Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Black-Eyed Peas with Quinoa

I never had black-eyed peas till I'd lived in the south for over 6 years. A friend made some for our Thanksgiving get-together and made them vegetarian especially for me. After taking home the leftovers and eating them over the next week (there was a lot!) I got hooked. Turns out they're really easy to make, and you can whip up a huge pot of food for under $2.

A second, related story: another friend gifted me with a 25 lb. sack of quinoa that was going unused in her church's foodbank. (This is the south, seems like nobody's even heard of quinoa, much less wants to eat it.) Unfortunately, I am not overly familiar with the seedy little grain-thing myself, so I wasn't really sure what to do with it. It's got an odd flavor that I just couldn't pin down... until I tried those black-eyed peas. It's almost eerie how similar they are.

Yesterday I cooked a huge pot of quinoa so I could have a little with my breakfast, figuring I'd use the rest later to test new recipes. This morning I soaked up a pound of black-eyed peas, cooked them up and served them with a big scoop of quinoa mixed into each bowl. It was great! The flavors complement each other well, and the textures are more interesting than when you use rice as an accompaniment. Makes a really nice, high-protein dish that almost cooks itself.

Black-Eyed Peas with Quinoa

1 lb black-eyed peas, sorted, rinsed, and soaked (they don't take too long to rehydrate, I think mine are usually ready to cook within 4 hours)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced fine or pressed
2 carrots, shredded
3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 vegetable bouillon square
water to cover
season salt to taste


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

You can make your quinoa in advance. It's very simple, just put one part quinoa with two parts water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. I stored mine in the fridge till it was ready to use.

Put your black-eyed peas in a bowl, sort out any rocks or mutant peas and rinse them thoroughly. Cover with cold water and let stand for around 4 hours, till doubled in size. Saute the onion in a teaspoon of vegetable oil until fragrant, add garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft. Add carrots and celery and cook for a couple more minutes. Add peas, bouillon, and just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes, or until tender. Add your favorite season salt to taste. (I usually put in several good shakes... serving this over unsalted quinoa can dilute the seasoning quite a bit. Plus I love salt.)

Serve over warmed quinoa with green beans and a little nutritional yeast on top, if you like it. Yum!

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