28 November 2012

recipe: roasted sweet potatoes with kale, quinoa, and kidney beans

I basically make something like this every night.  It's so easy you could shake a stick at it.  (To be honest, even if it weren't easy you could still shake a stick at it.  This is a free country, so I don't want you to feel like I'm limiting your stick-shaking.  Please, by all means, shake away at recipes easy and difficult alike.)

This forms the basis of many a quick meal.  The quinoa could be anything - rice, couscous, barley, millet, pasta, you name it.  The kidney beans could be another legume, tofu, tempeh, or a homemade protein.  And seriously, use any veggies.  As long as you know how to cook them.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Kale, Quinoa, and Kidney Beans
GF - 45 minutes - serves 4

Olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes
1c uncooked quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
1 can kidney beans
1/4t crushed red pepper
1/4c white wine
2T sesame seeds
1t red wine vinegar

Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scrub and chop your sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces and spread them evenly across your baking sheet.  Grab your olive oil spray bottle or considerably less awesome oil-distribution tool and drizzle those babies down.  Sprinkle with salt and stick 'em in the oven for 30 minutes.  Don't even turn them.  Don't even look at them.

When they come out they'll be as done as I am at 8:30 on a weeknight.  You should be able to smush them with your super cool bamboo saute spatula.  At 8:30 I am also getting to the point where I could be smushed by a spatula.

In the meantime, set up your quinoa.  Pour the dried grain into a small saucepan with 2 cups of water, a sprinkling of salt, and a dash of olive oil.  If you want to get fancy, use a dollop of Earth Balance instead.  Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down so it simmers for about 15 minutes, or until it looks like this.

In the meantime of the meantime, you can chop the onion, garlic, and kale.

Bring some salted water to a boil so you can blanch your delicious greens.  How much water?  I don't know.  This much.

Turner taught me this tactic.  Flash blanching your kale for just a minute or two will bring it to the optimal taste and texture.  Seriously.  It's a neat trick.  So when it looks like this:

It's ready.  Drain it in a colander.  Have a bite.  Mm!

In the meantime within the meantime, have your onion sauteing in a wok or large skillet.  Once it's translucent after 5-7 minutes, add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Next toss in salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Mix it up and add the white wine.  Turn up the heat and wait for the wine to reduce.  It should boil away almost completely in 8 minutes or less.

Time to throw everything in the wok!  Reduce the heat and add the kale, beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.  Mix it up so all the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and red wine vinegar, mix some more, and voila!  Ready to serve.

I am constantly amazed at how little seasoning is required to make these things taste good.  If you're like me a year ago, you'd pass over this recipe completely.  But a year ago I didn't know I was being a MORON and missing out on the amazing subtle flavors of whole foods.  This is something more than just a handful of crazy vegans would appreciate, too - Matt loves this kind of stuff and always gets himself a second helping.  And does the dishes.

I have reason to believe he's going to set me up with a music system in the kitchen for my birthday in a couple of months.  Possibly because he's sick of me yelling, "Can we listen to A Very Potter Musical again?" at him in the living room while I'm tooling around with the stove.  Or possibly because he's totally great.  (He's totally great, you guys.)

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