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


Broccoli Salad


This broccoli salad is absolutely brilliant. There are 5 basic ingredients and you are in charge of how creamy and/or sweet you want it. I really didn’t measure anything. I simply blanched half a head of broccoli florets and rinsed them with cold water. Once cooled, I added them to a bowl along with a scoop of vegenaise, handful of raw sunflower seeds, handful of craisins and about a teaspoon of chopped shallot.

You could easily make this into a pasta or rice salad as well. It would go great with a wild rice!

Killer Baked Beans


Nothing beats a side of baked beans in the summertime. They are quite simply, “the bees knees.” I grew up on canned baked beans and they are a definite go-to comfort food. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve sought out healthier versions, straying away from readymade brands which are often loaded with sugar and preservatives; opting to bake my own.

It would have been a much more impressive dish, had I made the time and effort to soak my beans, but isn’t that always the case? Instead, I condensed the cook time by relying on canned beans…I know, I know. Still, this recipe blows any readymade version out of the water. And you can definitely play around with the sugar level to add/reduce sweetness. I found that the amount given was just perfect.

– 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
– 1 20 oz can white kidney beans (cannellini)
– 1 15 oz can red kidney beans
– 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
– 1 tsp dijon mustard
– 1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s)
– 2 Tbls liquid smoke
– 3 Tbls real maple syrup (can sub agave or honey, but maple syrup really should be used here)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Sauté onions in a little oil or water, cook until soft and caramelized
3. Drain and rinse beans, set aside. In a casserole dish, add tomato sauce, dijon, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. Whisk together. Add beans and caramelized onion
4. Bake covered for 15 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes

Raw Pickles


I can’t seem to find a pickle recipe that doesn’t taste like I’m eating a salt stick. I don’t get it! I thought this raw recipe would be a winner. Not so much. I mean, they are good, but I can’t eat more than a few.


  • 3 c cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 c agave
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbls salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  1. Mix the agave, cider, salt and seeds together. Pour over cucumber. Let sit for about 30 minutes before serving

Zucchini Fries



My mom made these zucchini fries last night and they were super delicious. The only thing that could have made them better would be some more crunch. I think baking them a bit longer would solve this problem!

Ingredients (courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie)

  • 2-3 small zucchini, sliced into fry shapes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (we used an Italian style)

Preheat oven to 420F. Lightly grease a cooling rack, place it on a baking tray, and set aside. Set up an assembly line: flour and spices in one bowl, milk in another, and breadcrumbs in a third. Dip each zucchini stick in the flour, then the milk, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the cooling rack. Bake 18-19 minutes or until crisp.

Kale with Sweet Mustard Dressing


My dad knows how much I love kale and does a good job at spotting delicious recipes. The kale salad I made last night was fantastic. Next time I would make it with a more tangy mustard, as the original recipe calls for. It was a bit on the sweet side.

Both of my parents enjoyed this dish. The only downside was we only had one bunch of kale and it wasn’t enough for all three of us!


  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Tbls coconut oil
  • 1 Tbls honey dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls coconut creamer
  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet. Once oil is melted, add chunks of kale. Cook until tender and bright green. Remove from heat
  2. Whisk together dijon, maple syrup and creamer. Drizzle over kale (I used about half of the dressing)

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.




Sweet Potato Risotto

I found this recipe on Oprah’s website (with a few modifications). I’ve never made risotto before, but have had a box of arborio rice staring me down for several months. Once I had a sweet potato on hand, it was a match made in heaven. The risotto turned out pretty good, however I am not a fan of the rosemary in it. Also, I made a rookie mistake of putting the risotto in the fridge and eating it later. It was still okay, but risotto tastes much better piping hot from the stove. Give this a try and see what ya think!

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 Tbls water
  • 1/2 c diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 3 c veggie broth
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Dash of liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp  hot sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake your sweet potato for 30 minutes or until tender
  2. Cook onion and garlic in water until tender. Stir in the rice. Mash the sweet potato  into a paste and add it to the pot. Mix until well blended
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth. Continue to stir your rice and  broth until it begins to bubble. Then stir in another 1/2 cup of the broth.  Repeat this process until you have added all the broth. Continue to stir until  your rice is tender. It should take 20 to 30 minutes
  4. Mix in the Bragg’s,  rosemary, nutmeg, and onion powder. Then add liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Serve hot!!