Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Golden Berries
I love fall for the weather, changing colors (okay not so much now that I'm living in California), and delicious, sweet, pumpkin-y baked goods. Which is also the problem...a girl can only eat so many of those baked goods before your belly is like WHOA GIRL and you just need to eat something a little healthier, a little lighter. We're trying to balance our Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie and Pumpkin Zucchini Bread intake with this savory, flavorful salad. It'll wake your tastebuds up and remind you that healthier dishes can taste pretty damn good, too! It's a great dish for detoxing the crap that has accumulated in your system all month and because quinoa is a complete protein, it'll keep you full longer than you'd expect. This salad has a great mix of sweet (golden berries, roasted butternut squash) and savory (celery, onions, parsley) that makes it a real crowd pleaser. We love using Essential Living Foods Golden Berries in this salad 'cause they keep their foods completely raw, organic, and full of superfood goodness...and they taste amazing! (We're huge fans, and you can check out their complete line of superfoods for yourself here.) It's perfect as a Thanksgiving side dish or a packed-lunch for the week, and we just know you're gonna love it so let's EAT!
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups water
1 cup rainbow (or really any kind) quinoa
1/3 cup celery, sliced thinly
1/3 cup red onions, diced
1/3 cup golden berries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/4 cubes and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt + pepper and bake about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While squash bakes, place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Prepare celery, red onions, golden berries, sliced almonds, and fresh parsley and place it into a large bowl. Set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, dijon, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
When squash and quinoa have finished cooking and cooled, pour the quinoa and roasted butternut squash into the large bowl of veggies and gently toss with a wooden spoon. Drizzle the vinaigrette mixture over the salad and toss again to combine. Serve immediately or save in the fridge up to 3 days in an airtight container. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!
If you don't have/ don't like golden berries or almonds or any other ingredient, sub it out for something you LOVE! This salad is super customizable and you should totally take advantage of that based on your preferences and what you have in the pantry.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Sometimes, I wake up craving salad. I have a hard time eating too many 'lunch' foods before 9 am, but when you want cucumbers, you want cucumbers. The last time this happened (2 days ago), I decided a green smoothie would be the way to go. I made the smoothie and started drinking it...but it was just too sweet. I wanted ONIONS. I wanted CHEEZE. I wanted a salad. To add a bit of protein and circumvent the fact that I didn't actually have any greens, I subbed in a healthy serving of quinoa and mixed in some of my favorite super fresh, summer flavors like radish, lemon, and fresh pear tomatoes straight from the garden. With all those tasty summer flavors you only need a light EEVO + lemon juice dressing and a bit of salt and pepper to round it out! This recipe is ready, start to finish, in about 30 minutes, and is ready for eating IMMEDIATELY! So snack on salad for breakfast- this salad isn't the whimpy green salad your taste buds are expecting. And I promise, it'll hold you over 'till lunch.
3 cups cooked quinoa (we used red quinoa, use what you prefer)
1 heaping cup of cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
1 cup cucumber, sliced & chopped
1/2 cup radishes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 lemons, freshly squeezed (about 1/3 -1/2 cup juice)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup vegan cheeze crumbles (we used Teese Mozzarella!)
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. (Normally 1 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, simmer till water is absorbed.) Set aside to let cool completely before mixing in veggies.
Once cooled, toss in tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, parsley, basil, lemon juice, & olive oil. Toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add in cheeze crumbles and toss gently to incorporate. Refrigerate until serving, makes 8 servings. Leftovers save well in a sealed container for 3-4 days. Enjoy!
Squash & Celeriac Quinoa Stuffing
Thanksgiving is just under a month away, and we want to make this a memorable year. Its our first year being in Maine for the holiday in four years, and we're hosting dinner. With a handful of friends and family headed our way, its gonna be a day full of cooking, eating, and celebrating. This month I'll be making lots of Thanksgiving-themed recipes to get our table (and yours!) full and ready to impress.
And while this stuffing won't be getting stuffed into any Turkeys (or Tur-duck-en, or whatever is trendy this year), it will be stuffed into our hungry mouths, so we're gonna keep the name.
We started with a simple side dish, Quinoa Stuffing. Its made without bread and is gluten-free, making it a much lighter dish and more friendly to our wheat-free friends. The red quinoa adds a festive pop of color and the flavors of butternut squash and celeriac round out the rich, fall flavors.
You may be saying "But GIRL what the hell is celeriac?" about now-ish, and thats okay. Celeriac is really just a fancy sounding word for celery root. Pictured below, it looks sort of like a rutabaga and sort of like a root ball...which it is. It's the bottom half of the celery plant, the part doing all the behind-the-scenes work slurping water out of the ground. And it is my favorite.
Celeriac has the texture of a potato; starchy and rich in flavor, it makes a great thickener in soups, can be made into a mash, and can really replace potatoes in any dish. It adds a ton of celery flavor without the stringiness of using celery stalks or the added sodium of celery salt. It also makes a mean cream of celery soup...but thats another post, for another day. Lets get back to the real star here: all that yummy quinoa stuffing.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3/4 cup diced celeriac (celery root)
3/4 cup diced butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Rinse quinoa, pour in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Avoid stirring and let boil until the quinoa absorbs all the remaining water, about 10-15 minutes. [Tip: For guaranteed perfect quinoa, after all the water is absorbed, turn the heat off and let it sit in the pan with the cover on for at least 10 more minutes. The quinoa will absorb any remaining water left in the pan and stay moist and fluffy!] Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Melt about a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Chop the garlic, onions, butternut squash, and celeriac, and add it to the oil. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until veggies are fork tender- about 20 minutes. Once the veggies are softened, add the thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir coat evenly.
Add the veggies to the quinoa in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the chopped parsley, hazelnuts, and olive oil and toss until everything is evenly distributed.
Now, let's eat!
Tip: Make the quinoa a day or so ahead of time and refrigerate until you're ready to use it on Thanksgiving day. Its way easier and one less thing to worry about!
Saves well in the fridge for about a week. & makes great lunch leftovers.
Baked Black Bean Burgers
Memorial Day weekend is here! Its one of those holidays that everyone celebrates, but rarely for its true meaning. Memorial Day was a holiday designed to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War, but through the years has become a day for recognizing all fallen American soldiers. Lets take a moment and do that, shall we? Even if its just in your head, thank everyone who does nice things for you.
Anyway, as far as most of us are concerned, Memorial Day is just an excuse to stay home from work and have the first barbecue of the summer!
Instead of barbecuing, we decided to bake our very first successful batch of Black Bean Burgers. And they were goooood...and gluten-free!
Plus, they're deceptively easy to make. We took our inspiration from a circular at Mother's Market for the month of May and made burgers with a black bean base...but there are so, so many more delicious ingredients involved than just beans! We wanted to increase the goodness of these burgers as much as possible, so we added some sprouted pumpkin seeds, sweet potato, quinoa, and carrots. You can just never have too much nutritional value!
The addition of BBQ sauce and chili powder adds just the perfect little kick to this smoky black bean burger.
3 cups cooked black beans
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped (we use these) sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 cup freshly grated carrot
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons vegan barbecue sauce
1 Tablespoon (2 cloves) minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
1/4 cup GF oats
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, please!
In a food processor, combine ALL ingredients except oil, water, and oats. Combine until ingredients are all mixed, but not mushy. There will still be some chunks in this burger!
Pour contents of food processor into a large mixing bowl. Add water and oil, and stir well. Add oats to mixture, allowing to absorb any excess moisture.
Form into hockey-puck-ish sized patties, and place onto a non-stick baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes on each side, or until burgers are uniformly browned and cooked all the way through. Serve with tomatoes, avocado, grilled onions, sprouts and your favorite mustard on a delicious whole wheat or gluten-free bun.
Makes 12+ burgers.
Wrap 'em up and they last for a week in the fridge.
Spicy (Foil Baked) Stuffed Peppers
I like to try making things I've never made before. Now that Alex is officially vegan, I decided it was time to really give him a reason to appreciate his decision-by making him lots of yummy food!
The first thing I wanted to make? Stuffed peppers! They always look and taste so good when someone else makes them, I just had to give it a shot. I was feelin' something spicy, so we made our own spicier version of the normal stuffed pepper. Kicked up a notch and topped with salsa, it is SO good! We baked ours in aluminum foil as opposed to baking it in a glass dish, and we thought they turned out great. They essentially steam themselves in their little tin foil cocoons, softening the pepper but not making any of the innards mushy. They're super yummy, and way too easy to make!
2 bell peppers
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 15-ounce can great northern beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First, wash and core peppers. To core peppers, cut off top of pepper and remove. Remove any innards and discard.
Cook quinoa according to directions. Set aside.
Drain beans and place into a frying pan with spices and olive oil. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until beans soften, stirring occasionally.
Chop onions and tomatoes, and prepare salsa and cilantro.
Stuff peppers in layers: quinoa, beans, onions, tomatoes, avocado. Repeat until peppers are filled.
Wrap completely in aluminum foil, about two layers, and place in the oven.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until peppers soften completely.
Serve warm with salsa and cilantro and enjoy!