Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peanut Ginger Sauce

Quinoa salads are my favorite for sharing at parties, BBQs and family gatherings. They are easy to make, totally adaptable, and packed with clean vegetarian protein.

I developed with recipe last year for my family's Memorial Day BBQ in Maine and it was a HUGE hit! Like most of my recipes, this is more a formula so feel free to swap the raw veggies for whatever you have on hand.

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peanut Ginger Sauce // vegan, gluten free

Ingredients:

- 2 cups dry quinoa
- 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like - 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced green onions
- 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter)
- 4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 6 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 large sweet potato, baked
- 2/3 cup water
- lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Prep your veggies: Bake the sweet potato (either in oven or microwave). Chop cabbage, red bell pepper, cilantro, and green onions. Tip: If you are short on time, buy pre- shredded/pre-chopped veggies! You can also do this the day or night before.

  2. Cook the quinoa: Rinse your quinoa (important step, don’t skip this!) and then cook according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.

  3. Make the Peanut Ginger Sauce: Add peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, and baked sweet potato to your food processor or blender and blend until combined. Add water to thin out (you may need a little more or a little less depending on how large your sweet potato is).

  4. Mix it all up: In a large bowl combine veggies and cooked quinoa. Add in the Peanut Ginger Sauce and mix until everything is coated. Garnish with more cilantro and fresh lime.

 

Yum! I think I may just have to make this again this year... I don't think anyone will mind :)

Need more inspiration for your first big summer BBQ? Check out this post for 5 healthy crowd-pleasing recipes!

Spring Greens Salad with Creamy Chive Dressing

Hi friends!  Popping in tonight with a delicious Meatless Monday recipe for a meal-sized salad.  This is my favorite kind of salad - one that is packed with toppings, healthy fats, and proteins that leaves you feeling full and satisfied, but not heavy or bloated. 

The salad comes together in a pinch.  I didn't get a chance to go shopping until today, but usually I make a big batch of quinoa, plus some type of sauce (like the chive dressing in this recipe) on Sunday.  When you prepare properly, healthy and delicious meals can come together in less than 5 minutes!

Spring Greens Salad with Creamy Chive Dressing // vegan, gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free

Chive Dressing:

-1 cup cashews (ideally soaked for a few hours, but its okay if not)

-1/4 cup lemon juice

-2 tbsp nutritional yeast

-1/2 cup fresh chives

-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

-1 cup water

-Salt + pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to your high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get all the cashews blended into a creamy sauce. 

Not a fan of chives? This would also work well with dill and parsley!

Spring Greens Salad

Note: The measurements below are for one salad. Feel free to double or triple it depending on how many you are planning to serve. 

- 3 cups greens (baby spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard, whatever you got!)

- 1/2 cup peas

- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

- 2 small red radishes, sliced

- 2-3 TBSP Creamy Chive Dressing (above)

- sprouts (optional)

- sauerkraut (optional)

- fresh chives (for garnish)


Assemble all the ingredients and top with the Creamy Chive Dressing.  Top with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, and more fresh herbs, if desired. 


Enjoy!


Things I'm Lovin' Lately - Summer

While the weather is starting to change a bit, my body is still craving summer foods: hydrating, cooling, and light.  Here are some of the things I couldn't get enough of the past few months:

-Quinoa - Since it is technically not a grain, this high protein pseudo-seed had a certain lightness that makes it perfect to tossing in big salads, or mixing with fresh veggies and herbs for a simple, satisfying summer meal.

Salad + quinoa = the dinner of summer 

Salad + quinoa = the dinner of summer 

 

-Grapes - Back when I was in high school I worked as a lifeguard during the summer.  Frozen grapes were one of my favorite snacks for long days spent in the sun.  Even though I don't spend all day in the sun anymore (I wish!), frozen grapes are still one of my top summer treats. 

-Cucumbers - Craving something crunchy and salty? Try this: slice cucumbers, sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne pepper, and drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice. All the satisfaction, none of the guilt. And super cooling too!

Tofu scramble with a side of cuke slices

Tofu scramble with a side of cuke slices

-Romaine and butter lettuces - Dude, I used to hate on romaine... probably because I had never tried a FRESH, LOCAL version of this yummy lettuce varietal.  I'm all about romaine these days.  Chopped up in big, crunchy salads, used as taco shells, or just eaten straight up like chips.  Butter lettuce is another new favorite.  If you live in NYC, check out Gotham Greens.  Seriously superior greens grown in Brooklyn and Queens.  SCORE.

Butter lettuce "tacos" 

Butter lettuce "tacos" 

-KeVita probiotic drink - Everyone knows that I am a big fan of kombucha (I brew my own!), but this may be my new bubbly of choice.  KeVita is like kombucha in that it has tons of healthy probiotics, but it's made with stevia so it's much lighter. 

-Thunderbird Energetica bars - I discovered these bars when I was in San Antonio last month.  Made with wholesome ingredients like dates, nuts, buckwheat, vegetables, and spices, and free of added sweeteners, these were a huge hit in my book.  They taste great and most are about 160-180 calories, which is a perfect snack in my mind.

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What at have been your go-to summer foods this year? 

Super Simple Summer Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has been my go-to protein this summer.  It's light, yet filling, and adaptable to whatever flavor mood you are in.  I love it plain, mixed into giant salads, but last night I was looking for something a little different that would please the whole family, and so this super simple recipe was created.  Full of fresh flavors, this is perfect for a quick summer dinner or side dish.  Even my mom was a fan.

Super Simple Summer Quinoa Salad - Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

Ingredients:

2 cups dry quinoa

5-6 small tomatoes (like Roma)

Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Prepare quinoa according to instructions on package. Tip:  Don't forget to RINSE your quinoa.  This is really important as quinoa has a natural coating which is not so pleasant tasting if not rinsed off.

While quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add to your serving bowl.  Add in chopped basil and lemon juice.  Note:  Adding the hot quinoa to the tomatoes allows them to soften a bit, which my family loved.  No big deal if you already have cooked quinoa that is cooled, but you may not achieve the same result.

Once quinoa is done, add to serving bowl (over the tomatoes) and mix.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with more fresh basil (if desired).  Enjoy!

I can see this recipe also being delicious served over fresh greens, such as arugula or baby kale.  It would also be lovely to add in other grilled veggies (such as portabello mushrooms and squash).