Quinoa stir-fry with pineapple and cashews for Meatless Monday
No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.
Rice is always popular in a stir-fry dish, but why not give another grain a chance? This tropical entree will make you feel like you're dining in some warm, exotic spot (until you finish it, anyway). And quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all the necessary amino acids, so it's an excellent meat replacement however you cook it.
You will need:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup water
3 tablespoons and 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
4 ounces cashews (raw and unsalted if you can find them)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1 red chile pepper
1-inch piece ginger
1 red bell pepper
1 cup green peas (frozen is okay)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons mint leaves
3-4 cups fresh pineapple
3 tablespoons vegetable stock
1 tablespoon mirin
1-2 limes (optional; for garnish)
1. Rinse the quinoa and drain. (This grain can have a bitter taste if you don't rinse it well.) Combine with the pineapple juice and water, plus 1/4 teaspoon of the soy sauce, in a medium-sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; then lower the heat, cover and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid. (This could take anywhere from twelve minutes to thirty; I like to use lower heat and cook it longer.)
It should look like this when you're finished. For the best stir-fry results, chill the covered quinoa while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (you can also place it in an air-tight container and chill overnight in the fridge, but cooling it for an hour or so works just fine).
2. If you're using a whole, fresh pineapple -- which we recommend -- then cut the bottom and the top off, remove the rind and cut the fruit off the core before chopping it into cubes. (You can store any leftover pineapple in a container in the fridge for snacking.)
Peel the ginger and cut into little pieces.
Slice the green onions.
Slice the red chile pepper.
De-seed the bell pepper and slice it into thin strips.
3. Stack the basil leaves on top of one another.
Roll that stack of leaves into a tube ...
Then slice it into thin ribbons.
Chop the mint, then pat yourself on the back. You've finished your prep work!
4. Place the cashews in a large skillet -- at least eleven inches in diameter -- and cook over low heat in the dry pan, stirring occasionally for four to five minutes, or until they are lightly toasted.
Remove them from the pan and set aside; raise the heat to medium and add the peanut oil to the skillet.
While the cashews are toasting, combine the remaining soy sauce with the vegetable broth and mirin and keep on hand.
5. Saute the onions in the hot peanut oil for a minute or so.
Press the garlic into the skillet and stir-fry until the garlic begins to brown (this should only take a minute or two).
Add the chile pepper and the ginger and stir-fry for another two minutes.
Add the peas and the red bell pepper and stir-fry for another three to five minutes, until the bell pepper has softened.
6. Now it's time to add the pineapple; cook for three to four minutes in the skillet.
Add the basil and the mint and stir for another minute or so.
7. Add the quinoa and the soy sauce-broth-mirin mixture and toss thoroughly to coat. Stir-fry for fifteen minutes or so -- you might want to use two spoons to help move the quinoa around the skillet. Everything should be very hot.
8. About a minute before the stir-fry is done, toss in the cashews and stir into the mixture.
Serve with lime wedges for garnish.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.