Quinoa for Christmas

By Glauce Fleury

The holidays are just around the corner and I’ve been asked, “What will you eat these days if you no longer eat meat?” Well, I know most of us grew up having meat in high standards, but let’s analyze this just a little bit.

We’ve seen meat as the best of all foods: tastes good, provides high amounts of protein and satiates our hunger even when we eat tiny bits. But are we so sure that meat has only benefits? Is it something like “the more , the merrier?”

A common question I’ve been asked since I went vegan four months ago is, “Where do you get your protein from?” There’s an obsession about how much protein we eat, as if meat were the holy grail.

Look, I’m not denying the importance of protein (we’re even preparing a post to clarify myths and share correct information about this nutrient — our blogger Amanda Tesser is taking care of it).

What I’m trying to say is that we eat too much meat. This habit has been harmful to our health, the animals and the environment.

Nobody has ever said that only protein from meat keeps us healthy. Nuts, seeds, legumes (beans and peas) and grains are all important sources of protein. I have cooked a lot and have eaten so well. The secret is to vary what you cook.

Quinoa and rice are among the types of grains we can get protein from. I cooked quinoa this weekend and it was so delicious (and healthy) that I’ll share the recipe below. It could be one of the dishes for a vegan/vegetarian Christmas meal, or a vegan date.

As it had been a long time since I ate eggplant, I also included this veggie in my dinner. See below what I prepared. And take a look at how many nutrients were present in such a simple meal. I’ll be back with more!


  • 200g Quinoa (protein)
  • 1 Large eggplant (fibre)
  • 6 Large leaves of spinach (iron)
  • A handful of sunflower seeds (protein | iron)
  • 2 Large carrots (vitamin A)
  • Cooked beans (iron | magnesium)
    NOTE: Beans were not originally part of this recipe. I added them to my plate because, since I’ve eaten beans daily, I had them in the fridge (my beans are particularly tasty).
  • 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Canola oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Greek seasoning
  • Fortified nutritional yeast (B12)

Directions 1

  1. Finely chop all the veggies. Set them aside.
  2. Cook quinoa as you prefer (I bought a veggie option that came with a package of seasoning). Set it aside.

Directions 2

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil at medium temperature.
  2. Add the onion and cilantro.
  3. When the onion is golden, add the carrots and eggplant.
    NOTE: Every time you add new ingredients, stir the mixture.
  4. Add Greek seasoning, black pepper and salt.
  5. Add soy sauce.
  6. If the mixture is dry (mine was a bit), add about 50ml of water. Stir it for 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce to low temperature and simmer these veggies, covered, for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.

Decorating your plate

  1. Place the spinach leaves on your plate.
  2. Put quinoa on top of the leaves (if you have time, you can make wraps).
  3. Add the mixture of eggplant and carrots on the side.
  4. Add two large spoons of beans (if you wish).
  5. Sprinkle nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds.

Serves: 2 people.

Remember to drink orange juice (or similar) when eating iron-based meals. Vitamin C helps improve the absorption of iron.

Quinoa and eggplant. (Photos credit: Glauce Fleury)

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