Red Quinoa Salad with Spiced Roasted Squash, Black Beans, Maple Toasted Pepitas and a Chipotle Dressing

This post is half recipe, half product review. I must admit, I was never a fan of mayo or miracle whip growing up. However, after transitioning to a plant based diet, I fell in love with Vegenaise (a vegan version of miracle whip). Recently a new company, Just Mayo, released a vegan mayo. We brought some into the deli and I played around with it, but wasn’t in love with it. Two new products from Just Mayo happened to catch my eye – Chipotle and Garlic infused. I am a fan of spice, so I gave the Chipotle a try. Turns out, it’s pretty great. I had it on a veggie sandwich yesterday and today I made a fabulous quinoa salad. The flavored mayos are definitely versatile and can be utilized in different ways. It would be fun making a pasta salad or mashed chickpea (faux chicken) salad as well!!

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Ingredients

– 1/2 kabocha squash, seeded, peeled and diced
– Arizona spice mix from Penzey’s
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 1 c cooked black beans
– a handful of maple toasted pepitas (recipe follows)
– 2 Tbls Maple Syrup
– 1 Tbls melted coconut oil
– Cayenne
– Cinnamon
– salt
– olive oil
– Just Mayo Chipotle style
– Apple cider vinegar

1. First, preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the squash in olive oil and toss with Arizona spice mix and salt. Roast until soft
2. Next, make the dressing by mixing together Just Mayo chipotle, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chipotle, olive oil and salt
3. For the pepitas, I only use a handful – but I make a large batch because they’re fun to snack on and always disappear quickly. I toss 2 c of raw pepitas with maple syrup, olive oil, cayenne, cinnamon and salt. I roast at 400F for a few minutes then set outside to cool
4. Assemble the salad by adding quinoa, beans, squash, pepitas and dressing. Salt and pepper to taste

Warm Spinach Salad with Sautéed Garlic, Butter Beans, Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets

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After a 5 days on the road, indulging on a variety of food and spirits, my body needed a detox. I knew once I got home, did a mound of laundry, put things back in their places; I would not be enthused to spend a large amount of time in the kitchen. I made a quick and practical meal which utilized elements I had on hand. You can apply this concept to other ingredients you have. No spinach? How about bok choy, cabbage, kale or swiss chard? Not a fan of beets? Try a different root veggie, perhaps a carrot or roasted sweet potato. To make it vegan, omit the goat cheese, or make a delicious vegan parmesan topping! Whichever you choose, I am confident you can use a minimal amount of ingredients for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Ingredients
– 1 16oz package organic spinach
– 1 12oz can butter beans
– 1 clove garlic
– olive oil
– salt
– 1 medium beet
– goat cheese
– lemon infused olive oil for garnish
– salt/pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the beet with some oil. You can leave the skin on. Roast the beet until it can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven, cool, peel, then cut into diced pieces
2. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium. While it’s warming, slice a clove of garlic very thin. Add the garlic to the oil, cook until fragrant
3. Add the butter beans to the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then slowly add in the spinach. Cook the spinach until just wilted
4. Dress the salad with some goat cheese, serve with beets on the side (for presentation purposes only, prevents the salad from becoming discolored)

Vegan Portobello Ramen with Kelp Noodles

Every so often a product comes in that throws me through a loop. Kelp noodles were such a product. I assumed that the noodles would have a strong seaweed taste. Well, you know what they say about people who assume?… Right. So, it turns out, the kelp noodles have zero flavor.

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Another surprise was that they were mildly crunchy and a little chewy, giving them a great dimension of texture. How cool is that!?

Realizing I now had a blank canvas to work with, I decided to stick with the Asian theme. I made a Thai peanut salad with kelp noodles which took the place of soba noodles. It was delicious. Later that night, I came across a recipe for Kelp Noodle Ramen. I was sold. When I got to the deli the next morning, I played around with the recipe, eventually settling on what I have below. It is absolutely delicious. And, if you would like softer noodles, try soaking them in water overnight. Otherwise you can simmer them for an hour on the stove.

Ingredients
– 2 pkg kelp noodles
– 2 large portobello caps, peeled, destemmed, and chopped
– 1/4 c oil (I used olive oil)
– 1″ ginger, grated
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 tsp tamari
– 8-10 c water
– 1-2 Tbls veg base
– 1 Tbls vegan fish sauce
– 2 eggs, whisked (optional)
– cilantro for garnish
– sriracha for garnish

1. In a large soup pot, pour in olive oil. Turn the heat on and add the diced mushrooms. After 5 minutes, or when the mushrooms are turning tender, add the ginger, garlic and tamari. Cook for 1-2 minutes
2. Next, add the fish sauce, water and veg base. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer
3. If you soaked your noodles overnight, add them now along with the whisked egg. Once the egg is cooked, taste and add any additional seasonings or spices.
4. If you did not soak your noodles, let noodles simmer in the broth for about an hour. Right before you remove the ramen from the heat, add the whisked egg. Keep the pot on the heat until the egg is cooked
5. Top your ramen with cilantro and sriracha!

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Simple Thai Curry with Winter Squash and Broccoli

If you are looking for a fast meal that is full of flavor, this recipe is your winning ticket. I found this fantastic curry paste at a nearby co-op. The Kanokwan paste is vegan, gluten free and MSG free. I’ve had Thai Kitchen’s curry paste before, and that is okay, but this is an authentic paste from Thailand!

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If you aren’t keen on squash or broccoli, feel free to mix in any veggies of your liking. I prefer pairing the squash with this yellow curry because it reminds me of one of my favorite dishes from Chang Mai Thai in Minneapolis.

As you will see, the biggest challenge of this meal was peeling the squash.

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Progress….

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Normally I chop off both ends of the squash and guide my knife, cutting end to end. However, this was a superman squash with a skin of steel. After 10 minutes of labor, I successfully removed the outer layer. If your knife skills aren’t up to par, or if you are working with a dull knife, I highly recommend you invest in frozen squash cubes. There are a few great organic brands in the freezer section!

I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. Enjoy!!

Ingredients
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 tsp ginger, grated
– coconut oil
– 1 small squash, diced
– 1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
– 1 packet of curry paste
– 1 can coconut milk

1. Melt coconut oil in a skillet. Add onion. Once the onion is fragrant, add garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes
2. Add the curry paste and let the spices cook together for a few minutes. Next, add the coconut milk, squash and broccoli
3. Simmer over low heat until the squash is tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the squash and size of your diced pieces)
4. Serve over basmati rice

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Brown Butter Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glazed Cinnamon Walnut Filling

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In theory, this should be amazing. I mean, sugary, gooey, nutty filling? Freshly pureed pumpkin? Ok, well I used the canned stuff, but the organic canned pumpkin. Either way, this wasn’t a total success. I pulled the bread too early and it was very dense and chewy. I would suggest using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Also, be careful of over stirring. This can cause your breads to be tough and chewy.

What I love about this bread is the subtle sweetness from the maple syrup and walnut glazed filling; combined with the earthy and rich taste of pumpkin. I found it to be even more delicious sliced and toasted in the oven, then slathered with a generous layer of coconut oil.

I hope you have fun experimenting with this recipe! I will write the vegetarian version which I tested, along with the veganized parts.

ingredients
– 1 1/2 c pureed pumpkin
– 1 egg (1 flax egg, 3 Tbls water+1 Tbls flax)
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1/2 c maple syrup
– 2 Tbls heavy cream (or non-dairy cream)
– 1/3 c brown butter (or 1/3 c oil)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 2 c flour (try cake flour, if possible)

for the filling
– 1 c roasted walnuts
– 2 Tbls maple syrup
– 2 Tbls dark brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. First, prep the filling by combining all ingredients, and set aside
2. Next, preheat the oven to 350. Whisk all of the wet ingredients in one bowl, set aside
3. In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients, combine with a whisk or fork. Then, fold the wet ingredients into the dry
4. With cooking spray, coat a loaf pan then pour half of the batter into the pan. Add the walnut filling and top with remaining bread dough
5. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes
6. Test bread with a knife or toothpick, if it comes out dry, it’s done! Let cook for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Allow the bread to sit on a baking rack for 30 minutes before cutting