Day Eleven: Quinoa Puttanesca topped with Sesame Tofu

I know it’s good for me….and I know I should like it, buuuut I’ve never really felt the love for quinoa. Even this lovely organic red quinoa I scored from Costco leaves me with a feeling of dread at the idea of having to actually cook and eat it.


I do, however, LOVE me some puttanesca (the literal translation is “whore’s spaghetti”–yeah, yeah, no comments from the peanut gallery). Anyway, I found a recipe in Appetite for Reduction that combines the hated quinoa with my beloved puttanesca. It’s reproduced on Post-Punk Kitchen here. I halved the recipe and added one ingredient because it seemed to need something else. The added ingredient, of course, is a tablespoon of my beloved BTB paste.

Oh, and the reason I halved the recipe is that I want just two servings…with NO (or very little) left-overs. This six-week experiment is leaving me with far too many left-over containers of various vegan things in the fridge. And, let’s face it, many of them do look quite a bit the same. I was staring at a tupperware container of something this morning and trying to figure out whether it was some kind of flavoured hummus, left-over creamy broccoli soup, or some kind of salad dressing. And even after I tasted it, it took me a minute to figure out that it was the broccoli soup. At least, that’s what I hope it was since I thinned it out with water, heated it up, and ate it with a spoon for lunch (oh god, let’s hope it wasn’t hummus).

Anyway, on with the “whore’s quinoa”…

Quinoa Puttanesca with slight adjustments

2  cups cooked quinoa

For the sauce:

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

generous pinch each tarragon and marjoram

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 cup capers

14 ounces crushed tomatoes

1 TBS. BTB paste

fresh black pepper


Preheat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and stir for about a minute; add herbs, spices and wine; cook for about a minute. Add olives, capers and tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes. You can serve either by scooping quinoa into individual bowls and pouring the sauce over it.


I also wanted to add something “meaty” on the side, so I made up a batch of “Sesame Tofu” from Isa Does It.” The deviation I made was to add a teaspoon of liquid smoke because on the Post-Punk Kitchen site, a similar recipe includes a teaspoon of liquid smoke (and I do love the faint taste of what is apparently liquid death). Oh, and Isa drenches the tofu and then grills or bakes it; I’m marinating the tofu in the sesame sauce for a few hours.

Sesame Tofu

3 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. sesame oil

1 tsp. liquid smoke

Blend that up in the bullet; marinate a sliced block of tofu in it for a couple of hours; grill that stuff for three or four minutes on each side.


Sooooo…..I served the tofu alongside the puttanesca quinoa:


And….I might’ve sprinkled a bit of freshly grated parmesan on J’s plate because it looked a bit naked.


It actually tasted awesome, BUT J and I both agreed that we really aren’t fans of quinoa. I’ll make it again, but substitute brown rice (or brown rice pasta) for the quinoa.

And we christened our dislike of quinoa with James’s version of a high five–what I like to call the “Elizabethan high five”: unlike a high five, it’s not a slap–it’s a slow movement where your palms gently meet at the bottom and then move gradually up until they are resting on each other, at which point you nod…knowingly…to each other. I really should just call it the “Jamesian High Five.”

Anyway, while I couldn’t find an Elizabethan version of this particular move online, I DID happen to find a Jane-Austen version of James’s high five, which you can find below at the 1:20 mark:

Oh, and one more thing:


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