I called this “Kitchen Sink Quinoa” because you can really add whatever you want to it. These just happened to be the veggies I had on hand so they all went in. You could add corn, peas, carrots, kale, spinach whatever. Throw it all in there. You can also make this as cheesy as you want. That’s why we taste test in the kitchen, all day, every day.
Not that you can tell from this picture because of all the avocado… but I like mine pretty cheesy.
I first experimented with cheesy quinoa as a potential substitute to mac n cheese. I’ve found Follow Your Heart cheeses melt quite well when you shredded and mixed into a steaming hot bowl of quinoa, delish. Although, in all honestly, Daiya cheese is even better. Both brands offer a variety of flavors, I’ve used peperjack Daiya cheese before and it was delish. Quinoa + vegan cheese = hearty mac n cheese flavor without the calorie catastrophe.
Enjoy! What other mac n cheese stand ins can you recommend Anyone tried to make their own cheese sauce? That’s next on my list.
Cheesy Kitchen Sink Quinoa with Crispy Tofu
Prep time: 30 – 40 mins
Serves: 2 (with leftovers for lunch!) or 4
What you need:
2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water or vegetable broth (I used water this time)
7 oz (half packet) firm tofu
2 – 3 garlic cloves minced
1 medium sized leek
1 small/medium sized yellow onion
1 cup broccoli (I cut mine intro bite sized pieces)
1 green or red pepper (heck or throw em both in)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart, cheddar)
2 heirloom tomatoes
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
What you do:
- Get the quinoa started! Add quinoa and water/vegetable broth to a large-ish pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat but keep covered.
- Next, lets get the tofu going as this takes the longest. Wrap tofu in a paper towel and squeeze to get some of the moisture out. Cut into bite sized cubes, season with a little salt and pepper (or whatever else you like… I use garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, whatever). Heat up a small pan with a little bit of oil or cooking spray. Once nice and hot, drop the tofu cubes in and let em sizzle! Cook until nice and crispy, at least 10 mins usually.
- While you’re quinoa’s cooking and your tofu simmering, start chopping some veggies! Mince your garlic. Chop up the peppers, onion, tomatoes, and broccoli if you haven’t already. And now for the leeks.
- TIP: How do you clean a leek? First, chop off the top and bottom of the leek. You want the green leafy stuff gone. It’s OK to have a little green/white but we don’t want any of the dark green. Next, make a cut in the leek about halfway deep and slice down the middle from end to end. Be careful not to cut the leek completely in half and make sure you’re doing this longways! From here rinse under cool tap water and make sure you let the water get into the different “leek layers” as that’s where there’s often dirt. Ready?! Now, chop the leek into 1/4 inch discs.
- Put a large pan on medium high heat and add your Earth Balance butter. Once hot and ready, add the garlic – simmer for 30 seconds or so – then add your leeks and onions. Simmer those up for a couple minutes then add the broccoli and red pepper and cook on medium low heat until peppers and broccoli start to brown a little.
- Once your quinoa is all done you can start the cheesy process. Add the nutritional yeast, shredded cheese and mix well until nice and cheesy. Feel free to add more of either, just depends on your desired level of cheesy.
- Add your cooked veggies, tofu and mix well.
- Serve nice and hot and top with tomatoes, avocado, and any fresh herbs you have on hand like parsley or cilantro plus salt and pepper to taste.
I know it seems like a long list of instructions, but it’s really not.
Here’s the shorthand: Cook your quinoa, add your cheese. Cook veggies and tofu, add those too. YUM.