When I first heard about “Meatless Mondays,” I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was a vegetarian at the time and all of my Mondays were already meatless. It just seemed like some passing craze which would soon be replaced by something like “Ice Cream Sundays.” Is that a thing yet? Please make it a thing.
Like Taylor, I did not intend to become a vegetarian. I ate meat every. single. day. But then I started reading about some nasty stuff that is fed to animals these days, not to mention some of the horrific ways animals are treated, and it turned my stomach sour. I could no longer eat meat without thinking about the sad, little chickens all cooped up on top of each other, some falling over dead because they were pumped so full of corn-product that their little bones couldn’t handle all of the “meat” growing on their bodies.
*steps down off of the soap box*
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get all morbid on you, but that’s where my head was during my adventure in vegetarianism. I hung on for a few years, but then I met my husband. He cooked bacon all of the time, and he readily admits it was a ploy to bring me “back to the dark side.” It worked. So, while I do eat meat again (mostly just chicken, but occasionally pork and, very rarely, red meat), I am much more conscientious of where my meat is coming from and what it’s being fed. Though, maybe not to this extreme…
Now, onto one of the most delicious meals you will ever eat! I think even Ron Swanson would approve.
Baked Quinoa Adobado (adapted from this Chowhound recipe)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, diced
- 1/3 cup jarred jalapeños, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then you’re going to put a pan on the stove-top and you’re going to heat that mother up. Medium heat should do the trick. Next, drizzle in that oil and cook it ’til it shimmers. Once it’s shining like your face after working out, toss in one teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, the onions, and the jalapeños and cook them until they’re soft, or around 5 to 7 minutes.
Now drop in the chopped chipotle and cilantro and stir until combined, but be careful not to spill the wine you’re holding in your other hand. Sprinkle in the remaining teaspoon of salt and the cup of quinoa (you don’t have to sprinkle the quinoa, unless you just want to stand over the stove all night long), mix it up, pour in the cup of water and cup of broth (NOT THE WINE!), and bring to a boil.
After things get all bubbly like that champagne you’re now drinking, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the noms to an 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake it until most of the liquid is absorbed (the liquid in the dish, not the liquid in your glass), or around 20 minutes. Then put on your oven mitts, remove the dish from the oven, uncover it, remove the oven mitts, sprinkle on the cheese, put on your oven mitts again, and put that dish back in the oven for another five minutes or so. Once the remaining liquid is absorbed, refill your glass and then check on the food. Remove it from the oven once that cheese is nice and melty. And then eat. eat. eat.
A few things to note:
- This dish can be fairly spicy depending on your preference. If you like spicy then substitute two fresh, seeded, and chopped jalapeños for the jarred jalapeños. Additionally, you can adjust the spice level by adding more or less chipotle peppers. I usually chop up two peppers instead of one, seeds and all, and drop in a small glob of the adobo sauce. If you like less spice, make sure you remove the seeds from the chipotle and stick to just one.
- Sometimes I add 1/4 cup of drained/rinsed black beans and/or substitute chopped green pepper for half of the jalapeños. This gives the mixture a different texture, adds a little more substance to the meal, and helps balance the spice level.
- We usually use crumbled goat cheese instead of queso fresco, and it blends perfectly.
- If it’s not Meatless Monday, add in chopped chicken or chicken sausage when you’re sautéing the onions and jalapeños and BOOM. A delicious carnivore treat.