Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad

Wel­come to the eas­i­est, health­i­est salad in the world. Uh… lazi­est salad in the world.. Have a heap of veg­eta­bles and no time to cook? Set some quinoa on the stove as you pre­pare your veg­gies — red pep­pers, red cab­bage, kale and green beans. Be encour­aged to freestyle it with your veg selec­tion — what­ever you find in your CSA box. This is a dish that comes together in min­utes — keep it veg­e­tar­ian, or top with some grilled chicken, or sliced pan-​fried beef, and you’re set. Make a dou­ble batch, and refrig­er­ate left­over por­tions for the next day — even bet­ter. Easy Quinoa Veg­e­tar­ian Salad:

Easy Quinoa Vegetarian SaladI’m your test sub­ject here, since I’ve been eat­ing vari­a­tions of this salad for 2 weeks straight… I’ve been blog­ging less this sum­mer, which sim­ply means that noth­ing fancy is hap­pen­ing in the kitchen and I’m busy with what­ever else life throws this way. Or I’m nap­ping some­where in the shade… :) But no mat­ter what, I eat well — food is not a com­pro­mise. I still pre­fer a sim­ple quinoa salad over Chi­nese take­out, thank you very much.

Another thing I always make time for is farmer’s mar­kets — and I mean real mar­kets, not the ones where you cir­cle around the park­ing lot for 2 hours, then buy a $6 tomato. My favorite in Cal­gary is DJ Mar­ket, in the indus­trial area just off Black­foot trail. No frills, fresh local and cheap — like it should be. I just have to keep myself in check, oth­er­wise I’ll buy so much I’ll end up with a trunk­full of pro­duce that 2 peo­ple can’t pos­si­bly eat… Been there, done that. This salad is a prod­uct of this week’s mar­ket haul, not too shabby! All that for 35 bucks!

Farmer's Market Shopping in Calgary - CanuckCuisine.com Con­tinue Read­ing…

Any­way, back to quinoa. You prob­a­bly already know that quinoa is a fluffy whole grain that’s great in pilafs, sal­ads, casseroles and stir fries. It’s higher is pro­tein and lower in car­bo­hy­drates than most grains, which means it will keep you full for a long time. The water to quinoa cook­ing ratio is the same as rice — 2 parts water 1 part quinoa. Easy peasy.

Easy Quinoa Vegetarian SaladOne thing I gotta say — rinse the quinoa well before cook­ing to remove its bit­ter coat­ing. Its not just some fluff you read in cook­ing instruc­tions.. A few swirls around a fine mesh colan­der will do. I always reli­giously rinsed my quinoa until a trip to the coast ear­lier this month where I had no colan­der at my dis­posal… I fig­ured “meh… how bad can it be if I don’t rinse?” It’s bad. Not worth it… or you’ll end up with no din­ner and a big bowl of ined­i­ble quinoa.

PS. I pre­fer my quinoa salad topped with sliced avo­cado, not shown in the photo.

Easy Veg­e­tar­ian Quinoa Salad
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • approx ½ lb green beans, topped and sliced into 1 inch segments
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 large red bell pep­per, chopped
  • ½ cup shred­ded red cabbage
  • ¾ cup cooked can­nellini beans
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ half ripe avo­cado, sliced
  • black pep­per to taste
  1. Rinse the quinoa well, then drain and place in a medium cook­ing pot. Cover with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sim­mer until the water is absorbed, about 10 – 12 minutes.
  2. Mean­while, steam, or boil the green beans until ten­der, drain and set aside.
  3. Warm up the olive oil in a medium saucepan over mod­er­ate heat. Add the chopped kale and red bell pep­per, and cook until softened.
  4. In a large salad bowl, com­bine the cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, cooked kale and bell pep­pers, red cab­bage, can­nellini beans and cilantro. Mix to com­bine well.
  5. Serve topped with avo­cado to keep veg­e­tar­ian, or option­ally add a pro­tein of your choice — chicken, fish, or beef.

Fresh Fig and Baby Greens Salad

There’s a list of things I plan when we get our place in BC, and the first order of busi­ness will be a fig tree. If I can grow my own let­tuce I sure as hell can grow my own figs. I doubt this will make me self sus­tain­able (despite what the real estate assures me of) , but it will make me fig-​sustainable. Why? No figs to buy in Cal­gary this year. If you fol­low me on Insta­gram, you know that I was stalk­ing the pro­duce depart­ment man­ager about the next ship­ment - and I’m sus­pect­ing they got it just to get rid of me. One box (one pre­cious 16 fig box) later, and the fig sea­son seems to be over. So this, my friends, is it:

Fresh Fig and Baby Greens SaladFigs are per­fect as they are — I don’t like to cook them, bake them, or any­thing. They pair beau­ti­fully with goat’s cheese, and if you’re feel­ing a bit like Ital­ian, pro­sciutto. I per­son­ally like to eat figs straight out of the box, but for this lunch salad I paired them with some baby greens that I grew in the yard. Driz­zle them with olive oil, sea­son with salt, and you will expe­ri­ence fig heaven.

Fresh Fig and Baby Greens Salad
Serves: 4
  • 6 fresh figs, quartered
  • 5 cups of baby greens
  • ½ cup crum­bled goat’s cheese
  • driz­zle of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the figs, baby greens and goat’s cheese in a big salad bowl. Driz­zle with a lit­tle bit of olive oil and sea­son with salt. Toss lightly to combine.

One-​Pot Skinless Chicken Thighs

Here is a recipe for an easy and tasty chicken thigh dish made from pretty much noth­ing, ie: empty fridge after a hol­i­day. I usu­ally keep the skin on my chicken, but this is a lighter skin­less ver­sion that still doesn’t com­pro­mise on fla­vor. The trick is to dredge the thighs in flour before brown­ing — you get a nice tasty crust, and save calo­ries at the same time.

One-Pot Skinless Chicken ThighsI start by brown­ing the bone-​in chicken thighs in a pan, then trans­fer them into a dutch oven lined with sliced onions and chopped car­rots. I pour enough chicken stock to cover the drum­sticks 3/​4 of the way, then bake at 375F for approx­i­mately 1 hour, check­ing at about 45 min­utes in. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can place the chicken in a medium stove-​top pot, and sim­mer on low for the same amount of time.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s so ver­sa­tile — add new baby pota­toes, zuc­chini, sweet pep­pers, or green beans to your pot. Con­tinue Read­ing…

You don’t absolutely need chicken stock for this recipe, so if you’re in a pinch, use water. The bones in the chicken will fla­vor the liq­uid and essen­tially make a quick stock. Enjoy this with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

One-Pot Skinless Chicken ThighsTasty, sim­ple and delicious.

One Pot Skin­less Chicken Thighs
Serves: 4
  • olive oil
  • ½ cup white, or whole wheat flour
  • 8 – 10 bone-​in chicken thighs, skins removed
  • chicken stock, or water
  • 4 medium car­rots, peeled and sliced
  • ½ medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pep­per to taste
  1. Pre­heat the oven to 375F.
  2. Add a lit­tle olive oil into a large skil­let and warm over medium heat. Pour the flour into a large plate, then dredge the chicken thighs, pat­ting off the excess flour. Add to the hot pan and brown evenly on both sides.
  3. Place the car­rots and onions into a medium dutch oven. Put the browned chicken thighs on top, then pour in the stock so that the meat is cov­ered about ¾ of the way up. Sea­son with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for approx­i­mately 1 hour, check­ing for done­ness after 45 min­utes. Check the sea­son­ing and serve with crusty bread on the side.

July Update

woodcreeper, salt spring island, bc

Oops, I better dust the cobwebs off the blog before it goes all derelict on me. I have a good excuse - I wasn't here. We've been back on Salt Spring, hiking, crabbing, visiting with friends, and perhaps doing a bit of house hunting. It's our 13th year on SSI, so it's hard to view it as vacations. There's good, there's bad, but in the end it's always like going to our second, better, home.  Still, just when I think I know this small island inside out, there's always something new - meeting new … Continue Reading...

Beef, Zucchini and Asparagus Pasta Skillet

Beef, Zucchini and Asparagus Pasta Skillet

Lately I just put a bunch of stuff in a pan, cook it up and eat it - kind of an early summer brain fart.  Lots of green, a bit of meat, a bit of carbs.  Here we have ground beef, and in season vegetables - asparagus, zucchini and rocket leaves.  It's all mixed with a bit of pasta to fill the belly and ricotta for richness, because I ♥ ricotta.  You can make this one while asleep, although I wouldn't recommend it. Yes, a brain fart has been a theme for me. I haven't been cooking anything … Continue Reading...