Tag Archives: quinoa

My Nutritarian Diary: Quinoa and Green Bean Salad

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If you’re not sick of salads yet, this Quinoa and Green Bean Salad is for you. It can be eaten on its own as a meal, or it makes an excellent side.

The original recipe calls for a lot more olive oil than I’m comfortable using, so my recipe significantly reduces that ingredient. The original also called for a cup of flat leaf parsley leaves, and while I like parsley, I thought that flavor was too strong for this salad when I made this the first time. Instead, I used a half a cup of fresh, hand-torn basil leaves. (I don’t recommend cutting basil with a knife, as the leaves will turn brown too quickly!)

I love how quick this recipe is to make and how nutritious it is. Not only that, as the picture shows, it is beautiful! One of my nutritarian travelers mentioned that this salad would look holiday festive if diced red bell peppers were added. I thought that was a great suggestion, so I passed that along to you, too. You’re welcome.

Really skies the limit as to seasonings and options for this gem of a salad. If you discover a particular combo that really tickles your palate, please share!

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Quinoa and Green Bean Salad
(Slightly adapted from Meatless, a Martha Stewart Living cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:

  • low sodium vegetable broth for sautéing
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • ½ cup fresh basil, hand torn in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (red-wine, white-wine, brown rice, apple cider, or a combination)
  • ⅓ cup almond slivers
  • DIRECTIONS:
    Place onions and garlic 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable broth in a saucepan. Lightly salt and pepper onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in quinoa and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. According to the original recipe directions, “Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes; fluff with fork. Let cool completely.”

    While the quinoa mixture is cooling or as you cook the quinoa, blanch green beans in a pot of boiling salted water for about four minutes. You don’t want to cook the beans much longer than that, as they lose their crispness quickly. Drain and rinse the beans in cold water to stop the cooking.

    In a large bowl, combine the quinoa mixture, green beans, olive oil, if using, vinegar and almond slivers. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cool salad completely in refrigerator. Then, enjoy!

    My Nutritarian Diary: Fruity Quinoa Salad

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    For today’s post, I decided to throw out into the world-wide web my very own recipe: Fruity Quinoa Salad. I haven’t done that yet on my blog, mainly because I still feel like a novice when it comes to making plant-based food. I love reading recipes and gleaning new ideas. I love making them and eating them, too, sometimes even adapting them to my own tastes. But to create a recipe from scratch? How do I know when it’s ready for the public? Does it taste good? Will people like it? Am I missing a key ingredient? And the worrisome questions go on and on.

    But today, I stopped the questions and began a different dialogue. This Fruity Quinoa Salad may not be perfect. But it is beautiful-looking and very delicious. I, personally, love the way the Kalamata olives compliment the overall fruity taste of the salad (my husband does not and is why I made them optional), and I think you can add the raisins or not, depending on how sweet you want the salad to taste. And if you’re not entirely plant-based in your eating, I think a ¼ cup of feta cheese mixed in would taste absolutely delicious.

    What I did do on purpose for me was keep this recipe oil free. But even that is flexible and up to you.

    In the end, what this recipe lacks in absolutes, it certainly does not lack in flavor, flexibility, and health.

    So, if you are feeling adventurous, why not give it a try!

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    Fruity Quinoa Salad

    SALAD INGREDIENTS:
    • 1½ cups cooked tri-colored quinoa
    • 1 cup Granny Smith apples, chopped in ½-inch cubes*
    • ½ cup dried apricots, finely diced
    • ⅓ cup toasted almond slivers
    • ¼ cup raisins, optional
    • ⅓ cup Greek Kalamata olives, chopped, optional
    • salad greens for plating

    *Lightly coat cubes with fresh squeezed lemon juice (or other preferred method) to prevent browning.

    DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
    • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon grade B maple syrup*
    • Up to 1 tablespoon of water (in case dressing needs to be diluted to your taste)

    *Grade B maple syrup has more healthful minerals than its Grade A variety and is why I use it.

    DIRECTIONS:
    Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.

    In a separate bowl, combine the treated Granny Smith apple cubes, apricots, almonds, raisins (if using), and Greek Kalamata olives (if using). Add the quinoa and mix all the ingredients together.

    In another small bowl, whisk together the Balsamic vinegar, mustard, ground ginger, and maple syrup. Taste, and dilute with a little water if necessary.

    Poor dressing over the quinoa mix and coat evenly. Adjust seasonings to your desired taste.

    Put salad greens on plates and top with the Fruity Quinoa Salad. And enjoy!

    My Nutritarian Diary: Wheat Berry and Black Bean Salad

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    Wheat berries meet my readers. Readers meet wheat berries.

    Now that the introductions are over, let me tell you about this wonderful grain. I have discovered that its chewy texture and nutty flavor to be a perfect substitute for pasta in my cold salads and almost as easy to cook with just a longer cooking time. I have fallen head over heels in love with these little guys, and I am so excited to share one of my new favorite recipes that feature this grain prominently.

    Let’s dig in a little about what makes this whole grain so special, aside from the fact it’s the source of our wheat flour. First, one serving (½ cup of cooked wheat berries) contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, which is about the same amount of protein and fiber as the now popular quinoa. With that said, the nutritional profile does vary some depending on type of wheat berries you use. For example, Lentz Spelt’s whole grain berries, a locally-grown brand I recently discovered at Rocket Market in Spokane, WA, has 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

    But that’s not it. They are also loaded with vitamins B1 or Thiamin, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy and is good for a healthy brain, nerve cells, and heart function; and B3 or Niacin, which keeps our skin and our nervous and digestive systems healthy (Source).

    But where do you find them? As I mentioned above, I found mine at Rocket Market locally, but you can buy them in many varieties in the bulk sections of most health food stores or in mainstream grocery stores that sell healthy bulk items.

    There’s of course more to be said, but let them “speak” for themselves as you give them a try in this wonderful recipe!

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    Wheat Berry and Black Bean Salad
    (Adapted from Robin Robertson’s One-Dish Vegan’s “Quinoa and Black Bean Salad” recipe)

    SALAD INGREDIENTS:
    • 3 cups of water
    • 1 cup of wheat berries*
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 3 scallions, chopped
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
    • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped
    • 1½ cups of cooked black beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
    • ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, basil, or cilantro
    • ½ cup toasted walnuts, optional
    • Romaine lettuce leaves, to plate salad

    *You could easily replace wheat berries with quinoa. Just cook 1 cup of quinoa according to its directions and use it instead.

    DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a citrus-flavored vinegar), use less if you like a subtler lemon/citrus flavor
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • ⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    DIRECTIONS:
    Place the water, wheat berries, and ½ teaspoon of salt into a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer. Cooking time varies depending on the desired texture and the brand you are cooking. Generally, I prefer to cook mine for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

    In a large bowl, place the scallions, carrot, black beans, tomatoes, olives, and parsley. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together.

    Add the wheat berries and the dressing to the large bowl and mix well. Add the walnuts, if using. Also adjust the seasonings if needed.

    Place desired amount on a plate of romaine lettuce, and serve.