Monday Munchies – Garden Quinoa Salad

Another new favorite from The Simple Veganista, this quick and easy quinoa salad is filling and refreshing–perfect as a dinner side dish or a light lunch!  I didn’t have any edemame (soy beans) when I made mine, but since they are packed full of protein I definitely recommend adding them if you can.

If you’re not familiar with quinoa, it’s an amazing whole grain that doesn’t take long to prepare (I find it faster than rice) and gives you complete proteins–the only whole grain to do that by the way.  Just be sure to rinse yours first if you don’t purchase the pre-rinsed kind.  The outer layer can be bitter tasting, which can ruin the whole dish.

The zesty dressing can be made and used on regular salads as well.  I made a second batch for my spinach lunch salads all week. Yum!

Garden Quinoa Salad w/Zesty Garlic Dressing
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup edemame (optional)
  • 1 cup english cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2  cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of two medium lemons
  • 3 rounded tablespoons stoneground or dijon mustard (I used stoneground)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • himalayan salt, to taste
  • cracked pepper, to taste

In a medium size pot, add quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Once done, remove cover and let stand 5-15 minutes, until all water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork.

While quinoa is cooking, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, taste for seasoning and let set.

Chop and dice your remaining vegetables, except the edemame. Place chopped vegetables and edemame in a large bowl, add the dressing tossing gently to coat.

Once ready, add quinoa to the vegetables and toss together. Serve with a little more sea salt & cracked pepper and squeeze of lemon on top.


Monday Munchies – Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Another fantastic in-season vegetable right now is cauliflower.  I know a lot of people don’t really like cauliflower, and to be honest, I didn’t really either until a few years ago.  I hated it raw and always thought it was a very bland vegetable, but once I tried it roasted I was in love!  Roasting cauliflower really brings out a nutty, slightly sweet flavor, which mixes deliciously with the balsamic and Parmesan in this recipe.

The great thing about balsamic vinegar is that it adds tons of flavor without a lot of added calories.  You can even experiment with different flavors available through a great company called The Olive Tap.  I think the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic would be good in this recipe, and I personally like the Apple or Raspberry Balsamic Vinegars in homemade salad dressings.  It’s a little pricey to be sure, but well worth it!

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted CauliflowerBalsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe


  • 8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.


Monday Munchies – Salmon & Roased Vegetable Salad

As you may recall from my New Year, New Diet post, I’m trying to eat more seasonally this year.  In January root vegetables like turnips and potatoes are in season, and soon salmon will be as well (the recipe calls for canned, but fresh salmon will work even better).  I thought this was a great recipe to combine several of those in-season foods into a deliciously healthy dinner fit for a side of French bread and glass of wine. Enjoy!

Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad Recipe


  • 6 cups cubed (1/2-inch) peeled root vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, carrots and beets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained and flaked (Fresh wild salmon is best if you can get it, but canned is usually more easy to find for many people, so just know that you can use either in this recipe)
  • 2 scallions, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss root vegetables in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir and continue roasting until soft and golden brown in spots, 13 to 15 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, anchovy and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and salt in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dressing in small bowl. Add the salad greens to the large bowl and toss to combine; divide among 4 dinner plates.
  4. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to the large bowl and gently combine with the reserved dressing, salmon and scallions. Top the greens with the salmon and vegetables.

Monday Munchies – Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Breakfast

My grandmother, bless her heart, it always growing such wonderful veggies in her garden.  My newest acquisition from her is a couple of hefty butternut squash.  Never had butternut squash?  I highly recommend it.   Full of all sorts of nutrients and surprisingly sweet (as far as vegetables go), it’s super versatile and much lower in calories than the equally orange and delicious sweet potato.  Since October and November is the peak season for butternut squash, I thought it was time to share one of my favorites!
This recipe is an adaptation from a cookbook my mom and I cooked out of all summer a few years back.  It’s warm and comforting, and really fills you up in the morning.  My adaptations aren’t nearly as low-calorie as the original, but I usually work with what I have on hand.

Word of warning though if you never worked with butternut squash, it’s super difficult to cut, but well worth the effort.  Just a heads up!

Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Breakfast 


  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped apples
  • 1 oz light vanilla soymilk (or lowfat milk with a drop of vanilla)
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses (or a whole tablespoon of maple syrup or other natural sweetener such as honey)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar


  1. Spray a small pot with nonstick spray and bring to medium-low heat.
  2. Add squash and cook for 12-14 minutes, until squash is tender.
  3. With a potato masher, mash squash in the pot.  Add salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and apple pieces.  Mix well.
  4. Turn heat to high and add 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  After 30 seconds of boiling, reduce heat to low.
  5. Let mixture simmer for about 3 minutes, until squash is tender and most of the water has evaporated, but apple still has some crunch to it.
  6. Add molasses, brown sugar, white sugar, and soy milk.  Mix thoroughly.
  7. Continue to cook and stir until mixture reaches desired consistency.