Quinoa and Vegetable Stew
It’s that time of year. The 2017 garden is well underway. In fact, we’ve been eating spinach and lettuce out of the garden since March. But I have plenty of leftovers from the 2016 garden remaining in my freezer and pantry. And I’m still working on the tomatoes I canned back in 2015!
So now I’m looking for ways to use up all those yummy veggies I preserved from gardens past before this year’s garden is in full swing. And what easier way to use up a whole bunch of veggies at once than to throw them together into a stew?
On a recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen, somebody named Becky cooked up a batch of Quinoa and Vegetable Stew. Host Bridget was thrilled. This gave me an idea. I always seem to have quinoa in my pantry yet I rarely ever make the stuff (even though I know it’s supposed to be good for me). Not only did this recipe provide a way to use the bag of quinoa that’s been giving me guilt in my pantry forever, it also gave me a way to use up a whole lot of veggies.
While the America’s Test Kitchen recipe was inspired by the flavors of Peru, my version is more North African in style – but with quinoa as the protein instead of legumes. In a happy spice rack accident, I used a tablespoon of turmeric instead of the paprika that the America’s Test Kitchen recipe called for. But, as my husband declared, it was hard to imagine the stew without a healthy dose of turmeric. (And I do mean healthy – I’ve been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of turmeric.)
Other changes I made from the original recipe to use up more of my preserved veggies include:
- Adding dehydrated celery flakes and frozen grated zucchini
- Using frozen bell pepper pieces instead of fresh (I used chocolate bell pepper instead of red)
- Substituting a quart of canned crushed tomatoes for 3 cups of broth and the fresh chopped tomatoes
- Leaving out the peas (I’ve already used up all of my frozen peas).
I left off the avocado garnish because I didn’t have any on hand. But feta cheese and chopped fresh cilantro made a great garnish.
I will be making this stew again – and not just because it’s an easy way for me to get rid of my 2016 veggies. It gives me a way to use them that’s healthy, delicious, and a little bit exotic.