Southwestern Quinoa Wraps

Today I'm sharing the brunch that brings in flavors that remind me of my favorite Southwestern dishes, including salsa, black olives, red pepper, onions, and avocado.

Tortillas stuffed with quinoa and dolloped with salsa and chopped avocado

Jeff and I will be going out for eats tonight before we head downtown to volunteer at our favorite community theatre, Bruka. (By the way, if you're looking for something fun and interesting to do with your spare time, get involved in your local community theatre. The people are amazing, salt-of-the-earth types, and you'll have a blast. You MAY even be cast in one of the shows, like yours truly.)

Sassy on stage
(Sassy in her first play, Steambath, hoping she doesn't faint.)

ANYway, back to brunch. ;O)

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm a HUGE fan of quinoa. This whole grain (well, technically a seed) is CHOCK FULL of vegan protein, and fills you up without weighing you down -- gotta love that. I focused on bringing in flavors that reminded me of my favorite Southwestern dishes, including salsa, black olives, red pepper, onions, and avocado.

Speaking of, let's have a little chat about avocados, m'kay?

I feel the might avocado gets a bad rap these days. So many people are freaking out about fats that they're even cutting out the healthy ones!

Now, I really do understand how confusing it can be to hear one person say avocados are good for you, and then a week later you hear the complete opposite!

When I need some clarity about a vegan nutrition topic, one of my favorite tell-it-to-me-straight sources is my all-time favorite book about the topic Becoming Vegan (Comprensive Edition) by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS RD.

Here's what they have to say about avocados:

Avocados contain more folate and potassium per ounce than any other fruit (60 percent more potassium than bananas) and are a good source of vitamins C and E. As a high-fiber food, the average avocado provides 13.5 grams of fiber—the equivalent of about three medium-sized apples.

Studies also suggest that blends of bioactive compounds derived from avocados may provide benefits in cancer prevention and treatment and in reducing certain inflammatory diseases.

A research team from India reported that the phytochemicals in avocados selectively inhibit growth and induce cell death in both precancerous and cancerous cell lines, and they show potential as chemoprotective agents to lower the side effects of certain chemotherapy drugs.

Avocados ripening on Sassy's counterI don't know about you, but I'm going to continue enjoying avocados on a regular basis.

I know, they can be expensive but that's because they are packed with nutrition. Fortunately, my local Natural Grocers has sales on them all the time for $1 each. And Whole Foods has had them on sale 5 for $5. Keep your eyes peeled out there for good deals. After ripening on your counter, avocados can sit in the fridge for 7-10 days before enjoying them.

Here's how this recipe came together in record time.

Vegan Southwestern Quinoa Wraps

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa, unrinsed
2 cups veggie broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon organic Tamari soy sauce
1/2 - 1 teaspoon organic pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tortillas (I like spelt)
2 slices vegan cheddar or American cheese (optional)
2 large romaine lettuce leaves
1/3 cup black olives, quartered
4 Tablespoons salsa (I like Pace organic)
1 avocado

1. Heat a dry frying pan and add unrinsed quinoa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add veggie broth, cover, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Alternatively, if you'd like you can pre-soak your quinoa for easier digestion. Add quinoa to a bowl with double-triple the amount of water and let soak overnight. Then drain, and follow directions as above but use just 1 cup of veggie broth (adding more as needed to cook thoroughly, or drain off any excess once cooked).

2. Add onion and red pepper. Cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add Tamari, syrup, oregano, and spices. Stir to mix.

3. Scatter cheese (optional) over tortillas. Heat tortillas in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

4. Place 1 tortilla on a plate. Add 1/2 the quinoa mixture, 1 lettuce leaf, and 1/2 the black olives. Roll tightly. Add 2 Tablespoons salsa and 1/2 of the chopped avocado. Repeat with 2nd tortilla.

Serve with a cup of hot and steamy organic coffee.

Mmmmmm, I'm drooling.

Happy cooking!


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