Quinoa Garbanzo Salad with Summer Squash & Fresh Herbs

I was originally planning to make quinoa risotto for dinner tonight, but by the time the pot was freed from our strawberry rhubarb jam project, it was too late to start a pot of beans simmering for tonight. But necessity is the mother of innovation, and we managed to throw together this scrumptious impromptu salad in the moments between stirring the bubbling jam and filling jars. I’m coming to love tulsi basil — one of my favorite “weeds” to pull and cook with!

Quinoa & Garbanzo Salad with Summer Squash & Fresh Herbs

About 2-3 cups cooked quinoa (cooked with veggie stock is ideal)
1 can or equivalent (maybe 2 cups) cooked garbanzos, drained and rinsed
A few tablespoons olive oil
2 small summer squash, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
A cup or so tulsi leaves, minced
1 large bunch cilantro, minced
Generous drizzle olive oil
A few teaspoons lemon or lime juice, to taste
A teaspoon or two of chili powder and cumin, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together quinoa, garbanzos, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Sauté squash and garlic in a pan, then stir into salad. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and adjust to taste. Enjoy warm or chilled. Yum!

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Broccoli, Beer & Cheddar Soup

Still on a mission to find creative ways to use up the leftover porter from the Square Dance… and some giant heads of aging broccoli I rescued from the compost pile. Seemed the perfect opportunity to try Broccoli, Beer & Cheddar Soup! (Naturally Ella provided a great starting point.) Pretty darn tasty, definitely a unique taste, but didn’t blend smoothly, so the texture and color were slightly off-putting. Probably would be fine for those with a higher powered blender, or with more cheese stirred in (the original recipe called for four cups!) As it was, I found myself stuffed after just one bowlful… forget how filling soup is, especially when it’s got “liquid bread” stirred into it! Well worth trying out, even if I’m not in a particular hurry to make it again… provided a couple good, hearty meals that also fed my nostalgia for Wisconsin.

Broccoli, Beer & Cheddar Soup

Chopped onion
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour (I replaced a tablespoon or so with kischk)
12 oz. beer of choice
1-3 teaspoons dijon or spicy brown mustard, to taste (or dry mustard if you have it)
4-6 cups veggie stock (can replace part or all with water, milk, or another liquid)
2 large heads broccoli, chopped (or equivalent, maybe 5 cups)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated cheddar (I had less than 1/4 cup to spare, so I stirred in a few tablespoons for more creaminess as well. You could certainly add way more cheese, maybe 1-2 cups)
Minced chives (optional)

Sauté onion in a few tablespoons of oil until soft, then add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add a bit more oil and gradually add in the flour, then cook for another 3 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until gets a bit of a “nutty” aroma. Add the beer and cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced to about half, then stir in the mustard, broccoli, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, and enough liquid to cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the broccoli is tender. Remove from heat, blend until smooth (or desired consistency), stir in cheese, adjust seasoning to taste, and enjoy! Garnish with minced chives and enjoy!

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Quinoa, White Bean & Kale Salad

As much as I love white beans in my usual favorite ways — simmered with tomato sauce and herbs over baked polenta, or mashed into an herbed pasta sauce — I was ready to try something new. I found myself wondering if there might be a way to combine them with quinoa… the internet responded with an emphatic yes! I never thought of putting the two together before, but it turned out plenty of other folks had! Funny how we get stuck in certain combinations and patterns sometimes. Thanks to Kaylee of Lemons & Basil for nudging me to broaden my horizons with this tantalizing dish!

Quinoa, White Bean & Kale Salad
2 cups quinoa, ideally cooked in stock
A few tablespoons oil
1 onion, sliced into thin crescents
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups cooked white beans
1 bunch kale, stems and leaves separated and chopped
A cup or so of tulsi basil leaves, minced
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
A few generous drizzles of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix quinoa and white beans, stir in a generous drizzle of olive oil to coat. Caramelize onion in oil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, sauté kale stems in a large pan for a minute or two, until they begin to soften, then add garlic and kale leaves and cook just until slightly wilted. Stir into quinoa salad, along with remaining ingredients, adjust seasoning to taste, and enjoy — wonderful still warm, and leftovers were also great right out of the fridge!

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