Each week, I’ll present a low-cost meal (or a meal that demonstrates a lot of options for cutting costs) that my family eats for dinner and enjoys. Many of the recipes will be vegan or vegetarian, with options to add other ingredients for non-vegetarians.
I’m not quite sure where we picked up this simple recipe. I was extremely doubtful about it the first time we tried it, but now it’s a staple in our home.
Give it a try – you might just be surprised.
What You Need
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (quinoa is a grain, like rice, that’s really easy to prepare)
3 cups vegetable stock (or water if you don’t have stock)
1 pound protein (we used beans; you can use extra firm tofu or cooked chicken or beef or whatever)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 10 cups mixed vegetables – whatever you like
2 cups barbecue sauce (we made our own, which you’ll see below)
The Night Before (or Early That Day)
You can cut up the vegetables in advance. Also, if you’re using meat, cut it into small pieces and cook them. If you do that and aren’t using vegetable stock for the liquid, pour three cups of water in the pan at the end of the cooking, then reserve that liquid for the recipe. That’s delicious stuff.
If you’re using dry beans, soak them overnight in water. The next morning, drain the liquid, replace that liquid with water, then boil the beans until they’re well-cooked (this will vary depending on the size of the beans).
Preparing the Meal
First, boil the liquid, add the quinoa, and simmer it for fifteen minutes, stirring it a bit here and there. The quinoa should absorb all of the liquid in the pot.
Turn the oven on to 400 F. Toss the mixed vegetables together and spread them out on a cookie sheet, then bake for 10-15 minutes, turning the vegetables over at the 5 minute mark. Cook the vegetables until they’re perfectly done for your tastes.
If you want to make your own barbecue sauce, you need 1 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons molasses, a dash of garlic powder, a dash or two of chile powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons water. You can add other things to taste, too – cracked black pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a dash or two of liquid smoke.
Mix these ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl and you’ve got your barbecue sauce!
You can serve the protein (beans), the vegetables, and the quinoa separated (that’s how our kids prefer it):
You can serve them mixed together with barbecue sauce (that’s how I prefer it):
You can also serve them together without barbecue sauce or with the sauce on the side, too:
It’s incredibly flexible! It’s also quite delicious for a light summer dinner.
This recipe is incredibly flexible. You can choose the protein you like – tofu, chicken, beef, beans. You can choose the mixed vegetables you like – broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, corn, cauliflower, etc. You can make your own barbecue sauce however you’d like or just pick up a bottle of it. You can mix everything together or keep it separate on your plate. It’s really a flexible meal that can be made in a way that anyone will like.