Easy Quinoa and Fennel Dinner…and a Whole Lotta Snow!

Ughh. Just as I sat down to write this post I spilled a glass of red wine…it splattered across almost the entire surface area of my kitchen floor and on part of a fabric covered chair. Lovely. What a waste. Good thing I wasn’t at the bottom of the bottle just yet.

So I’ve topped up my tipple and now on with it…

Doesn’t this look hearty?

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Served up with a bit of insanely fiery homemade hot sauce…

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Up close and personal.

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This is the type of good-for-you dish with stick-to-your-ribs flavours that make sense on a day like this:

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Yeah, you could say we got a bit of snow this past weekend. In my part of the world this equates to the biggest snow fall since 2008.

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I wish I was in possession of that snow blower. But secretly I kind of like shoveling snow. It’s free exercise…I’m sure right about now I’ve convinced enough of you that I’m crazy 🙂

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Also, not so secretly, all I wanted to do was go tobogganing…no brave soul wanted to join me.

But I digress, back to food. While I mentioned previously that I made this dish last week, it came to mind as the wind whipped shrapnel-like snow in my face.

Easy Quinoa and Fennel Dinner

This dish is choc-full of hearty, “meaty” flavours courtesy of the fennel, herbs and spicy vegetarian sausage. I use vegan meat substitutes sparingly but was in the mood for something like this. You could easily substitute the sausage with cubed extra firm tofu or tempeh. Be sure to press out the excess water from the tofu if using; a good marinating in some tamari, apple cider vinegar and olive oil wouldn’t hurt either the tofu or tempeh.

Serves 4

1 cup dry quinoa

3 Tablespoons good quality canola oil (I use Maison Orphee, it’s got a magical golden yellow colour)

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground (I use a pestle and mortar for this task, you could also use a coffee grinder dedicated to spices)

1 generous teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grindings of black pepper)

2 Italian Tofurky sausages, cut in half moons (or use extra firm tofu or tempeh)

1 cup frozen peas

Add quinoa to about 5-6 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10-11 minutes, drain well in a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan (non-stick or cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add onions and fennel and cook, stirring now and then, until they start taking on a nice golden colour, about 8-10 minutes.

Add ground fennel, thyme, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir-fry until fragramt, about 30 seconds.

Next, push onion and fennel to the sides of the frying pan, add the sausage in the middle and cook until starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the cooked quinoa and frozen peas (they defrost nicely in a minute or two). Combine everything together. Cook another few minutes until peas are ready and adjust flavours to your liking.

Enjoy with a dollop of hot sauce. Vegan sour cream, a squirt of lime juice or avocado works nicely here too.

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I made the accompanying hot sauce a few months back using hot peppers of an unidentified variety purchased at the local farmers market. The farmer warned me they were peppy. He wasn’t kidding. I used a compilation of recipes to come up with this furiously scorching mixture. No joke this stuff is H.O.T. (and I say this as someone who thinks Frank’s Red Hot is tame). I put this homespun S&%@ on everything!

Now let me see if I can remember the ingredients in time for the upcoming but still-so-far-away farmers market season.

Peace, love and spiciness,

ilona

4 thoughts on “Easy Quinoa and Fennel Dinner…and a Whole Lotta Snow!

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