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Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

March 30 075 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad with green apples and macadamia nuts is now my favorite way to eat quinoa. I was not sure about an apple and a green pepper in the same salad. Add to that combo a green onion and a cucumber, and I was definitely not on board.

The fact that I like things that stray slightly from the path of normal served me well here because I made the salad anyway and was happy I did.

In addition to its taste, I was also impressed with how well it kept. My first thought upon seeing the quantity it yielded was along the lines of “holy moly, I should have saved this for a potluck.” But as luck would have it, it kept nicely for a good three days.

March 30 038 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Now, given this is only salad, you will be hard pressed to screw it up, but here are a few tips:

  • In addition to the lemon juice I added to the salad, I tossed my diced apple with a tablespoon of lemon juice before adding it to the salad to help prevent it from turning brown.
  • When cucumbers are involved, I tend to have more luck with shelf life when I use an English cucumber.
  • No agave? No worries. I really don’t think this salad needs it. I tasted the salad before I added agave, and I can’t really say it was missing. I did go ahead and add it only because I had a stray tablespoon or two in my cupboard that I wanted to use up. Feel free to use honey as a substitute.
  • For heat, add a serrano chile (as suggested by the original recipe) or, in keeping with the green theme, mince a jalapeno and toss it in there.
  • If desired, serve with yogurt or sprinkle some Aleppo pepper flakes over the top.
  • Enjoy!

March 30 034 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Green Apple and Macadamia Quinoa Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 small English cucumber, diced (3/4 cup)
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery (1/4 cup)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions, which is probably to bring one cup of quinoa to boil with two cups of water and a dash of salt before covering, reducing heat, and allowing to simmer for 10-15 minutes before the water is absorbed and white threads appear around the quinoa.
  2. When the quinoa is cool, stir it together in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. I started with the mainstays (apple, cucumber, pepper, etc.) then added the dressing (lemon juice, garlic, agave nectar) once mixed.
Notes
I included the original measurements with this recipe, i.e. where I call for one medium apple the recipe calls for 1 cup of diced green apple. Let’s be honest; if your apple happens to yield 1¼ cups, are you going to save the ¼ cup of apple for later? I think you are more likely to eat the extra ¼ cup right away or just toss it into the salad. Hence, use the measurements and sizes (small, medium) as a guide.

 

Winter Salad

Winter Salad 014 Edited Winter Salad

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. ― Carl Reiner

That sounds about right. I can appreciate winter – nature needs to take a nap, humans (apparently) need to experience the cold so we appreciate  warmth –  but why does it have to stick around for so long?

I am quite confident in my ability to appreciate warmer temperatures, landscapes colored with shades beyond white and brown, and light in the sky past the end of work day.

Two weeks of such nonsense should do it. In fact, I will go so far as to accept winter throughout the entire month of December and January 1. Come January 2, things better start to shape up.

Winter Salad 031 Edited Winter Salad

I say this on the heels of thoroughly enjoying approximately eight inches of snow over the past two days. I love how quiet it gets when it snows, and how it brings the oftentimes meaningless hustle and bustle of daily lives to a stop for a moment.

I can also pause to fully revel in the snow because instead of four or more months of the crap, I live where temperatures will be in the 60s within one week.

In the meantime, I will settle for a winter salad. Roasted root vegetables and few bites of fruit top a bed of fresh spinach. Add warm bacon and goat cheese and ordinarily blah vegetables turn into a meal I look forward to. Enjoy!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ― Hal Borland

Winter Salad 029 Edited Winter Salad

Winter Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Salad
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 apples
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 4 cups spinach
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Peel the carrots and parsnips, then chop or slice as desired. Do the same for the apples, leaving the peel on if desired.
  2. Place the prepared vegetables and apples in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and a dash of salt.
  3. Spread the mixture across a baking sheet and place in an oven heated to 400 degrees F. Roast for 35-45 minutes until the vegetables are tender. (Stirring the vegetables from time to time is okay, although the apples will crumble if moved too often).
  4. While the vegetables and apples are roasting, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain the grease and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.
  5. Divide the spinach across two plates. Top with the roasted vegetables, bacon, goat cheese and cranberries.
  6. Dress with the olive oil and vinegar.
Notes
Optional additions: roasted beets and sunflower seeds.

 

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa & Hello New Year

Winter Squash Week 10 018 Edited Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa & Hello New Year

Six days in to the new year, and one measly blog post to show for it. I did not made any resolutions, and I did not intend to (although given my two week absence from this space, recommitting to a frequent blog schedule seems like a good one). I rang in the new year with friends, had a great couple of days, then promptly fell ill.

But I don’t have time to be sick! The laundry needs washed. The floor needs mopped. The trash is in desperate need of making its way to the dumpster. And I am sure there is some sort of rule that says the Christmas tree can not be up for more than two days past the new year!

“Good luck with that,” I picture my body saying to my mind, “I’m out.” Hence, I have spent the majority of this new year feeling not so good. And you know what? The laundry remains safe and sound in its pile. The mop is still ready to be used when I get to it. The trash has not yet started moving on its own, so I’m pretty sure all is well on that front. And it’s actually been nice to enjoy the tree lighting up my space for a few more days.

Winter Squash Week 10 020 Edited Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa & Hello New Year

The point I wish remind myself of in the event I look back at this post is that things are going to happen, and like it or not, the world will keep right on moving. Good things will happen and bad things will happen and a bunch of mundane things thrown in between those highs and lows will happen.

I want to have the sense to know when it is okay to float along with the current instead of rapidly swimming upstream all the time. The sense to take comfort in a little rest now and then.

When I fill up on rest, I may just turn to comfort food like this pumpkin breakfast quinoa. As it thickens in the slow cooker, the quinoa takes on the consistency of a porridge rather than fluffy grains when it boils. It is hearty, flavorful, and filling. I feel better already. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Week 10 021 Edited Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa & Hello New Year

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • For Garnish
  • dried cranberries or other dried fruit of your choice
  • toasted walnuts or other nut of your choice
Instructions
  1. Oil or spray the slow cooker insert with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the dried fruit and nuts reserved for garnish in the slow cooker.
  3. Stir well, cover and cook on low until the quinoa is soft and thickened, four to six hours.
  4. Dish into bowls and garnish with dried fruit and nuts. Enjoy while still warm.
Notes
The original recipe called for a cook time of six to seven hours, however my quinoa was well done after four hours.