In much the same way as there is an art to using up the last of your fresh produce before you head away for vacation, I think there is an art to keeping a kitchen well-stocked for your return from vacation. While I have a few go-to recipes from pantry staples alone, and freezer meals help, when I come home from vacation, I am usually craving something fresh. I want the greens.
While I hate asking for rides, at the airport, it is nice to be picked up by a familiar face. I still remember returning from Japan to friendly faces and in addition to a quick ride home, they also had a few things to get me through to my first grocery run. At that time in my pre-vegan days, it was eggs, bagels, fruit and some leftover soup. With an empty fridge, it was a glorious gesture.
While Rob and I are good at taking transit to the airport, this meant we didn’t have any room to stop for groceries with all our luggage on the subway. In any case, while we came home to an empty fridge, it wasn’t so empty after all.
Granted, we were only gone for two weeks, so we still had a few grapefruits and apples for my usual breakfast routine. Onions and carrots in the crisper keep well, too. Cabbage, too. Thankfully garlic lasts, as do other citrus like lemons and limes. When in season, winter squashes can be stored outside the fridge. Frozen staples also work well: spinach, vegetables and herbs. I also keep my cooked beans in the freezer.
I always tell myself I will stop coming back from vacations on Sundays, only to be back at work on Monday, but we never learn. Returning from vacation means I also need to find quick-cooking meals that I can make after work, amongst unpacking, laundry and all that jazz from the vacation wrap-up.
Scrap the brown rice. It can take a long time to cook. Instead, I bastardized Gena’s Greek Lemon Soup (Avgolemono) by substituting quinoa. It takes half the time to cook, making a quick and tasty soup. Bright and fresh from the lemon , creamy from the tahini with depth of flavour from the miso, dill and nutritional yeast. Considering traditional avgolemono is made with eggs, the quinoa bastardization seems quite tame.. and quite the fanciful adaptation from the original. Regardless, this is a filling and delicious soup. Enjoy!
Greek Lemon and Quinoa Soup (Vegan Avgolemono)
Adapted from Gena @ Choosing Raw
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small shallots, diced
1 cup carrots, diced (2 carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1.5 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 heaping tbsp dried dill, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots, carrots along with a dash of salt and saute until the shallots are translucent, approximately 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Add the vegetable broth and quinoa and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and quinoa are cooked, around 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the miso, tahini and lemon juice until smooth. Once the soup is finished, add to the soup. Stir in nutritional yeast and dill.
Serves 4 (makes 6 cups).