Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives

After three full days of being vegan I can honestly say my my life hasn’t changed very much. I’m a vegetarian anyway, and all that’s really changed is that I haven’t been adding cheese to my food or baking with butter (which I can totally miss out on for a month).

Two questions keep popping up that I thought I would address:
1. “What do you eat for protein”?, and
2. “Don’t you run out of choices”?

I went out for dinner with my Grandparents last night and they asked “when are you going to eat normal again?” which pretty much translates to “if you don’t eat what we eat, how can you possibly eat at all?” It’s a bit annoying, buy hey! We can’t all understand each other. And I’d like to give answers to the above two questions, that might be helpful to you too!

1. Protein isn’t just meat, and I certainly do not only eat tofu. If I want a snack I’ll eat some hummus and carrots, peanut butter and banana, apple and almond buter or some raw nuts. For lunch and dinner I like eating as many different beans as possible see here, here and here. This recipe is also chalk full of protein! Protein can be found in grains like quinoa, lentils, beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, etc.), tofu, tempeh, nuts and so many more things than I can possibly explain. Hopefully this helps!

2. If you read the above answer, NO I do not run out of choices. That’s part of the reason that I’m doing this vegan month. I want to be able to cook with foods I haven’t before, explore different ways of cooking, and try new things. If you honestly thing vegans and vegetarians eat the same thing every day. You are so, so, so wrong. It’s like asking a meat eater how they eat chicken every day. Silly question right? Exactly.

Anyway, I’m excited for the rest of this month to progress, and look forward to all the exciting new recipes I’ll be making. Like quinoa….so good!!

To make this recipe, preheat your oven to 400. Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in a big bowl.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in the same bowl as the tomatoes.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste. Serve chilled.

Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives
serves 4 (or 6 as a side-dish)
Recipe taken from Eat Live Run

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable broth
16 oz cherry tomatoes (mix of orange and red if you like!)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (or, to taste)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in a mixing bowl.

Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in the same bowl with the walnuts.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.

Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chilled.

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Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad

After my sister and I were about 3 km (1.9 miles) in to our 6.5 km walk today, I noticed that I did not have any sunscreen on…or any protective clothing or water in my backpack. It’s 33 degrees C (90 F) outside.

Shit. Yes, that was the only word that came to me. Now I’m at home, can barely touch my arms, and find sitting painful. WOO HOO! Sunscreen matters people. Don’t be silly like me.

Since my brain and body are a bit fried, I can only handle cold salads and ice cream right now. That’s it! And this salad is perrrrfect! It’s filled with black beans and grapefruit and totally made me happy.

Hope you like it too! I recommend in on non brain-fried days as well.

To make this, bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing.

Toss well and serve.

Now that’s a summer salad.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Serves 5-6

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, minced
1 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off’
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe but firm) avocado, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, minced (optional)

Dressing:
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing. Toss well and serve.

Salad will keep in sealed tupperware containers for up to five days in the fridge.

Lemony Quinoa and Avocado Salad

My belly aches. With yesterday’s and today’s candy consumption my body is beginning to think Reese’s peanut butter cups are a food group. So, with my rumbling belly telling me to cut the sugar I decided to make a quick and healthy Moroccan dish with whole wheat couscous, toasted almonds and pistachios and citrus flavour. Not the salad I’m posting here, but close in terms of the nutritional benefits.

This salad is chalk full of good stuff. It has protein from the quinoa, healthy fat from the avocado, olive oil and tahini, and vitamins A, C, and K from the fresh, crunchy, red peppers. I made this salad in September when I was home alone for a month and needed something healthy to make in a big batch. Do you ever do that? Make a dish that lasts you 5 days? The first day is AWESOME and then by day 5 you never want to see that particular meal again. ’tis life. To begin, cook up your quinoa.

Chop your red pepper and onion.

Add chopped avocado.

Mix up your dressing ingredients – tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, water and salt. Oh, and make sure to take a really blurry, bad photo of it!…haha.

Mix your quinoa, dressing, and chopped red pepper, avocado and red onion together. If you like cilantro you would add it in here. I don’t like it so I left it out. Enjoy! And, Happy November!

Lemony Quinoa and Avocado Salad
Recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 red pepper, diced
2 avocados, diced
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)

Tahini Dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from two big lemons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions:
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and water until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt.

Toss the cooked quinoa, pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro and half of the dressing. Add more dressing if you like and season with more salt to taste. Serve garnished with a bit of cilantro.