Spicy Black Bean & Lime Quinoa Salad

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:

Ingredients:

For salad:

  • 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)

For dressing:

  • 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
  1. Put your quinoa and beans into a large bowl.
  2. Add your argula, chopped cilantro, diced bell peppers, red onion, and diced jalapeño.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients and pour dressing evenly over the top of the salad.
  4. 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!)

 

YOU CAN DO IT: Spicy Quinoa Chickpea Patties (aka Quinoa Falafel)

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I don’t know where my love of chickpeas comes from – but it runs deep.

I love them rinsed and raw and tossed in a salad…

I love them sautéed in some olive oil, fresh garlic, herbs, and seasonings for a warm power snack…

I love them baked…

I love them in soups…

I love to mash them up and make homemade hummus.

Chickpeas and all their buttery goodness make this mama happy.

Now, I have to admit something to you: while I’ve eaten more than my share of falafel, I never knew chickpeas were the main ingredient. Seriously. But when I discovered that’s what a falafel is – a chickpea patty – what do you think occurred to me? Yep, you guessed it: I must blend my two loves – quinoa and chickpeas – and whip up my own version of falafel.

You ready to try it? I hope so, because they are little cakes of savory protein goodness.

Here’s what you need:

Special tool: food processor

Gather your ingredients (you’ll end up with 10 3″ diameter patties):

  • 1.5 cups precooked quinoa
  • 1 can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 TBSP gluten-free flour (or any regular flour will do if you’re not gluten free)
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP  olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Get to work:

In the bowl of your food processor, add everything EXCEPT the quinoa and flour…

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Process until mixture is smooth like a paste…

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Add in your precooked quinoa and the 2 TBSP flour (the flour didn’t make it into this picture, sorry)…

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Then, with the best tool around – your hands – mash together all the ingredients until well incorporated…

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(NOTE: I made these without the flour first and they didn’t hold together at all. So, the flour is KEY to getting these to bind properly into patties.)

Heat a flat fry pan and coat the bottom with a little olive oil…

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Form your patties, and then gently lay them into the hot pan…

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Cook them on medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown like this…

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When they’re all done, you can eat them like I did:

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Quinoa falafel on a bed of chopped organic greens tossed in olive oil and lemon juice, served with a handful of cherry tomatoes and topped with a dollop of greek yogurt

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Or, you can just make up a bunch to pop in the fridge and eat them like a finger food when you’re craving a little something.

Just know this: they are super satisfying, have fabulous texture, and are just the thing to keep on hand for your busy mama days.

(SIDE NOTE: These would be fabulous for little eaters! If you’re going to feed them to your little ones that aren’t used to fully seasoned foods yet (5 and under, for example), cut the onion and lemon juice portions in half, and leave out all the dried seasonings except for a dash of the cumin and a little salt. Even a little bland the quinoa and chickpeas together have excellent flavor for training little palates.)

Thanks for being with me… and hey! Please SHARE this post and tell your friends:

MONDAY IS MY FIRST GIVEAWAY DAY!!!

I have a great gathering of goodies featured in my World Market TV segment from earlier this week – and someone has to win!

So, take a moment and “INVITE ME TO YOUR INBOX” on the right so you won’t miss a beat. And, if you have time, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram for ALL my news.

Much love to you today – and remember: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE STRONG, YOU ARE LOVED.

 

An Herbed Quinoa Fennel Grapefruit Salad to Brighten Your Day

The house is quiet.

Kids are at school learning (thank God!), laundry is turning in the dryer, I hear the hum of a lawnmower out my window, and… I am breathing for the first time in days.

Breathing.

Thinking.

Processing.

Camping on this sweet verse from Isaiah 63:9: In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Isn’t that beautiful?

It reminds today I’m not alone in my distress… this natural distress of discomfort I’m feeling as we slowly move into this new land with kids in new schools, new friends, a new home (soon), and new ways of doing things. (Oh, and the distress of thinking “how in the heck am I going to pack up this house?? Agh!)

But truthfully, I am so, so very excited to see how God grows and matures and teaches each one of us through this adventure. Because, if I know anything to be TRUE, it is this: His GOODNESS is present with us every step of the way.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share something good with you today – a yummy, ‘brightening’, ‘uplifting’ mama-meal like this:

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Herbed Quinoa Fennel Grapefruit Salad

A mama-brightening salad for sure!

Not only will you feel light and clean and bright after eating it, there is JOY in the journey of making it! The fragrance of the basil and mint on your skin, the feel of grapefruit juice running through your fingers as you section out each little piece, the sight of the warm amber honey drizzling over the bowl of freshness. Talk about a party for your senses! And, hey, – isn’t that what all of us mamas need: joy in our journey?

So – enjoy!!!

Here’s what you need to make enough for you and a friend:

Beautiful and fresh ingredients...

Beautiful and fresh ingredients…

  • 1/2 heaping cup of precooked quinoa
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 small grapefruits
  • 6-8 basil leaves, diced
  • 10-12 mint leaves, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • a pinch of salt and black pepper
  1. Slice up your fennel bulb in thin slices like this.
  2. Section out your grapefruit pieces like this.
  3. Add pre-cooked quinoa, diced herbs, a pinch of salt and black pepper; toss lightly.
  4. Drizzle the warm honey over the top and, again, toss lightly.

That’s it!

Final notes:

** The basil and mint will turn brown if left too long in the salad… so this is best enjoyed FRESH. If you are going to eat only half and save the rest for later, add the herbs to your portion only.

** The juice from the grapefruit and the honey are the only ‘dressing’ this salad gets. I section my grapefruit right over the main bowl to capture the juice as I work. If you don’t want too much juice in your salad, you may want to section over a separate bowl so you can control how much juice you ‘dress’ the final product with.

 

 

Um, More Cauliflower Quinoa Soup, Please

We eat a ton of cauliflower in our house.

Raw. Roasted. Sautéed. Stir fried.

I was just telling a girlfriend yesterday that when I roast it and put it on the counter to cool, I often return to find little fingers have nibbled the entire pan away.

Our favorite way hands down, however, is this:

Cauliflower Quinoa Soup

Cauliflower Quinoa Soup

… the most savory bowl of yumminess ever.

The inspiration for this recipe came a couple years ago from The Pioneer Woman. Of course (because I need to be in control, lol) I made some tweaks that work better for the way we eat in our home (nixed the butter and flour, added garlic, upgraded from milk to cream, and added quinoa).

Don’t worry, though – this recipe is SO SIMPLE. Truly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, diced and smashed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florettes and roughly chopped (trim off the stalks from florets as best you can)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cups precooked quinoa
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Warm a big soup pot and add the EVOO. Once EVOO is hot and loose in the pan, add onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower to the pan and continue to sauté for another minute or two. Then, cover pot, reduce heat to just under medium, and allow veggies to soften for about five minutes. (Yes, you’ll want to give them an occasional turn with your spoon during that time.)
  3. Uncover the pot and add the chicken stock, heavy cream (optional), fresh parsley, and precooked quinoa. Bring soup to a gentle boil; then, reduce heat to just under medium again, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. (Also, if you need more soupiness (we like it a little thick in our house), just add more broth until it reaches the consistency you want).
  4. When it’s done simmering, grab a spoon and give it a taste! This is how you’ll determine how much salt you’ll need. Once you’ve tasted it, add in a little salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, ladle into a beautiful bowl and sprinkle on some crushed chili pepper for those that love a little heat. (You can also add a little extra parsley for presentation.)

NOTE: If you are DIARY FREE, you can make this without the addition of the cream. As I sit here and think about it, I wonder if coconut milk as a substitute would add a little something special to this soup!

Enjoy… and, as always, Rebel On.
Elisha