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“Crispy” Quinoa

I used red quinoa in this recipe because I finally found it for a decent price at Trader Joes.  Regular golden color quinoa can be used as well.  I called this “Crispy” quinoa because mine didn’t really turn out crispy.  It definitely had a different texture than regularly cooked quinoa, but I wouldn’t say it was crisp.  More like hard and chewy, which doesn’t sound so good, but was actually quite nice.

When sauteing the quinoa, it will loose about 1/4 of its volume after it is done.  The original recipe says it’ll take 2-3 minutes to get “crispy.”  Mine took >15 minutes, but I also added too much water while it was boiling, so crisping time will vary.  Not sure if you can see the difference in these pictures, but the before quinoa is fluffier and soft.  The after quinoa is harder and rolls around in the pan.  During this whole process I just felt like I cooked quinoa and then was turning it back into dried quinoa, haha.



Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen.


makes 5 servings

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1-1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 -1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 1 bag of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


  • 1/4 cup meyer lemon juice (regular lemon will work too)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried italian herbs (mix of oregano, parsley, basil)
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

When cooking quinoa for this salad you want to use a 1/1.5 ratio of quinoa to liquid when cooking.  I used 1-1/2 cups of dried quinoa with 2-1/4 cups water.  You want a drier, slightly undercooked quinoa before you fry it up so it gets crispy.  Bring quinoa, salt and water to a boil and then lower heat to Low and cover for 15 minutes.  Make sure quinoa is cooked and on the drier side.  If excess liquid remains, drain the water.

Heat canola oil in a saute pan.  Add quinoa and stir.  Saute until quinoa becomes dry and toasted.  This will take 5-15 minutes depending on how dry the original quinoa was.  Quinoa will become harder and will slide around the pan easier than the moist quinoa.  Allow quinoa to cool.  It can be stored overnight in the fridge.

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

Toss together greens, quinoa, almonds, and dried cranberries with dressing.


Quinoa with Apples & Celery

I know, another quinoa salad.  They do all kind of sounds/look/taste the same, but in a good way, maybe?  See, I like quinoa.  I love rice/pasta, and quinoa does a good job of tricking me into thinking I’m eating one of these things.  Apparently quinoa has been food blogged to death, eh, I say keep the quinoa salads coming.  And we got a good in focus picture!

Adapted from Quick-Fix Vegetarian.


makes 5 servings

  • 1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 apples
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 3-4 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped toasted walnuts
  • greens (such as spinach)


  • 4½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2¼ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
  • salt and pepper

Add quinoa to a pot. Add 3 cups water.  Add salt.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed, 20 minutes.  Combine apples and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss to coat.  Add the celery, onions, and parsley.  Add cooled quinoa.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Toss salad with dressing.  Serve over greens. Garnish with toasted walnuts.

Black-Eyed Peas and Other Beans

Do you remember that awful restaurant called Black-Eyed Pea?  This recipe makes me think of it which in turn makes me think of my grandparents who liked going there.

This salad is nothing like what was served at that restaurant to old people.  It’s quite good, despite all the beans.  I used to be scared of bean salads, but I’ve learned they are not that scary.

Adapted from The Vegetarian Salmon.  The vegetarian salmon should thank me, I made her salad look good, unlike her photos.  Ok, I guess there is something to be said about good food photography, even if it is on a paper plate.


makes 5 servings

  • 1 can black beans
  •  1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can black-eyed beans
  • 3/4 to 1 cup red onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bag of greens


  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Open the cans of beans and rinse really well in a colander.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, except the greens, and stir.  Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Pour over all ingredients and stir well.  Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to meld together.  Serve over greens.

Sesame Soba Noodles with Snap Peas

I saw watercress in the store so decided to add it to this salad.  It came with the roots on.  I had to go to 2 stores to find tahini because I wasn’t going to pay $7 for it at Whole Foods.  I’ve always wanted to make homemade hummus.  Now that I have a new jar of tahini it may just be that time.  Looking forward to peeling chickpeas.

Adapted from eat, live, run.


makes 5 servings

  • 1 lb. sliced sugar snap peas, blanched
  • 4 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • sesame seeds
  • 12 oz dry soba noodles


  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • about 3 Tablespoons hot water (depending on how thick or thin you like it)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Boil a pot of water, add snap peas and blanch for 30 seconds.  Scoop out peas and rinse with cold water; proceed to use pot of boiling water to cook the soba noodles (according to package directions). When done, drain and rinse noodles immediately in cold water. Set aside.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients (starting with garlic & ginger) in a small food processor. Process until very smooth. Add the hot water last, to desired thickness. This sauce shouldn’t be too thick or overly thin and runny.

Toss noodles, snap peas, and green onions with dressing and top with sesame seeds.  Serve on top of a small bed of watercress.

Broccoli and Avocado

This salad is very green.  We loaded up on avocado while our member who hates avocado (what?  I know.) was out of town.  Even the pistachios are camouflaged green.

When blanching the broccoli I like to use the boiling water for another use, like pasta for dinner, so that’s something to keep in mind and plan for.  It seem like such a waste to boil water to just cook broccoli for 1 minute.  I use this colander scoop to just scoop out all the broccoli pieces instead of draining the water.  The water may be a bit green, but still usable for things like pasta.

Adapted from 101cookbooks.


makes 4 servings

  • 1 medium head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, florets and stalks cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 small avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup toasted pistachios
  • a bit of crumbled feta


  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons of dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the broccoli and simmer for just a minute or so until the broccoli is bright and just tender. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking, pat dry with a clean cloth, and set aside.

Trim the base off the head of romaine, then slice it crosswise into 1/2-inch strips of lettuce. Wash well and dry gently but completely. Set aside someplace cold until ready to use.  Whisk together dressing ingredients.

Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine the broccoli, lettuce, and pistachios with a generous slug of vinaigrette. Toss well, add the avocado, and gently toss once or twice more.  Serve topped with the feta, and a pinch of salt if needed.


Mexican Spinach Salad

Unfortunately I made this salad last year and never got the photo for it.  I typed up the recipe already so I thought I’d just post it anyway.

I forgot the beans!  It still tasted ok, but no protein.  I had leftover sour cream, which inspired this dressing.  Its another creamy light green dressing.


makes 4 servings

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 cup mexican blend of cheeses, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2.5 avocados, cubed
  • 1/2 bag of frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix dressing ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth.  Toss all salad ingredients (except avocado) with dressing.  Top with avocado cubes.

Carrot and Chickpea

The mint and cumin make this salad nicely herbed and spiced.  I thought about just grating the carrots in the food processor, but thought I’d try making the whisper thin disks.  I’m glad I did.  These were extra crunchy and only took about 10 minutes to slice them all on the mandoline, really.  I didn’t even peel the carrots.  When using the mandoline, remember to not cut the top off of the carrot first.  This will be your handle as you get down to the last nub of carrot, then you just throw it away.

We’ve tried a lot of different chickpeas and have determined that organic canned ones are the best/easiest.  I think I mentioned this before, but we tried boiling dried chickpeas once  and we didn’t think they tasted any different from the canned.

Adapted from 101 cookbooks.


makes 5 servings

  • ~2 lbs carrots, shredded on a box grater or sliced whisper thin on a mandolin
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup  fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios/sunflower seeds
  • 1 romaine heart, sliced into ribbons


  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dried cranberries, mint, romaine, and nuts.  Gently toss until everything is evenly coated.

Marrakesh Couscous

Happy New Year!  Sorry it’s taken a few weeks to start posting again.  We actually started eating salads again the Thursday after New Year’s day, so I’m a little behind already.

I also had a realization over my holiday break.  I used to get jealous of all the other pretty blogs with their perfect pictures and fancy plates, but now I realize that our salads are real.  On paper plates.  On formica tables.  Sometimes over/under exposed.  Sometimes really pink.  We show what they really look like and tell how long it takes a real person to chop up everything.   That’s all.  I’m happy with my simple salad blog.

Adapted from: Robin Robertson’s Vegan Fire and Spice.


makes 5 servings

  • 2 cups vegetable broth, vegetable bouillon or water
  • 2 cups quick-cooking couscous
  • ½ cup dried currants or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 hot chile, seeded and minced
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 bag of greens (we used spinach)

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous and raisins. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, carrot, chile, scallions, coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved couscous mixture and the lemon juice and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Serve over greens.

Pink Beet

The dressing for this was light green before tossing with the beets.  Then it turned pink, like everything does when it touches beets.  It looks like it’s going to be sickly sweet, but it’s just beets and avocado dressing.  I was interested to see the picture of this salad from the original post (and also from the Holiday Salad we made a few weeks ago, that turned gross looking after we tossed it) to see if they got the same pink salads we got, but they cheated by just plating the salad and then drizzling the dressing on top of each serving.  They got pretty salads.

Inspired by ohsheglows.


makes 4 servings

  • 3 red beets
  • 3 golden beets
  • 8 to 10 satsuma mandarins
  • greens of choice (we used red leaf lettuce)


  • 1/2 cup avocado flesh
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of the can)
  • 5 tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp grapefruit juice (optional)
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • water (as needed)

Preheat the oven to 425F. Trim both ends of each beet and wash well. Place a few beets on a large piece of tin foil. Drizzle with oil and wrap up. Do the same for the other 3 beets on another sheet of foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45-75 minutes, until a fork pricks through fairly easy. Check beets after 30 mins of roasting, and every 15 minutes thereafter. Cooking time will depend on the size…ours took 60-75 minutes.

With oven mitts on, carefully open the tin foil and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Now peel off the skin and discard. Slice beets into wedges.

While the beets roast, peel and section the satsumas.

Blend the dressing ingredients together (in a food processor). Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more sweetener, juice, or salt if desired. If dressing is too thick, add water to achieve desired consistency.

To assemble, toss beets and mandarins with dressing and serve over greens.

Quinoa Mache and Avocado

This recipe uses frozen corn, which works really well, suprisingly.  It doesn’t even need to be cooked, just thawed (overnight in the fridge).  We’ve had good experiences with Whole Foods 365 Organic Frozen Sweet White Corn.”  It thaws well and does not end up mushy or rubbery.  Fresh corn in the middle of winter, who knew.

I can sometimes find mache at Trader Joes.  Whole Foods must also carry it.  Funny, last year when I was in Paris, I saw it everywhere in all the grocery stores.  I saw it along with a lot of roquette (arugula, as in rocket, that’s why it’s called that, ahh I see).

Inspired by ohsheglows.


makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen-thawed)
  • 1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bag of mache greens


  • 4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (Juice from 2 small limes)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste

Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.  While quinoa is cooking, prepare the chopped vegetables and blend together the dressing.  Allow quinoa to cool after cooking for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the beans and vegetables and toss well.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on top of mache and top with avocado pieces.