How to make a fancy vegan dinner for 2

you too can make a fancy vegan dinner!

you too can make a fancy vegan dinner!

Usually my recipes are simple and take less than 30 minutes, but yesterday when I realized I’ve been making a lot of posts about smoothies I was determined to make something slightly more elaborate. When I saw Tal Ronnen‘s recipe for Quinoa, Avocado and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing, I knew I had a winner.

The whole thing took me less than 2 hours to make, but really I think it could be done in less than 1h30 the first time and less than an hour once you really figured it out. The main drawback is actually that it involves so many elements. This resulted in me forgetting a few parts (like the avocado), but it still turned out delicious! (Even my meat-loving boyfriend asked to finish off the extras!)

The other problem with this recipe is the tomatillo factor. I have yet to see tomatillos in Paris, so I substituted a green pepper and the juice of a lime. I think I picked the wrong season for juicy limes and after roasting and boiling the green pepper it was still pretty difficult to blend.

the un-juciest lime ever

Other than that, it’s just a matter of managing the order and timeline of how you want to prepare all of the elements. Let me know what you think!

Here’s the recipe:
Servings: Two
Time: 1h-1h30

1 cup quinoa, cooked in one cube vegetable stock
1/2 jalapeño, minced (can find at most fruit/veggie shops in Paris)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Sweet Potatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crispy Tortilla Strips
Canola oil
1 corn tortilla, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I forgot this too, I had planned to substitute a dash of cumin and paprika, still very delicious without)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Dressing
2 tomatillos in olive oil, skins removed (or, soften a green bell pepper by boiling + juice of a lime)
3 heaping tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or other vinegar, I used vinaigre de vin)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon light agave nectar (or honey, or some sugar)

1 avocado, sliced
microgreens/ leafy topping (I used arugula)


1. Make the quinoa:
Place all of the quinoa ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together. Set aside.


quinoa cooked in vegan bouillon

2. Make the sweet potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). In a small bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until soft in the middle and lightly browned.

sweet potatoes out of the oven

sweet potatoes out of the oven

3. Make the dressing:
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss the tomatillos with 1 teaspoon of the oil. (Or boil the pepper) Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; add the vinegar, cilantro and agave nectar, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a thin stream. Continue blending until emulsified.


the dressing

4. Make the tortilla strips
Pour 2 inches of oil into a small, heavy pot and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crisp and browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning.

5. Assemble the salads:
Place a 3-inch ring mold (or use a round cup/small round dish) in the center of one of 2 plates. Fill with 1/4 of the quinoa mixture and press down with a spoon to pack the mold, smoothing the top. Place the sweet potato pieces on top of the quinoa and press down gently.
Top with 1/4 of the avocado and press down gently. Carefully remove the mold. Repeat on the remaining plate.

preparing the lovely creation

preparing the lovely creation

prep potatoes

arranging the sweet potatoes on the quinoa

6. Carefully arrange 2-3 tortilla on top of each timbale. Top the timbales with the microgreens and drizzle the dressing around the timbales.


i’m not a sauce drizzling pro yet


time to eat!


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