Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach
Quinoa (keen-wa) is an ancient grain-like seed that originated in South America over five thousand years ago. This tiny seed is chock full of tons of valuable nutrients, including all eight essential amino acids. Add in lots of other highly beneficial attributes, vitamins and minerals, plus the fact that it’s gluten-free and easy to digest and it’s pretty easy to understand it’s recent rise in popularity.

However, quinoa is still a bit new to my diet. Mostly because I don’t know what to make with it. Slowly I’m learning how to incorporate this versatile seed into my everyday meals. This salad is bright, fresh and easy. And did I mention that it’s also tasty and healthy? Say hello bikini body!

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • generous handful of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • handful of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Following the directions on the package, cook quinoa in the chicken broth. The quinoa should come to a boil, then cover it and put it on a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked it will absorb all the broth. Add remaining ingredients to a large resealable bowl and shake until contents are well incorporated. Serve cold.

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Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

The inspiration for this meal came from the one poor little butternut squash that’s been sitting on my counter since November, just begging me to be cooked. The truth is, I’m so squashed-out from all that we got from our farm share that I just couldn’t bear to eat anymore for at least a month. I knew I probably only had a few weeks left before my squash started to go bad so I searched my cupboards (AKA Pinterest) for a dish that wasn’t overly squashy. The original recipe calls for adding bulgar to add bulk and to replace the beef, but I chose not to add it. I love chili, so I knew I’d only be kidding myself into thinking it was something that it’s not. That being said, this soup definitely stacks up against the competition. It makes a hearty weeknight meal or reheats easily for lunch. Bonus: It’s 100% vegetarian/vegan if you use vegetable broth and omit the optional greek yogurt topping.

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from The Bitten Word

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen fire roasted poblano peppers
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, depending on desired thickness
  • juice of half a lime
  • coarse kosher salt
  • greek yogurt (optional)
  • sliced avocado (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, poblanos, squash and oregano. Add broth and lime juice. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with greek yogurt and avocado slices.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Since everyone is still on their new year resolution diets I figured the first official recipe post of 2013 should at least be something healthy, right? I LOVE making a big batch of minestrone and having plenty to bring in for lunch for the week or freeze for a later occasion. This version has been healthified and lightened up by using veggie pasta over regular pasta. I think the original recipe might’ve come from Martha Stewart, but I’ve been making it for years now. Feel free to experiment, use the veggies you have on hand, fresh or frozen. You really can’t screw this soup up!

Minestrone Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 4 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped zucchini, green pepper, yellow squash mix (I used frozen, leftover from my farmshare)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Eden Organic small vegetable shells
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and water. Stir in the green beans and vegetable medley, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans, pasta and baby spinach. Cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

Fresh Salsa


I hate that I need to go to a Mexican restaurant to eat good salsa. It actually kind of drives me a bit nuts. I’ve tried buying a ton of different brands from the grocery store and nothing compares to the fresh stuff. Luckily, our farm share has been providing us with an abundance of tomatoes and I happened to have one dinky jalapeno growing in my garden. Note in the picture above the jalapeno is the same size as a small clove of garlic and those are cherry tomatoes shown next to it! My poor garden really suffered this year because I forgot to water and it hasn’t rained much. Oopsie! Anywho, this salsa is close to what you’ll get in a good Mexican joint, but make sure to taste test (preferably with tortilla chips) and adjust seasoning as you wish.

Fresh Salsa

  • 6-8 fresh tomatoes (I used a combination of plum, beefsteak and cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 white or red onion
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup poblano peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rough chop all ingredients and pulse in a food processer until desired consistency is reached. This will make enough to fill a large mason jar.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Burrito

The name says it all. It’s like a traditional burrito, but with peanut butter and jelly, fruit and chocolate chips. How much more simple can it get? This is great for little ones (or husbands, in my case) as it can be fun to turn the normal burrito ingredients into sweet and healthy ingredients. For example, the peanut butter equals the refried beans on a normal burrito, the strawberries equal the meat, the strawberry jam is the salsa and the chocolate chips is the cheese, etc. You could take it even a step further and add “sour cream,” a.k.a whipped cream. The possibilities are endless!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Burrito

  • 1 100% whole wheat 10-inch tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, jelly or preserves
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
  • sprinkle of chocolate chips

Warm tortilla in a large skillet on each side. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter down the middle of the tortilla. Add chopped strawberries. Top with strawberry jam and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Fold up the ends of the tortilla and roll up. Optional ingredients could be apples, bananas, whipped cream, etc.

Cucumber Salad

This is one of my husband’s favorites and it’s a perfect salad to bring to a memorial day party. It’s a cold, refreshing and crunchy side when served with a burger or grilled chicken. If you don’t have a mandolin it’s perfectly okay to use a knife, but try to slice the cucumber as thinly as possible. I’m a little OCD so I like to know my cucumber slices are all the same size.

Cucumber Salad

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slice cucumber with a mandolin to 1/4″ thickness. In a small bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Combine with cucumbers in a sealable dish and refrigerate overnight.

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