I went to a BBQ this past weekend and, of course, was asked to bring a ‘quinoa salad of some sort’.
Now, when you ask me to bring a quinoa salad, I get really excited. Why? Well, because I love quinoa, of course. But, more importantly I get excited because it’s a chance to introduce people to how flavorful, fragrant, and wonderful a quinoa dish can be. I get excited to show everyone that quinoa is a true crowd pleaser… I get excited to have people say, “Wow, can I get the recipe?” (And for my ladies that asked for the recipe, this post is dedicated to you 😉 )
Hence, I brought this – THE salad my family and I can’t seem to get enough of right now:
2 cups precooked quinoa
2 cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed (always buy canned beans with nothing but beans, water, and salt on the ingredient label)
2 large sweet bell peppers, diced
2 cups of baby arugula
1/2 cup cilantro, washed and rough chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 medium jalapeño, diced (remove HALF the seeds for less spice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2-3 small garlic cloves, diced and smashed with the back of a fork
zest of 1 lime
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
Put your quinoa and beans into a large bowl.
Add your argula, chopped cilantro, diced bell peppers, red onion, and diced jalapeño.
In a separate bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients and pour dressing evenly over the top of the salad.
Stir to evenly coat all ingredients, taste for flavor, and (if necessary), add more salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s what it’ll look like:
And then look at the bowl of beauty you end up with:
(NOTE: this recipe makes about 4-5 full bowl servings. But, here’s the good news: it gets better as it sits! So, even if you don’t have a BBQ or a big crowd to serve, make the full batch and save the rest for the next day or two. You won’t regret it.)
Happy Monday, everyone – I’m so glad you’re here with me. (If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, connect with me there, too!)
Contrary to popular belief, I’m often totally unprepared for dinner. Take last night, for example. At about 5:30 I was talking to my man on his drive home when he asked the typical question every man asks after a long day at work, “So, what’s for dinner?”
“Not sure yet,” I responded. “I was just figuring that out.”
He laughed. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? It just keeps happening… every single night. We just don’t stop needing to eat!”
Yep – every night. There is no rest for the weary.
BUT – while I am not always totally sure what I’ll be making, I am always very confident that I have the right things on hand to create something healthy, filling, and satisfying. This is where our ‘staples’ come in.
You can probably see from the recipes I post that much of what I cook is made of pretty simple ingredients: quinoa, leafy greens and other vegetables, beans, eggs, fruit, herbs. Some meats, lots of fish (although I haven’t posted many of these yet). You’ll also see a lot of olive oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, and spices of various sorts.
We like simple.
We like clean.
I like ingredients that can be mixed and matched and it won’t take me two pages of directions to explain the recipe to my girlfriends.
So, here’s one of those types of recipes for you – one that you can throw together and have served in less than 30 minutes: Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Quinoa Soup. (You should know: I was a inspired by a recipe I had seen on Oh She Glows.)
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 small yellow onion, diced (NOTE: you can also use a small shallot for a lighter flavor)
2 cloves garlic, crushed and mashed
1 bunch of kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces (NOTE: when you use kale, you want to trim off the bottom half of the stems and discard them)
3 palm sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (I used WHITE sweet potatoes… but you could also use other varieties, I’m sure)
2 cups of broth
3 cups of water
2 cans of organic black beans, drained and rinsed (NOTE: canned beans are gold to a mama. Be sure when you buy them there are no preservatives; the label should simply say “beans, water” (and maybe “salt”)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 cups pre-cooked quinoa (You know: gotta ALWAYS have the precooked quinoa on hand when you’re cooking with me!)
salt and pepper to taste
To Garnish: fresh avocado, cherry tomatos, cilantro, and jalapeño
Heat a soup pot and add olive oil. When hot, add diced onion and garlic. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
After about a minute or two (when onion is translucent), add in chopped kale. Saute the kale for about two minutes, tossing occassionally so that all leaves have been fully coated in oil.
Add in the diced sweet potato and cumin. Stir entire mixture to coat. Add in the broth and the water; turn heat up to medium high and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. (This is a great time to prepare your garnishes.)
After 5 minutes, check your potatoes for tenderness with a fork. (If they are still too firm to pierce with a fork, allow to simmer another couple of minutes. NOTE: you want the potatoes soft, but not mushy.) Once tender, add in your black beans, cooked quinoa, a little salt and a little pepper, and stir to mix completely.
TO SERVE: Ladle out the soup into bowls and then time for the magic to happen: with garnishes. The soup is amazing by itself – but it goes to a whole new level when you top it with fresh chopped cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, diced fresh avocado, and (if you have it) diced fresh jalapeños.
Isn’t that easy? The best part is, like I said at the beginning, it’s made with things you can always keep as a ‘staple’ in your home. Because remember: if we can be sure of anything, it is this: we need to eat every night! And, with a recipe like this in hand, there’s never an excuse to ‘not be prepared’ with something that will power up you and your tribe up for greatness.