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Meatless Monday - Meat Substitute

It always seems a little weird when some menu offers a vegetarian option that looks like an animal.  Many vegetarians do not eat meat because we like animals and prefer not to eat them, so why offer us a piece of tofu that looks like an animal part?  It blows my mind.  However, the Meatless Monday movement is not about becoming a vegetarian, it's about mindful eating.  It's about making your body a little healthier and making your planet a little better.  Americans typically eat more meat than is good for our bodies and factory farming of animals isn't great for the planet.  If nothing else it uses a lot of water.  So cutting out meat consumption just one day a week can make a huge impact.

Today's recipe is for something that makes a great substitute for ground beef or other meat fillings.  We use it in tacos, chili's, stuffed cabbage, and stuffed peppers, and lots of other dishes.  It truly does give a meaty quality to these dishes.  Without the fat and calories of ground meats.  It's made with Quinoa which can be gluten free, you'll have to read the package if this is a concern for you.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can make up a bunch of it and freeze it then defrost it later.  My mom used to do that with hamburgers and it was really nice to be able to grab one out of the freezer to make a quick meal.



Ingredients
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped very small or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste
Directions
  1. Rinse dry quinoa under water well for one minute. This helps remove any bitter taste.
  2. Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a big frying pan on high. Add chopped onion, pepper and jalepeno and turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until slightely softened, 3-5 minutes, then add garlic, stir and saute again for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add dried cumin, paprika, coriander and oregano, stir and simmer for 30 seconds.
  5. Add tomato paste, stir and simmer again.
  6. Add the finished quinoa and a few tablespoons of water if it starts burning.
  7. Simmer until everything is well combined and the flavors have meshed, about 3-4 minutes
  8. Serve in tacos, burritos, on top of nachos on salads, in spaghetti or chili or eat alone, the possibilities are endless!

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