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Curried Quinoi with Potatoes & Spinach November 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.

I often cook by experimenting with ingredients to come up with something “different.”  One step leads to the next to the next.

On Halloween, I went into the kitchen to mix up some Tabbouli and a batch of Black Bean Salsa ~ two favorite sides.

One . . .

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Two . . .

2014-10-31 14-45-12_0005I noticed two onions that needed cooking so I chopped them and tossed them into a saute pan with a bit of oil.

I added a couple of cubed potatoes to the pot.

Since that looked like the beginnings of Tattie Soup, I added a vegetarian bouillon cube and 2 cups of liquid (1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of tomato infused liquid drained from the can of Ro*Tel used for the Black Bean Salsa).

At that point, I remembered I had 1/2 cup of Tikki Masala in the fridge.  So I stirred that in, sure we’d enjoy a hearty bowl of Curried Potato Soup while watching Halloween Specials.

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Then I decided to defrost and add a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach to the mix.

After the soup morphed into Curried Potato and Spinach Soup, I opened the pantry and saw some organic quinoi that longed to jump into the jacuzzi.  I checked the instructions ~ ready in 15 minutes, the same cooking time as the potatoes.  Perfect!

I measured out 1/2 a cup, rinsed it, and stirred it in.  After the mixture came to a boil, I turned it down and let it simmer until the potatoes were tender, the quinoi was cooked, and most of the liquid was absorbed.

I took a quick taste.

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Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Do you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen?  Or would you rather follow a recipe?  (Or order take out?)



1. Silver in the Barn - November 6, 2014

Looks delish, Nancy. I love how Indian cuisine uses potatoes so differently from our standard preparations. To answer your question, I usually start with a recipe, try it, and then tweak it going forward. Over the years, I’ve become adept enough in the kitchen that I can whip up a good meal from what I find in the fridge. My husband marvels at that ability. Ha!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

As well he should ~> it’s a great skill to have.

When baking, I follow recipes. That’s why I don’t bake much ~ it’s not as much fun as experimenting with ingredients on hand. I much prefer to go into the kitchen, see which ingredients are on the verge of outstaying their welcome, and figure out a way to combine them into something delicious.

Failing in that endeavor, we settle for “edible.” 😛

Silver in the Barn - November 6, 2014

“Edible!” In my house that’s damning with faint praise….and has been said more than once.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

BFF has on occasion uttered that E-word!

That’s OK, he and I have different taste buds, especially when it comes to spicy food. I want to kick it up a notch ~> *BAM* He wants me to rein it in & tone it down. For him, the less heat the better.

Most of the time, I cook with our differing palates in mind. But sometimes, I go with my gut and figure he can have something else if he doesn’t find it “edible.” 😛

2. suzicate - November 6, 2014

I love experimenting in the kitchen. Sometimes I stumble across something wonderful, and other times we end up going out to eat, ha!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Ha! Once in a while a kitchen experiment is an epic fail ~ thus far, those flops have not been fatal. 😛

I’m beginning to wonder if that why CHEF left such a bad taste in my mouth ~> I wanted to see a rotating menu on the food truck with interesting combos. I wanted to see him experiment. And instead he made thousands of grilled cheese sandwiches.

3. Becky - November 6, 2014

Sometimes I set out to follow a recipe, only to not have everything on hand so I improvise. I’m pretty sure I never make the same dinner twice. Unless it’s leftover.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

That sounds familiar, Becky. I view recipes as “springboards” (for something new) rather than rule books (for something tried and true). Soups & casseroles are tweaked every time.

4. Val Boyko - November 6, 2014

You’ve inspired me Nancy!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Keep on cooking!

5. Jill Weatherholt - November 6, 2014

That looks delicious, Nancy! The only time I enjoy cooking is when I’m not following a recipe. 🙂

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

It’s fun to create in the kitchen ~> and to adapt recipes to our own taste buds.

And, like you, I enjoy cooking much more if I’m not chained to a recipe or measuring cups and spoons. Just a little bit of this and a dash of that. Aah . . . that’s better!

6. katecrimmins - November 6, 2014

I rarely follow recipes except for baking. We often have refrigerator clean out days and those days are some of the most creative and delicious meals.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

I made cornbread last night and “followed a recipe” . . . but only after I’d already adapted the recipe to omit eggs.

Yes! I love the clean out days when creativity is the name of the game.

7. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - November 6, 2014

I’d much rather order take out, but that’s not good for my waist line or my budget! 🙂 My grandmother (who I try and gift my leftovers to!) is always commenting at how flavorful my food is, and that warms my heart – until she asks my secret, and I don’t know when she’ll stop being surprised that my secret is that I just toss stuff and seasonings in until it looks and tastes right! 🙂

Love your experiment!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

That’s sweet! Both that you gift leftovers to your grandmother AND that she enjoys your cooking! A win-win!

Here’s to experimenting with a bit of this and a dash of that.

8. brickhousechick - November 6, 2014

Wow, Nancy! YUM! How creative and inventive of you. I have been on a soup/stew kick lately and have been wanting to incorporate beans more (to lower my cholesterol). This looks so good and simple! Gracias. 🙂

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Good for you, Maria! Beans are a wonderful addition to our diets. If you click on Vegetarian Menus on the sidebar or type “bean” into the search bar, you may find some other ideas.

9. ericjbaker - November 6, 2014

I feel healthier just looking at the pictures. Bet they’re tasty and refreshing (in the “doesn’t cause a food coma” way). If I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I hope you’ll let me stop by for some vegetarian grub.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

They’re great as sides or snacks and . . . YES!!! You must stop by for some yummy snacks if you’re down here for a beach fix.

10. Eric Tonningsen - November 6, 2014

Always has been, always will be — experimentation. Cannot remember the last time I opened or used a recipe/cookbook, much to the dismay of my mother and three sisters. 🙂 Cue Frank Sinatra…

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Frank had the right idea!

It depends on what I’m cooking . . . but more often than not my cookbooks sit idle.

11. Grannymar - November 6, 2014

There is one bonus to living alone:- I can come up with amazing concoctions that I would never dream of serving to guests. I do have a great collection of recipes that I now know by heart, but I switch things about to suit my mood on the day. I doubt if I made xxx, that it would taste exactly the same as last time.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Seems we have that trait in common. My cornbread (and other breads) are pretty consistent, but soups, stews, casseroles, curries, and stir fries vary from one making to the next.

12. Barb - November 6, 2014

You were very adventurous in your selections Nancy, but it looks like it turned out to be a very tasty dish.
I start with a dish in mind, adding what I think might work from what I have in the fridge or the pantry – and thankfully, it usually does. Once or twice I’ve had a disaster but we just laugh about it and end up with cheese on toast or send out for take-away!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

That’s our approach as well. My mother and my sister are much more inclined to follow recipes . . . but I’ve always preferred to Wing It.

13. JOriginal Muse - November 6, 2014

This post hit home, Nancy… ! Welcome to the home of the “Resourceress” and Queen of Kitchen Lab Rats 😉 I’ve always re-purposed leftovers, but now that I’ve been vegan for the past year, I’m experimenting with “permissible” ingredients ~ only unprocessed, plant-based super foods ~ and ways to “veganize” traditional recipes.

Working on a budding website that I will send you a link to once launched. I plan to share non-formula recipes or simple guidelines in how to unleash our creative genius in the kitchen lab… fearlessly… and at times, exercising caution… As in this true story…

Recently, I ground my own bean flour to make homemade falafels. It wasn’t until I and two of my kitchen lab rats got a little stomach sick and a serious “pipe cleanse” from that recipe, that I decided to look up “grinding raw beans into flour.” It turns out that raw beans have an acid that creates the likes of food poisoning, and the food chemistry changes when the beans are roasted first. Good to know …for the next time… And YET, no lab rats were killed in the experimenting process…

Not to worry, though… Next time, (and there will be many more next times) I’ll exercise a new policy… TASTE AND WAIT AN HOUR before serving… That seems a reasonable amount of time to drop dead in… If it’s going to happen at all, I’m going to be the Queen Rat and take one for the team… Squeak, squeak…!

P.S. ~ I was going to send a related link to my Huff Post blog “My Ease Into Veganese,” but I don’t have access to that site from the PC I’m on right now… It can wait for another time 😉

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

I am glad you didn’t kill your Lab Rats. That would be bad. Nice of you to be willing to “take one for the team” in the future.

You might be interested in this recipe for Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ it’s not vegan but with a few nips and tucks it could be:


Definitely send me the links when you get the chance.

JOriginal Muse - November 7, 2014

I saw that recipe in your post before…It is definitely on my list to try out…! And yes, I will send you the links when they are ready 😉

nrhatch - November 8, 2014

Great. Thanks, Joanne.

14. valleygrail - November 6, 2014

Such delicious creativity! Edible art!

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

Here’s hoping that all our experiments are, indeed, edible. 😀

15. Behind the Story - November 6, 2014

Your concoction looks delicious. Like you, I seldom use a recipe except when I’m baking. Once in a while, though, I need some new ideas, so I look through a recipe book or two. Either that, or I eat out and try to guess the ingredients.

I like to eat quinoi for breakfast with cinnamon fruit, and milk. I’ve heard that the farmers in the Andes don’t want to sell their quinoi seeds. They’ve been poor so long, and now they finally have a big money maker. They don’t want to give it away. Besides, their ancestors took generations to develop it.

nrhatch - November 6, 2014

That’s how I use recipes and cookbooks . . . to flip through for ideas when the well’s run dry.

I’ve never tried quinoi for breakfast or sweetened. Thanks for the idea. Hope the farmers in the Andes continue to be compensated for their money maker.

16. NancyTex - November 8, 2014

Looks delicious and hearty!

nrhatch - November 8, 2014

It’s the first time I ever added quinoi to a pot-in-progress (instead of rice, barley, or pasta). We both liked it, so I’ll do it again.

17. Three Well Beings - November 10, 2014

This looks delicious, Nancy! A lot of my favorite tastes all rolled into dish, and very healthy! I do a lot of experimenting because I don’t like to waste anything and we always have little bits of this and that left over. In an effort not to waste, I find I don’t always have the time or space left in the week’s menu for a good strong recipe, and I kind of miss that, too. I often wish I had a little more time to cook, but then we’d just eat too much I think. haha!

nrhatch - November 10, 2014

You’re probably right about the correlation between cooking more and eating more . . . but sometimes it means that we’re eating more of the “right stuff” and less of the less healthy fare.

We just got back from a Healthy Cooking for the Holidays demo and lecture. Some good recipes that I may share between now and Thanksgiving ~ like a sweet potato, apple, and dried cranberry casserole with an orange cinnamon brown sugar glaze.

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