• Kris

Mushroom and ‘Beyond meat’ sausage quinoa bowl

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Plant based sausage and veggies makes this protein packed dish hearty and yummy at the same time. Super umami from using mushrooms in two ways. Vegan, gluten free, oil free.

I love quinoa! I even say it’s the ‘queen-ah’ of grains! Well, botanically it’s a seed, not grain. But usually it cooks and eats like a grain and can be subbed for a grain alright. With plentiful of protein, fibers, minerals and vitamins quinoa is actually considered as a superfood. On top of that, its glycemic index is pretty low. That means, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar level like refined carbohydrates. [Check this link out if you are interested in more nutritional facts about quinoa https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/quinoa#vitamins-and-minerals].

Apart from all the health benefits, I love the crunchy mouthfeel and nutty taste too!

While creating this dish, I wanted to make something different from a quinoa salad and rather closer to a grain bowl. Well, what I came up with is not technically a “bowl” because the arrangements of components in this one is not quite like a grain bowl. It is somewhere between a pilaf and a bowl you could say! And maybe a cousin to a jambalaya, twice removed!! But hey, what’s in a name, right? Give me a savory, warm, hearty bowl of scrumptious food and I don’t mind if you even call it “Quinosage pimbalaya”! Okay, kidding! That’s only a word I just made up!

To amp up the savory essence here I have used mushrooms in two ways -- chopped baby bella mushrooms with other veggies and dried portabella mushrooms as an umami flavor enhancer. I have used ingredients like chipotle and tomato paste, and tamari (or soy sauce) to scale up the umami flavor even more.

Here is one thing though. My blood pressure climbs up as efficiently as spiderman himself. And can be as stubborn as a two-year-old when you try to bring it down. So, I try to keep my foods low sodium, as much as I can. Hence, I used low sodium tamari. If salt is not a problem for you, use the regular kind by all means.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the sausage. I usually avoid using fake meat or processed products in my recipes. But once in a while, I ponder it’s okay to ‘cheat’ a little bit. Yeah, as long as you’re not making it a regular in your menu! So, what I used here is a plant-based sausage created by the brand ‘Beyond meat’. You can use any brand you like. You can even use baked tofu or tempeh in place of the sausage if you wanna avoid processed food altogether.

Okay then, let’s cook us some yummilicious “pimbalaya” :D

About the dish :

Course – Entrée

Serves – 4

Difficulty level – Easy

Recipe type – Vegan, gluten free, oil free.

Does it keep – It keeps in the refrigerator for 3-4 days

What you need :

1 cup dry quinoa

1+1/4 cup water or vegetable broth

1 cup chopped red onion

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped baby bella mushroom

1 jalapeno or fresno chile, chopped (de-seeded if you don’t like it spicy)

2 plant based hot Italian sausages, sliced into disks of medium thickness

1 tablespoon low sodium tamari (you can use regular soy sauce if gluten is not a problem for you)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon chipotle paste in adobo sauce

3 oz dried portabella mushrooms

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust the amount of it according to your taste)

1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped green onion for topping (optional)

What you do :

1. Quinoa contains a substance called saponin which makes it bitter. Check the package of your quinoa if it comes pre-washed. If not, put it in a strainer and rinse thoroughly under a running faucet until water runs clear. This will rinse away the bitterness of saponin.

2. Put the quinoa in a deep sauce pan and add one and a quarter cup of water or vegetable stock to it. Put the lid on and bring it to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat so that it simmers gently. Cook covered for 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the seeds turn opaque. You should be able to see the tiny little sprouts out.

4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Keep aside.

5. Put a large skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the skillet. When it starts to sizzle, add your garlic and sauté until the raw smell is gone. You can totally use oil if you’re not going for a ‘oil free’ version.

6. Now add a couple more tablespoons of water to the pan and sauté the onion, celery and bell pepper. Did you know they are called ‘the holy trinity’ of veggies in Cajun cooking?

7. When the veggies are softened, add chopped mushrooms and jalapeno (if using) and stir. Add 2 tablespoons of water if the pan looks dry.

8. When the mushrooms look softer and release some of their juice, add your sliced sausages and stir to mix.

9. Now it’s time to add our flavoring agents. Add the tamari, tomato paste and chipotle paste. Mix well.

9. Grind the dry mushrooms to a powder using a coffee grinder and add this to the pan too. Add crushed red pepper flakes if using.

10. Add ½ cup of water, mix well and cook for a minute or two.

11. When the strong smell of dried mushrooms is tamed down a little bit, add ½ more cup of water, put the lid on, and let it come to a gentle simmer. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes until most of the water is evaporated. It should still look pretty moist, kinda saucy. Remove from the stove.

12. Now add your cooked quinoa in the pan, add the lime /lemon juice and toss well. Put the lid on again and keep it for 8-10 minutes on the counter. It will allow the quinoa to absorb all the juice from the sauce and get flavorful.

13. Check for the seasoning, adjust if needed, and top with chopped green onion.

Nutritional info (Per serving) :

Calories – 278 Cal

Carbohydrate – 42 g

Protein – 15 g

Fat – 6 g

Saturated fat – 1.25 g

Sugar – 5 g

Sodium – 519 mg

Dietary fiber – 6.75 g

Modifications you can make :

  • Cook your quinoa in vegetable stock instead of water.

  • Use white button mushrooms or any mushroom of your choice.

  • Use vegetable broth for sautéing instead of water.

  • If dehydrated mushroom is not available just skip it and use mushroom broth instead of water in the recipe.

  • Sub baked tofu or tempeh for sausage.

  • If you can’t find chipotle paste, chipotle chile in adobo sauce can be used. Chop one chile finely and add 2 teaspoons of the sauce from the can.

Now ladies and gents, your delectable bowl of quinoa is ready to enjoy! With all the veggies, protein and good carb it contains, this dish is a complete meal by itself. Pack it for a hearty lunch or eat it for a satisfying dinner, it is unbeatable! Even the left-over next day will leave you smacking your lips. It surely does that to me!

Do you have any question? Any thoughts after you’ve made it? I’d just love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below.


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