When I was growing up one of my favorite dishes my Mum made for our family was a slow simmered hearty stew. Of course, it was made with minced beef, but I am sure back then there were no near as many hormones and chemicals in the cows most people eat today. I always enjoyed the taste of beef, but when I was around the age of 15 I stopped eating all animals, because I have such a love for them. It never made any sense to me to eat them.
Now that I am a mother myself and Miles Storm is moving out of the baby food realm, I have found that my husband and I are taking cooking to a whole new level – we are constantly cooking new and interesting vegetarian meals for him. This is noteworthy because, back up a few years ago, and we rarely cooked at home. We ate-out or ordered-in nearly all of our meals.
This morning my husband mentioned that we had a lot of quinoa in the pantry and I should make something for Miles with it. Having a think about it I came up with the idea of making a vegetable stew. I compiled the following recipe from memories I have of when I was younger and by doing a little research. I am so proud of myself, as I started from scratch, it was my first stew ever and it turned out really yummy.
WHAT IS QUINOA!
Quinoa is a seed that is grown on a grain like crop which is a healthy alternative to pasta or rice which are packed with weight gaining carbohydrates. To put it into perspective – one cup serving of quinoa has 220 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. It also has all the amino acids needed for health being a complete protein in a plant-based food! The World Health Organization says that the quality of protein in quinoa is equal to that found in dehydrated whole milk. It is an amazing source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also very easy and quick to make.
WHAT I USED FOR MY STEW
- Half a cup of olive oil
- One whole purple onion, diced into small pieces
- One whole garlic head, peeled and cut in half
- 6 small capsicums various colors – yellow, red and orange, chopped into bite size pieces
- 6 stalks of celery, sliced into small pieces
- 6 small sweet potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
- 6 small carrots, chopped into small slices
- 1 packet of imitation beef mince protein mix, I used this one here
- Half a small purple cabbage, shredded into small slices
- Enough liquid vegetable stock to cover all the vegetables, I used 5 cups
- 1 teaspoon or turmeric
- 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
- Rosemary to garnish
- Salt and Pepper to flavor
- 1 cup of quinoa
HOW I MADE IT
- Pour the olive oil in a large soup pot, then sauté the onions and garlic 15 minutes
- Add the capsicum, celery, carrots, potatoes, purple cabbage, stir in well and cook for 15 minutes
- Add the minced protein mix, tomato paste, salt, pepper and the vegetable stock, bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1.5 hours (or until liquid is mainly absorbed)
- Boil one cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water or vegetable stock, reduce heat, cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. **Always make sure you rinse the quinoa in cold water before cooking.
- Drain and rinse quinoa
- Add cooked quinoa to the stew and stir in well
- Serve quinoa garnished with fresh rosemary
I found by adding the quinoa and the minced meatless protein mixture, it gave the stew the grainy taste I remember from the stew my Mum made. I also only used a small amount of turmeric, salt and pepper as seasoning. This is because the flavor of the vegetables was so amazing and I did not think it needed anything else.
**Just a note – I once again cooked way to much stew here with this recipe easily making 10 servings. So either half the recipe, freeze some of it as soon as it cools, or invite some neighbors over for dinner.