The Great West Series: Green Quinoa Protein Bowls

I hope you enjoyed the first part of a series of recipes revolving around our two and a half week road trip down The Great West.

The day that lead to this meal was unforgettable. We were supposed to stay by Humbug Mountain the night leading to this day, yet we had to switch gears and adjust to bad weather. Not only was it cold and rainy, but gusty. As we hiked three miles up to the top of the Mountain we could hear the wind roaring through the trees, dark clouds forming in the distance. We sat in the car for a while after hiking back down trying to decide if we should opt out and stay indoors for the night. Cold and wet, we found refuge in a little Inn in the next town south. Having stopped at a town allowed us to do a little grocery shopping for a few ingredients we could eat within a day or two. We settled for half a dozen eggs, arugula, cilantro, a red bell pepper and a couple tomatoes.

The next morning, we were up early and on our way out of Oregon and into California. Though groggy and de-caffeinated, the drive was amazing. Huge redwoods piercing through thick fog set the scene for a day of hiking through bear pawed beaches and quiet forests. We enough bear spray to kill a pack, we walked into the forest, got lost for an hour and a half, then found ourselves surrounded by the thickest trees we had ever seen. The hike ended through a canyon covered in fern. As we ducked under and jumped over fallen trees, we emerged back at the beach, exhausted, and ready for good food.

With a backdrop of golden bluffs we set out to cook one of my favorite meals in my favorite campsite during this whole trip: poached eggs and arugula atop a bed of warm quinoa seasoned with tamari, cumin, and orange juice. This hearty combination of ingredients made for a savory, earthy, yet sweet and refreshing meal. The arugula and cilantro help cut through the bolder flavor of tamari to enliven each bite.  Because we are both obsessed with avocado, and bought plenty for the trip, I added several slices. With a couple of glasses of wine and a decadent meal on or hands we welcomed California!


Green Quinoa Protein Bowls

 Serves 2-3

Cook time: 35-40 minutes

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1-1½  cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of one orange, about ¼ cup
  • 1-2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce, plus more for serving with
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 handful of arugula
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • Small avocado cut into slices

Most of these recipes were developed with little to no measuring equipment; most of the quantities for each ingredient are approximate. Taste as you go! And adjust as you see fit!  

If you are cooking at home, I recommend you rinse the quinoa by placing on a sieve then rinsing with cold water. Before you add the quinoa to the pot make sure drain the water as best you can.

In a saucepan, place quinoa, water, oil and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat. Add orange juice, tamari, and cumin.  Stir, then cover, and cook for about twenty minutes. Remove lid. Quinoa will be ready when a thin white coil emerges around each grain, the center should be sandy colored and translucent. 

Lower heat to low, add half a handful of arugula to the quinoa. Spread it across the top of the quinoa to create a thin layer. Crack each egg onto the quinoa, evenly distributing them throughout. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. The eggs will be ready when the egg whites are fully set and the yolks are still runny. Remove from heat and set aside. Add remaining arugula, cilantro, and avocado slices. Sprinkle with sea salt. To serve, scoop a spoonful containing all at least a whole egg, some arugula quinoa,  lots of greens, and several arugula slices into a bowl. Pour some extra tamari as you eat, i promise you will like it!