sprinkle some sunflower seeds and add whatever sauce you want (I went with BBQ).
You might look like the 'typical vegan' eating this, but who says that that's a bad thing?!