One of my husband’s oldest and dearest friends is coming to visit from Baltimore, arriving later today. He’s been a vegan for his entire adult life. We will be sharing lots of meals over the next few days so I want to cook and not just take out food. We always bring in Indian food so I wanted to do something different. We don’t intentionally prepare vegan meals for no other reason than we don’t have to. There are things I randomly make that are vegan in nature, though I often compromise them by adding cheese to finish thing like ratatouille, one of my favorite things ever! I decided, to add protein to the meal, I’d start with a quinoa base and serve some sort of veggie mix over it.

Quinoa is a great base for savory and sweet. I’ve made this basic recipe and added dried fruits and nuts with a drizzle of maple syrup for an easy, satisfying breakfast. I’ve also added left over peppers and onions to it with a fried egg, sprinkled with some Aleppo peppers for a savory breakfast.

For Josh, I’m going to do a fall veggie stew…Inspired by the great squashes and greens in the market right now. I might add some toasted walnuts to it but below is my initial recipe…straight out of my head…

Basic Quinoa Recipe
1 cup quinoa
1/3/4 cup water
Sea or kosher salt to taste

1. Rinse or soak the quinoa before cooking.
2. Place the quinoa, water and a hearty pinch of salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer.
3. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed (but the quinoa is still wet) and the germs have begun to spiral.
4. Turn off the heat, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
5. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Roasted Fall Vegetables
Butternut squash or any favorite pumpkin or squash – peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
Mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces or if small enough left whole
Cipollini onions, peeled and left whole if small enough or cut in half
Cauliflower, broken down into bite sized pieces
Red Swiss Chard – leaves removed from stems and cut or torn into fairly large pieces
Garlic – add chopped cloves to taste – I love garlic so I’d use maybe four cloves
Aleppo Chili Flakes – big pinch
Fresh Thyme – about a tablespoon of the leaves removed from stems
Olive Oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1. Toss everything together on a sheet tray, making sure all of the veggies are coated with the olive oil and spices.
2. Roast at 400 degrees in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes until everything is tender and carmelized.
3. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sherry vinegar. Add a touch more salt and/or pepper if necessary.

Toasted walnuts would be a great addition to add a little crunch and earthiness, and of course, if you’re me, and not a vegan, a smattering of goat cheese would be a luscious addition…

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