Hey guys! In regards to my subscribers not getting emails, I have been told it was due to a malfunction in the plug-in I used to send out the emails. But a new version was released that is supposed to have fixed this bug so I sincerely hope you are all receiving my emails again. Some have already told me they are, so fingers crossed everyone is!
It was quite a while ago when I first mentioned Alter Eco company on my blog. I had received one of their chocolate bars in a pen pal swap with the lovely Shelby and just loved it! It wasn’t too long after I was contacted by the company and we’ve been talking ever since, just waiting for a good time for me to try out some of their other products and host a giveaway. Well my friends, the time has come!
Firstly, I just want to thank Alter Eco for their generosity! They sent me a very generous package complete with Rainbow Quinoa, Thai Sticky Purple Rice and 5 different kinds of chocolate bars! Crazy right?
Yes I know there are only 4 bars pictured here, but the roommate got to one before I could take the picture!
I have a lot of respect for this company. With a focus on providing equitable and sustainable products, they strive to provide us with organic, heirloom, minimally processed foods while giving back to the farmers to ensure a more socially just planet. You can really feel good about buying and eating these products which can be tricky to come across these days.
Now onto the products themselves. First we’ll start with dessert. Or amazing decadent chocolate that is. Now I’m a chocolate person, but I dare anyone to dislike these bars! The quality is superb with a rich, smooth chocolate base that makes one square more than enough to satisfy a craving. Here are the 5 bars they sent me:
47% cocoa with coconut nut toffee, butter and sea salt. Now I didn’t try this one since it had dairy in it, but my roommate sure downed it pretty quickly which I take as a good sign ;)
63% cocoa with crunchy cacao nibs. This was a bittersweet bar with rich sweetness coming from the chocolate and a bitter crunchiness from the cacao nibs. I loved the flavour and the antioxidant punch that comes with the nibs. They added great texture.
60% cocoa with slow roasted almonds. This was probably by favourite. Toasty, nutty crunch from the almonds complimented a deep dark chocolate beautifully.
60% cocoa with toasted quinoa. The quinoa provides a nutty crunch, similar to a rice krispy that makes this bar like a high-quality, super-amazing version of a Crunchy bar.
85% cocoa, straight up with nothing added. This was very intense and dark with fruity undertones. One of my favourites since I just love dark chocolate! Scroll down for a recipe using it!
Next were the grains.
This rice was simply gorgeous! It cooked up to a beautiful purple colour and was just as sticky as you would expect! It made eating dishes with chopsticks very easy and just soaked up loads of delicious sauces. Amazing when dry toasted before cooking.
It is for these reasons, I highly recommend making a curry to go with this rice.
See that beautiful colour? Doesn’t it just brighten up the whole plate?
Easy Weeknight Curry with Thai Purple Sticky Rice (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)
Ingredients (Serves ~4)
- 1 cup Thai Purple Sticky Rice
- 2 cups water
- oil for sautéing (I used coconut)
- 1 small onion (1 used 3 tiny Dutch onions)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
- your favourite veggies (I used yellow pepper, orange pepper, carrots, broccoli)
- 4 cups of the green of your choice (I used kale), it sounds like a lot, but it will wilt down
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp good quality curry powder (I used the one Alexia sent me!)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- diced tomato for topping (optional)
First, get your rice cooking! Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Dry toast the rice over medium-low heat next in a medium saucepan, until it becomes nutty and fragrant and the grains are almost dry. Add the water to the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 min, or until all the water is absorbed.
Melt your coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and just starting to brown. Next add the garlic, chilli flakes and cumin and sauté for another minute. Add the rest of your veggies, next, starting with the ones that will take longest to cook (like broccoli and carrots), cook for a few minutes then add faster cookies ones like bell peppers). Sauté for a minute.
Now pour in the can of coconut milk and stir in the 2 tbsp of curry powder. Turn up the heat on the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring in the curry powder. Once simmering add the kale, or whichever green you are using, stir to incorporate then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the curry over Thai Sticky Purple Rice and use the rice to sop up every last ounce of the sauce!
This combination of white, red and black quinoa was simply fantastic. I loved the colour this quinoa gave to dishes and it helped me to incorporate some of the other quinoa varieties into my diet besides the white. For some reason I have never been a fan of red quinoa on it’s own- something about the texture, but as a part of this mix it was lovely! Plus it’s organic, sustainable and equitably traded with a focus on small farmers. which made me feel better about eating it. Have you guys read about all the problems with producing quinoa these days? Read this article about Bolivia, it really makes you think twice about this nutritious grain. Alter Eco’s methods help to combat these issues which is admirable.
When I was thinking about a recipe to make with the quinoa, I really wanted to go for something different and I wanted to include another of Alter Eco’s products in it- the chocolate. I know I could have done a chocolate dessert quinoa version of a rice pudding but I wanted to take it in a different direction. What resulted in a delicious rainbow quinoa pilaf with a flax-citrus dressing and chocolate chunks that is so intriguing in it’s flavours. The citrus dressing compliments the chocolate gorgeously and the quinoa provides a delicious, nutritious back drop to tie everything in. I used beets and green beans as my vegetables, but feel free to mix it up with whatever you have!
Rainbow Quinoa and Chocolate Pilaf with Flax Citrus Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free)
Ingredients (Serves ~6)
- 1 cup Royal Rainbow Quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 a red onion, diced and submerged in ice water for 10 minutes. This helps reduce it’s pungency! Thanks for the tip Caralyn!
- 1 cup (ish) chopped green beans
- 3 large leaves red swiss chard, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 golden beets, peeled and grated
- 1/2 a bar of your favourite dark chocolate (I used Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout), chopped
- 3 tbsp – 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flax oil
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Bragg’s
- 1 tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
- juice of 1/2 an orange
First, rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear in a fine-meshed strainer. Then, dry toast the quinoa in a medium saucepan until it’s fragrant and almost dry. Then add in the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. About 2 minutes before it’s done add the chopped green beans and stir in to combine. When the quinoa is done, remove from the heat and add in the swiss chard. Stir and cover, then allow it to sit for a few minutes. This will soften the chard without overcooking it.
Add the quinoa mixture, red onion, and golden beets to a large bowl. Cover and allow it to chill in the fridge until completely cool. If it’s too warm the chocolate will melt when you add it.
While you’re waiting combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well.
When the quinoa is chilled mix in the chocolate chunks and the dressing. Allow it to sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours combine. Just before serving add the pumpkin seeds.
I am submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday!
This was so satisfying! The sweet chocolate is balanced perfectly from the sourness in the dressing, the bitterness of the chard and pungency of the onions. The dressing alone is amazing- I can’t wait to make it again!
I highly recommend supporting this company! Not only are their ethics totally in line, they make delicious products that are incredibly versatile and nutritious. Check them out!
Now because they are so awesome, Alter Eco has offered to send one lucky reader some goodies! Just enter the giveaway below. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, but everything else is optional. Good luck!