Asparagus Carrot Masala with Quinoa
The Purple Carrot meal kit service continues to inspire me with the weekly delivery of ingredients and recipe cards to make delicious plant-based meals with three noteworthy changes: I use less oil than the recipes call for, omit the jalapeño or hot peppers, and add more vegetables which generally turns a meal meant for two persons into four servings, or as a side dish for 6-8. The meals rely heavily on spices which add flavor to the dishes (which is why I leave out the jalapeño or hot peppers) and is a great way to introduce plant-based dishes to carnivores and vegetarians as a side dish.
Most of the recipes call for 2-4 tablespoons of oil; I rarely use more than a tablespoon and sometimes just a teaspoon, substituting water or low sodium vegetable broth, which makes for a delicious meal but without the added fat inherent in oils. As for vegetables, my refrigerator is always full of vegetables so finding complementary vegetables to add to a recipe is easy and not only adds flavor but also color and texture.
Asparagus Carrot Masala with Quinoa (serves 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a side dish)
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 4 medium-sized carrots
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons black cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 15-ounce can chopped or diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the coconut flakes on a small tray and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside in a small bowl for later use.
Place 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or water into a saucepan and add the quinoa. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Peel the carrots and slice into thin 1-inch diagonal pieces.
Cut the asparagus (tips and upper stems) into 1-inch pieces. Discard the lower stems.
Place the coconut oil (1 teaspoon) in a large pan on medium heat and add the 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Blend. Add the chopped onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened and translucent. Press the garlic through a garlic press and add to the onions along with the grated ginger. Stir for 1 minute and then add the sliced carrots, spices, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of low vegetable sodium broth or water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and add the asparagus. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the carrots are tender. For softer carrots cook for an additional 5 minutes but don’t overcook.