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!!



– 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


Chinese 5-Spice Quinoa and Cabbage Salad


Nothing makes me happier than when I create a recipe from my own creative devices. Such was the case with this Chinese 5-Spice Quinoa and Cabbage Salad. We had an abundance of cabbage on hand, so I decided to start there. I sautéed it with some onion, garlic and ginger, adding the red pepper at the end. The only challenge was perfecting the dressing. I’ve come pretty close to doing this, but seem to still be tweaking it since I am terrible at writing measurements down. So, be aware that the recipe for the dressing is a complete guesstimate. Feel free to play around with it before adding it to the salad. (PS this makes a very large amount…)

– 3 c cooked quinoa
– 1 large head of green cabbage, chopped
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 red pepper, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1″ ginger, minced
– salt and pepper
– 1 c olive oil
– 2 Tbls sesame oil
– 2 Tbls rice vinegar
– 1 Tbls Chinese 5-spice
– 2 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)
– 2 tsp tamari
– 2 tsp agave

1. Saute the onion in oil, once soft, add the cabbage. After the cabbage cooks down, add the red pepper, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice. Cook for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and add to the quinoa
2. For the dressing, whisk together the oils, vinegar, 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice, red pepper flakes, tamari and agave. Taste….and alter as needed. Pour over the quinoa cabbage salad. Chill or serve warm

Italian Style Soup with Kale, Quinoa, Chickpeas and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I threw together a simple soup with just a few ingredients: a carton of veggie broth, a can of chickpeas, a few sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, kale, quinoa, garlic and Italian seasoning. I sautéed a tablespoon of garlic in a little oil and then added some veggie stock and about a cup of quinoa. Once the quinoa was cooked, I added a bunch of kale which I had sautéed in a separate pan with the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.

I simmered everything together for about 15 minutes.






Peanut Butter Filled Hiatus

So I’ve been without internet for the past 8 days [total first world problem]. Honestly, it hasn’t been that bad, mostly due to the fact of having a “smart phone.” I’ve been able to keep up with what’s what on Facebook and e-mails, but a few other internet activities have taken a backseat; blogging being one.

I made two amazing dishes last weekend. One was a quinoa salad with roasted veggies and a spicy peanut dressing. The other was a peanut butter coconut granola. I’ll be writing about the quinoa dish first. It is fantastic. The quinoa has such a nice, nutty, crunchy texture (I used an organic tri-colored quinoa) and the roasted veggies ups the ante on earthy flavor. Concluding the dish with the spicy peanut dressing is pure genius. I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, but close enough. Be creative. Have fun in working with this one!

  • 1 c uncooked quinoa
  • 2 c green shredded cabbage
  • 1 c cauliflower florets
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced

For the dressing

  • ¼ c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 Tbls bragg’s aminos
  • 1 Tbls maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls red wine vinegar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbls water to thin
  1. Cook quinoa, Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes
  2. Roast the veggies, preheat oven to 450 F, roast cauliflower, carrots and onion until fork tender (15-20 minutes)
  3. For the dressing, mix peanut butter and maple syrup together and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and taste (I like a lot of added heat!)
  4. Next add the roasted veggies to the quinoa. Pour the dressing in and mix well. Eat cold or hot.




Easy Indian Curry


After weeks of traveling and being away from home, my lovely roommate made me dinner on my first night back. He kept it simple and did an Indian curry, using a ready-made sauce. To the sauce he added: 1/2 block of extra firm tofu, cubed, along with sautéed red pepper, broccoli and green onion. The curry was served atop quinoa and we really carbed it up with a huge slice of naan. It was a delightful meal that really warmed me up, which I really needed after going from 80 F temperatures to 8 F temperatures. Brrr!

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad

Tonight I roasted some eggplant and yellow peppers. To do so I simply sliced the eggplant, oiled, salted and peppered each side and placed onto a baking sheet. For the peppers, I just cut these into big chunks and threw them on the pan with no oil or salt. I baked the veggies at 375 F for 7 minutes, flipped the eggplant and baked for another 7-10 minutes.

While these were roasting, I cooked 1 cup of dried quinoa according to the box. Then, I multi-tasked by whipping up a homemade tahini dressing (~about~ 2 tbls tahini; 2 tsp olive oil; 1-2 tsp water; couple dashes of cayenne; 1/2 garlic clove; minced; splash of rice vinegar; 1 tsp agave; 1 tsp sesame oil; and a 7 sprays of Bragg’s aminos).

When the quinoa was done, I added the dressing which made about 1/4 cup or so. And after the veggies had cooled down some, I cut the eggplant slices into bite sized pieces and stirred everything together. I think this salad would be nice served hot or cold. Enjoy!

Garden Greatness

Last nights meal came courtesy of my parent’s garden. We had fresh tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and herbs. I found these perfect recipes to try out, a warm quinoa salad and a summer ratatouille. For dessert we had zucchini brownies!

Warm Quinoa Salad from Oh She Glows


  • 1 c dry quinoa
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of corn (you should use fresh or frozen though)

3-Herb Green Sauce (food process the following):

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 c lightly packed basil
  • 1 tbls fresh dill
  • 2 tbls fresh chives
  • 1 small yellow tomato
  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • 1 tbls lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine water and quinoa. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes
  2. Saute garlic in oil. When fragrant add tomatoes and corn

3. When the quinoa is done, let sit for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork

4. Add tomato/corn mixture to quinoa

5. Drizzle with sauce

Summer Ratatouille derived from Oh She Glows

  • 2 c white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 summer squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2/3 green pepper (whatever floats your boat, yo)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 c marinara sauce (we used our homemade tomato relish)
  • 1 tsp thyme (dried)
  • 1/4 c basil (fresh)
  • few sprigs of chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in light oil
  2. When fragrant, add the other veggies and herbs
  3. Reduce heat and cover

4. When veggies cook down, add the marinara

5. Cook until the veggies are soft

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with a Melted Hickory Cheddar Spread

I recently initiated a food exchange up here after having so much fun with my food club in Minneapolis. I came across this recipe on Whole Foods’ site for a Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cake. I thought it sounded easy and tasty. Well, I am still undecided about the results. Hopefully my food exchangers aren’t too disappointed. Overall: not easy. Baking that damn sweet potato took almost an hour and a half. Then I wasn’t sure whether the recipe was calling for 1/2 c quinoa – cooked, or 1/2 c dry quinoa, then cook, then add to mixture. Ay. I posted the question on the site, so we’ll see how people respond. As for the taste, it tastes yummy, especially with WayFare’s Hickory Cheddar spread. The spread was super thick, but after 15 seconds in the microwave, it became nice and saucy!

I was disappointed with the texture of the cake. It’s extremely mushy. I even kept it in longer than was noted, but didn’t want to go too overboard and dry them into crumbly messes. Make this one at your own discretion 😉

Whole Foods’ Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup truRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils (I used red)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons diced red onion  (I used white)
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg Organic Sprinkle Seasoning  (just used 2 tsps of liquid amino acids, the seasoning was like $5!!)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Pinch ground black pepper (omitted the salt, amino acids have enough sodium)
  • 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato, more if needed

I cooked 1/2 c dry quinoa and 1/2 c lentils. When those were done, I measured them to 1/2 c and added them to a mixing bowl. To that I threw in all of the ingredients up until the sweet potato.

When the sweet potato was fiiiiiiiiiiinally done, I mashed it up and added it in. Then, I formed patties. No way could I make 4. Maybe my hands are too small. I had to make 6 smaller ones.

Bake them at 350F for 10 minutes, flip them, and bake for 10 more minutes. (I ended up baking an extra 5 minutes longer at the end). Top with your favorite topping!

Oh and staying with my WayFare theme, this meal was followed by their butterscotch pudding. Way better than the vanilla. It seriously tastes like caramel corn. It’s fricking delicious (and normally I am not keen on butterscotch!)

Smokey Quinoa with Summer Squash

I haven’t had much luck creating dishes on the fly until this one.  I came across a recipe for a toasted quinoa and veggies dish, but when it came time to make it, I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. So, I made do with what I could recall from memory (which ends at toast quinoa for 5 minutes. Everything turned out really well. I will definitely make this again!

Smokey Quinoa with Summer Squash

  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2 c water
  • oil (I used sunflower)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 summer squash, quartered
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 jar pasta sauce
  • 1/2 c Daiya cheese
  1. Toast quinoa for 5 minutes
  2. In a separate pan saute onion, after a few minutes add in squash and cumin
  3. When veggies are tender add the toasted quinoa, water and sauce
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until quinoa is cooked
  5. Add Daiya and let sit until melted. Serve with steamed veggies. Enjoy!


**UPDATE: Lol, found the site I was looking for! It’s a FoodPress blog called Baking with Basil. I wasn’t that close with the ingredients and process, but oh well. I made do!