Category Archives: Grains

Spicy Curried Couscous with Kidney beans and Vegetables


Today I thought of making some thing simple – meaning cooking couscous is so easy, just boil the water and add couscous and let stand.  This is kind of a one pot meal that can be eaten for lunch or dinner.  Also a good recipe to pack in a lunch box for office.


  • ¼ dried red beans
  • 3 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves – stems removed
  • 1 cup soy chunks
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon spicy chili sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper (optional)


  • I used soaked and squeezed out soy chunks which I used for the recipe Thai Style Soy Chunk curry.  So the 1 cup I mentioned was soaked and drained soy chunks and not the dry soy chunks.
  • Soak red beans overnight and cook until tender (I cooked in pressure cook which needed about 15 whistles)
  • In a covered saucepan bring 1 cup water, olive oil and salt to a boil
  • Turn off flame and add couscous and mix lightly and cover and let stand.  Fluff with a fork
  • Add cooking oil to a skillet and when hot, add red and green bell pepper and sauté until slightly charred.  Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add rest of the cooking oil and sauté kale until leaves are wilted and cooked.
  • Add soy chunks, cooked beans, chili sauce, chili powder and ¼ water to the skillet and cover and cook stirring occasionally on low flame until all the water is absorbed.
  • Add sauteed kale, and bell peppers to the skillet and mix well.
  • Add cooked couscous to the vegetables and season with salt.
  • If needed, add ground black pepper
  • Yields: 2 main dishes

Roasted Broccoli and Black Bean Quinoa with Garlic Chili Sauce


After a long day from work and walking in this frigid cold weather, when I get home all I want is some comforting warm food.  On a day like this I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen – just cook some delicious food and eat and go to bed.  So I came up with this recipe with whatever I had in the fridge.  I had some pre cooked and frozen black beans in my freezer and these vegetables in the refrigerator.   With just 4 ingredients, this is a very healthy, light and delicious dinner.  You can buy the garlic-chili sauce in any Asian grocery stores.


  • 1 small head broccoli divided into florets
  • 4 oz white mushroom thickly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ½ cup cooked or canned black beans drained
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic-chili spicy sauce
  • Salt to taste



  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray cookie sheet lightly and arrange vegetables in one layer.  Spray oil over vegetables and roast  for about 45 minutes and set aside
  • Meanwhile bring quinoa and water to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for about 12 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.  Let stand covered for about 15-20 minutes and fluff with a fork.
  • Peel and slice garlic into thin slices.
  • Add cooking oil to a large skillet and add garlic and sauté until they are golden. Lower the flame and add roasted vegetables, black beans, garlic chili sauce, and salt and mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes (this is to infuse the sauce into vegetables).
  • Now transfer cooked quinoa to the skillet and mix thoroughly and cook for about a minute or 2. If it starts burning, sprinkle a little water and continue to cook.
  • Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
  • Serves 2 main dishes

Quinoa with Roasted Beets, Beet Greens and Tofu


This year until last week I couldn’t find good fresh beets in the farmers market.  Last week when I went there, to my surprise they had really fresh beet bunches with fresh beet greens.  I couldn’t resist and bought a big bunch.  While they are fresh, I wanted to make some dish and came up with this one.  The dish came out really good, but I would have enjoyed if I had added some extra spice – like crushed red chili flakes



  • ¾ cup Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 7 oz extra firm tofu
  • ½ lb beets
  • 8 oz beet greens roughly torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ¼ inch piece fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seed roasted

For the Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon hot chili sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar


  • Add quinoa and water to a covered saucepan and cook uncovered until it start to boil
  • Lower flame and cover and cook until all water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Set aside
  • Drain tofu on paper towel and cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • Peel beets and cut into thin cubes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray cooking oil to a cookie sheet and spread cut beets and tofu in one layer.  Spray oil over the cut beets and tofu and roast for about 40-45 minutes.
  • To make the sauce in a small bowl combine together soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Set aside
  • Add cooking oil to a large skillet and add garlic and ginger and saute until they are lightly browned. Add beet greens and saute until leaves are wilted
  • Add roasted beets, tofu, and cooked Quinoa to the skillet and mix well
  • Add sauce mixture to the Quinoa and combine and cook on low flame for another minute or two
  • Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
  • Serves 2 main dishes.

Brown Rice with Roasted Beets and Beet Greens


Roasted beets and beet greens with rice – sounds interesting.  I came across this recipe a while ago (probably a year or more) in New York Times website.  When I first saw this recipe I was a bit hesitant since I did not know how it would turn out and never made an attempt to make it.  So over the weekend I was planning what to cook for the week and came across this recipe again and thought to give it a try.  I drove all the way to a farmers market where they sell really fresh bunch beets with fresh greens. I modified the original recipe to adjust for some ingredients which I did not have.  After all the twists and turns from the original recipe, this came out really good with a sweet taste from the beets and sour taste from the red wine vinegar.

I know a lot of people throw away the beet leaves.  But these leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals.  You can find another recipe for beet leaves I have posted a while ago at –  Beet Leaves Fry



  • 1 cup brown rice (you can buy the rice packets which has other whole grains as well)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 medium red beets
  • 1 small yellow beets
  • cooking spray
  • 1 bunch beet greens and stems
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 red radish


  • Add rice and water to a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes or until almost water is absorbed.  Set aside covered
  • Preheat oven to 425 F.  Spray  cooking spray to a cookie sheet
  • Peel beets and chop them into thin 1 inch cubes.  Spread them on the cookie sheet in a single layer and spray a little bit oil over them.
  • Roast beets for about 15-20 minutes.  Once roasted, red beets will become a little darker in color and will shrink.  Yellow beets will retain their color but shrink as well.
  • Add cooking oil to a skillet and add sliced onion and saute until they are translucent.  Now add chopped garlic, beet stems and the red wine vinegar and saute for another 2-3 minutes
  • Add beet greens to the skillet and lower the flame and saute for only one minute since these leaves are very soft.
  • Add cooked rice and mix well.  Sprinkle a little water and cover and cook for a minute or two stirring frequently.  Turn off flame and let stand covered for about 10 minutes.  This will let rice absorb the flavor of beets and the vinegar
  • Thinly slice red radishes diagonally.  Add a little oil (or cooking spray) to a skillet and add sliced radishes and fry for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Garnish pulav with radishes.

Yields: 2 main dishes

Source: Adapted and heavily modified from New York Times

Variations:  Roasted tofu can be added to the pulav since tofu does not have a distinct flavor and will not spoil the flavor of this pulav.

Quinoa with Kale and Black Beans


Quinoa is a grain that does not have any smell or flavor.  That’s why dry roasting it gives a nice nutty flavor.  Also when cooking quinoa, I like to add salt since it gets absorbed into quinoa and gives a mild taste.   You can even add any other spices while cooking quinoa


  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 oz baby kale leaves, torn into small pieces, stems discarded
  • 1 small green bell pepper sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 15 oz can black beans (yields a little more than 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon spicy chili paste/sauce
  • Salt to taste


  • Dry roast quinoa lightly and let cool
  • In a covered saucepan add roasted quinoa, salt and water and bring to a rolling boil.  Lower the flame and cover and simmer until all the water are absorbed (about 10-12 minutes)
  • Keep covered and let cool to room temperature
  • Add 2 teaspoons oil to a skillet and once warm add kale and saute on low flame for about 4 minutes.  Set aside
  • Add rest of the oil to the same skillet and add green pepper, and garlic and saute until pepper is cooked but crisp – about 5 minutes
  • Now add corn kernels, black beans, salt and mix well and cook further 3-4 minutes.  If the vegetable mixture gets dry, add a little (1 teaspoon) water at a time
  • Add crushed pepper and chili sauce to the vegetable mix and stir and cook further one minute.
  • Transfer cooked quinoa to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the vegetables.
  • Serve warm
  • Yields: 2 main dishes

Penne with Mushroom and Thyme



  • 4 oz Penne pasta
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 oz Portabella mushroom
  • 1 6 oz bag baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil +  extra virgin olive oil for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
  • salt to taste


  • Cook and drain pasta and set aside
  • Slice onion and garlic thinly
  • Slice mushroom into thick slices
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet and add onion and garlic and saute until translucent.
  • Add mushroom and saute until mushrooms are tender
  • Add spinach and thyme and saute until spinach wilts
  • Add pasta and black pepper and mix thoroughly
  • Before serving sprinkle a little extra virgin olive oil over pasta
  • If preferred sprinkle with cheese
  • Servings: 2 main course

Adapted and modified from better homes and gardens website (

Bulgur with Kidney Beans and Roasted Peppers




  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 small zucchini or squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 teaspoons cooking oil
  • salt to taste


  • Soak kidney beans over night
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water to a covered saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
  • wash bulgur and drain.  Add washed bulgur to the sauce pan with salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a rolling boil
  • Reduce flame to low and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  • Set aside to cool (you should let the bulgur cool completely before mixing it with the veggies.  Otherwise bulgur will clump and become soggy)
  • Cook kidney beans until soft and drain.
  • Cur bell peppers and zucchini into thin one inch long strips
  • Add cooking oil to skillet and when hot add the peppers and zucchini and sauté for about 8 minutes on high flame. Stir frequently to make sure they don’t get burnt
  • Add chili pasted and crushed red pepper and mix well and sauté for another 2 minutes
  • Add kidney beans and mix well to incorporate the spices
  • Mix cooked vegetables with cooked bulgur and serve warm
  • Serves: 2 main dishes.