In moments of absolute unoriginality, I choose to recreate dishes that I’ve enjoyed from restaurants or grocery stores.
I don’t eat frozen meals often, but I absolutely cannot resist Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake. So, naturally, I chose to complicate the process of “insert package into microwave and reheat” that comes with the frozen meal territory.
This is also a result of the fact that my parents’ freezer is broken, so I can’t buy any frozen goods.
And this is how I complicate the simple equation of microwave meals:
First, pick a grain, any grain. Kashi’s version uses their own pilaf, a blend of seven grains. I’ve made this dish twice, once using amaranth and then using quinoa. I much prefer the quinoa, but you could use anything from polenta to millet to plain ol’ rice. For three people, I cooked 3/4 cup of quinoa, for a yield of about 1.5 cups cooked.
Get your grains cookin’
– 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
– 3/4 cups black beans, cooked
– 2 cups greens (spinach or kale), chopped
– 1 ripe plantain, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
– 1/2 onion, diced
– 1 or two large cloved garlic, minced or pressed
– 3/4 cup tomato puree
– 1 tablespoon agave or sugar
– Chili powder, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce
– Toasted pepitas, or other seed/nut
In the meantime, saute onion and garlic. Once translucent, add in tomato puree and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to make a looser sauce. Add in a bit of your spiciness of choice: cayenne pepper, Cholula , etc. to taste. Add in 1 tablespoon of sweetener: agave, sugar, etc. Salt + pepper to taste. Let simmer.
Saute sweet potatoes over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. S + P to taste.
Once your grain is nearly cooked, add in 3/4 cup of pre-cooked or canned black beans as well as chopped raw kale or spinach. Continue cooking until the greens are wilted.
Finally, saute sliced plantains for about 3 minutes, until golden brown.
Plate it up: Quinoa mixture, sweet potatoes, tomato sauce, plantains. Top it off with toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, or sliced almonds for texture!