Quinoa and pinto bean loaf

May 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm (Beans, C (2 stars, okay, edible), Grains, Miso, Ron Pickarski)

I have recently acquired a new cookbook, and so according to my one in, one out policy, one of my old cookbooks has got to go.  Scanning the shelf, Ron Pickarski’s book Friendly Foods caught my eye.  It’s a vegan cookbook published in 1991, and written by a Franciscan monk.  It includes quite a few seitan, tempeh, and tofu recipes, and a whole section on recipes for which the author won a medal in the Culinary Olympics!  I used Friendly Foods a few times in college, but (as far as I recall) not since then.  It seemed a good choice to pass on.   But I couldn’t get rid of it without giving it at least one last chance to wow me.  So Derek and I sat down and picked a few recipes to try.  The first one I made was this quinoa loaf.  It’s mostly quinoa mixed with celery, pinto beans, some other veggies, and seasonings.  It sounded a bit strange but I like quinoa a lot and I had just made a pot of pinto beans, so I decided I’d give it a try.


  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fennel
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 4 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 4 Tbs. tahini
  • 4 Tbs. stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbs. gluten flour


  1. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan along with the water and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until all the water has evaporated (about 15 minutes).  Set aside.
  2. While the quinoa cooks chop the veggies.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.  Saute the celery, fennel, onions, garlic, and bell pepper, along with the salt, marjoram, and cardamom, for about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning.  Add the cooked quinoa and the sesame seeds, pinto beans, and tahini to the sauted vegetables.  Blend the ingredients.
  3. Mix the two flours together and blend into the vegetable and quinoa mixture.  Line a large loaf pan with a baking sheet liner and lightly oil the liner.  (Or just oil and flour the pan.)  Press the mixture into the pan.  Bake at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes.  (The loaf should reach an internal temperature of 180-200 degrees F.)  Let the loaf cool, inverted for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.  Serve the loaf in slices.

My notes:

I used a little less water in my quinoa than the recipe calls for, but it cooked perfectly in 15 minutes.   I had a hard time mixing all the ingredients in my 12-inch skillet.  I should have used a large saucepan to saute the veggies.  I don’t know what a baking sheet liner is so I used parchment paper.  I had to really press hard to get the ingredients to all fit in my loaf pan, but in the end they just barely fit.

Except for the end pieces, the slices didn’t hold together that well.  They kind of crumbled as I cut them.  Flavorwise, it reminded me a little bit of the five grain croquettes from Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.  (That recipe also calls for quinoa, celery, onion, and red bell pepper.)  But I like the flavor and texture of the croquettes quite a bit more.  I couldn’t taste the marjoram or cardamom, but my cardamom is a bit old.  Still, I don’t think I’d make this recipe again.

The first night I served this Derek wasn’t too excited about it.  He said it was fine but not worth making again.  His favorite part was the pintos, but they’re pretty sparse.  He liked it more the next day.

I also made the carrot sauce from the same cookbook to serve with the loaf, but it turned out very salty.  I should have realized that it was going to be too salty since it calls for some vegetable bouillon, salt, and  quite a bit of miso.  Whoops!  In addition to salt the main flavor was orange zest.  The recipe includes one Tablespoon orange zest as an optional ingredient.  I just had one orange and so didn’t get nearly a tablespoon of zest.  Still the flavor really dominated.  I wonder what it would taste like with less salt and no orange zest?  It was a pretty easy recipe so maybe I’ll try it again.

Rating: B-

Derek: B

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