Sunday, May 23, 2010

Green Beans in an African Peanut Sauce Over Quinoa

Today has been one of those cool grey days that seem to be typical of this spring. We got going early this morning with our morning trip to the farmers’ market. It was hard not to over buy but I tried to hold myself in check this morning and bought less than normal. Today we came home with: 2 bunches kale, 2 bundles asparagus, 1 pound shitakes, 1 bunch radishes, 1 quart green beans, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, and 2 bok choy. To go with that I bought a few plants for my garden, 2 savory, 2 lemon grass and 1 arnica plant. I love the organic farmers at our market. They have the best stuff. We also found out of CSA will grow trays of wheat grass for us to juice at a great price provided we put in an order and give them two weeks. Score! We were very happy to hear this.

After we go home we had our usual oatmeal, with frozen wild blueberries. My husband had to go downtown to work today since he took Monday off for my birthday. It would have been nice to have him home but sometimes things just don’t go the way we want them to. Instead I spent the day at home trying to catch up on the things that got behind while I was finishing up the last Cornell course.

I ended up kicking back and chatting on the phone. Sometimes you just don’t want to do a darn thing. That describes a good part of my afternoon and it was quite relaxing.

For dinner tonight I wasn’t in the mood for anything complicated or time consuming so I made something else up, but what is not new. Since many of you ask where my ideas come from they are always a variation of something I have eaten or cooked in the past. Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the African Peanut Soup I made here. Those flavors worked together so well I wanted to do something else with the base ingredients. Here is what I did:

Green Beans in an African Peanut Sauce Over Quinoa
Serves 3


½ cups cup quinoa
3 cups water
½ large yellow onions, peeled and sliced (approximately 1 ½ cups)
6 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped (allow to stand 10 minutes so the allicin can develop)
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
¼ cup water to sauté aromatics
14 ounces diced peeled tomatoes
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 pinch cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons reduced fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used reduced fat but used full fat in the nutrition)
3 cups green beans, tipped


Combine the quinoa and water and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks make the sauce. Water sauté the onions, garlic and ginger until the onions are tender (about 3 minutes on high). Add the tomatoes and spices and good for a few minutes to reduce the tomato liquid. Now add the peanut butter and coconut milk and incorporate into the sauces. Add the green beans and cover the pan and cook for a few minutes. You want the beans to be tender crisp.

Top the quinoa with African sauced green beans and finish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 483.89
Calories From Fat (21%) - 102.47

Total Fat - 11.74g
Saturated Fat-  2.32g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 30.98mg
Potassium - 1252.56mg
Total Carbohydrates - 79.81g
Fiber - 13.67g
Sugar - 9.49g
Protein - 19.21g


This dish has a much more complex flavor than you would expect for a dinner you can make in less than 20 minutes. The sauce has a rich taste from the peanut butter and coconut milk. We really enjoyed this and will make it again when we need a quick meal. If you don’t green beans this sauce would also be good with julienned kale or collards. Millet would have been a more traditional grain to serve with an African sauce but I used quinoa for the protein.

Unrelated note:

I have an interesting experiment going in the dehydrator. I decided to try to make falafel kale chips. Since I have given up using oil I didn’t want to spray the kale with oil before drying it. Hopefully my variation will pan out. We will see, they smell great.

That is going to be it for me today. I hope you had a great weekend. I am meeting my girlfriend Deirdre tomorrow downtown for lunch. But I will be back tomorrow afternoon. Talk to later.


  1. First off the green beans are calling my name! Secondly, I cannot wait to see those chips! I am going to get brave soon and take my dehydrator out of the
    First on the list...kale chips!!

  2. Brandi,

    Thanks we enjoyed the green beans. The flavor is much more complex than you would expect from so litle work. I even think omnis would like this.

    I really hope the falafel kale chips work. Fingers crossed! LOL

    talk to you later,

  3. Cool idea...I sampled some falafel chips at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago...great idea to do a kale version.

  4. Rose,

    Thanks! I really hope they turn out. I was stuggling with how to make kale crispy without oil. We will see if my idea works. I bought extra kale just in case I need to try multiple versions. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  5. I have a gift for you on my blog,

    Please come check it out!

    Peace :)

  6. This looks like a great way to use the beans from our garden!

  7. I always have such a hard time not over-guying at the Farmers' Market too. It's easy to get a little crazy when it all looks so fresh and good. Glad you sat back and relaxed!

  8. Chandra,

    Thank you so much, I was just there! :-) I really appreciate you thinking of me.


  9. Lisa,

    Thanks, I hope you like it as much as we did. :-)


  10. Heather,

    I am a notorious for over buying fresh produce. I always think we eat more than we do. Though ... somehow we get through it. LOL!

    talk to you later,

  11. Wow--I went to the farmers market over the weekend too, but you are way ahead of us in terms of your growing season! You got me all excited for things to come...I am loving what local organic produce we have around here currently, but I can't wait for things like tomatoes and bok choy! It all looks lovely.


  12. Courtney,

    Most of the farmers didn't have tomatoes. Rudy started his in the green house a few months back. We asked since it was so unusual.I love local produce!

    hope you are having a good day,


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