Are you a Meatless Monday cook?
Are you trying to eat more grains instead of meat to get your daily required protein?
I began to take tackle the Meatless Monday meme in earnest a few years ago. You know me. I don’t eat much meat. Seafood is my thing. But I only want to eat seafood twice a week too. So more grains it is.
One of those grains I eat a fair amount of is quinoa. But I find it rather bland.
So I decided to bump up a batch of quinoa with a burst of umami flavor.
Enter Vegetable Dashi.
It’s easy to make and makes the best of those vegetable scraps that you might otherwise toss in the garbage or compost. Although to be fair, dried bonito flakes, or Katsuobushi are not vegetarian, so the recipe title is a misnomer. Sorry about that.
- This is not a traditional recipe—meaning I do not offer an ingredients list and then steps. Just the steps. When you read the recipe below, you’ll understand.
- Season as you would normally season a soup. Amounts vary based on pot size and a number of vegetables you have on hand. You can always taste just before straining and add more salt if needed.
- If you have any questions, hit me up on Facebook, or reply in the comments.
- Give yourself an hour and a half up to two hours. It’s worth the effort.
Vegetable Dashi Recipe
- In a large stock pot, add your frozen veggies (you have scraps, right?) and any other vegetables in the refrigerator that you want to add. Although I wouldn’t use broccoli. Think onions, garlic, carrots, celery, leeks, kale, squash, etc. Make sure you wash your vegetables too. You don’t want dirty stock.
- Fill the pot with water to cover your vegetables. Add an herb bouquet (if you have fresh). If not, add thyme, rosemary, basil, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes (if you want a pop of heat), and garlic powder (unless you are using garlic bulbs).
- Bring the contents to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a vented lid. Simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally. Let the stock cool, then strain it through a fine mesh colander, cheesecloth, or paper towel. Strain twice if needed. Reserve two cups of the quinoa. Portion and freeze the remaining broth for later.
- Place the two cups of broth in a medium saucepan and bring it to a hard simmer on medium high heat.
- Add a few tablespoons of dashi flakes and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and let the flakes steep for several minutes. Strain again and discard the flakes.
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions using the Vegetable Dashi in place of water. Serve immediately with fresh seasonal fruit or vegetables, fresh herbs, and toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the top and add a few drops of balsamic glaze if you want.