Many of us grew up with casseroles – called “Hotdishes” in my mother country, Minnesota. They were dinnertime staples -a combination of a meat and starch bound together with cream of mushroom soup. I’ve been trying to create a healthier version and have been experimenting with substitutions for the protein and the soup. Not easy.
Especially for a slow learner. It took me about four years just to pronounce quinoa correctly – KEEN WAH. Or close enough.
I started playing with this protein packed grain and learned to make a few quinoa side dishes. As yummy as they are, I wanted to make something that I could call “dinner.” And perhaps a dinner with few animal products. Since I cannot seem to give up sugar I am limiting the animal products I consume and pretending that I am a vegetarian three days a week. Yes, a slow start, but comfortable for me.
My family all take turns visiting our youngest son and his family in Florida. In between rain showers and beach days, we watch various documentaries – usually about health. Last year we all watched one called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead about a man who discovered juicing fruits and vegetables as a way back to wellness. My daughter, son, husband and I all went home and bought juicers.
This year we all watched “Forks over Knives” about the importance of limiting animal products and their connection to cancer. The research was compelling. Naturally, I started experimenting with recipes when we returned home while my husband found an official cookbook to order. (We have cookbooks for every turn in the culinary road.) I created this recipe while waiting for the cookbook to arrive and I really enjoyed it.
After the cookbook arrived, I turned to the last chapter (desserts) and found they have cookie recipes! Watch for these in the very near future.
For this hotdish, I used red beans and quinoa for the main protein and quinoa can also sub as the grain. Instead of the cream of mushroom soup, I used almond milk and tahini paste (ground sesame seeds.)
Let me know what you think.
Ingredients for Quinoa Red Bean Casserole1 onion, chopped
1 TBS olive oil
4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Quart chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
15 oz can of red beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste.
1 cup dry roasted almond slivers for garnish.
Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions until transparent – 3-4 minutes.
Add carrots, broth, and quinoa. Cook about 15 minutes until quinoa is almost cooked.
Add red beans and the rest of the ingredients and cook another 10 minutes until it is hot.
Garnish with almonds.
Quinoa red bean casserole
Celery, peppers, or leeks would be great additions.
Adjust the moisture so that you have a cream consistency. Add more milk or broth if needed.
Garnish with any nut, seed or golden raisins for interesting flavor notes.
OK, so this may not be the most beautiful dish you’ve ever eaten, but it is delicious. Even though there is no chocolate involved.
A worthy experiment. But wait, I think I just heard the ice cream truck… Just this once I need to make a dash for it. Later!