Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Golden Berries
I love fall for the weather, changing colors (okay not so much now that I'm living in California), and delicious, sweet, pumpkin-y baked goods. Which is also the problem...a girl can only eat so many of those baked goods before your belly is like WHOA GIRL and you just need to eat something a little healthier, a little lighter. We're trying to balance our Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie and Pumpkin Zucchini Bread intake with this savory, flavorful salad. It'll wake your tastebuds up and remind you that healthier dishes can taste pretty damn good, too! It's a great dish for detoxing the crap that has accumulated in your system all month and because quinoa is a complete protein, it'll keep you full longer than you'd expect. This salad has a great mix of sweet (golden berries, roasted butternut squash) and savory (celery, onions, parsley) that makes it a real crowd pleaser. We love using Essential Living Foods Golden Berries in this salad 'cause they keep their foods completely raw, organic, and full of superfood goodness...and they taste amazing! (We're huge fans, and you can check out their complete line of superfoods for yourself here.) It's perfect as a Thanksgiving side dish or a packed-lunch for the week, and we just know you're gonna love it so let's EAT!
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups water
1 cup rainbow (or really any kind) quinoa
1/3 cup celery, sliced thinly
1/3 cup red onions, diced
1/3 cup golden berries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/4 cubes and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt + pepper and bake about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While squash bakes, place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Prepare celery, red onions, golden berries, sliced almonds, and fresh parsley and place it into a large bowl. Set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, dijon, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
When squash and quinoa have finished cooking and cooled, pour the quinoa and roasted butternut squash into the large bowl of veggies and gently toss with a wooden spoon. Drizzle the vinaigrette mixture over the salad and toss again to combine. Serve immediately or save in the fridge up to 3 days in an airtight container. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!
If you don't have/ don't like golden berries or almonds or any other ingredient, sub it out for something you LOVE! This salad is super customizable and you should totally take advantage of that based on your preferences and what you have in the pantry.
Easy Chickpeasy Breakfast Burritos
We love grab-and-go breakfasts around here. Alex and I both work early most days, so a lot of time a kiss on the way out the door is all you've got time for- let alone a full fledged balanced breakfast. In our attempt to whip us some easy breakfast burritos, Alex had a brilliant idea. Why not use the AMAZING, fluffy, egg-white-like properties of aquafaba to help keep our breakfast light + similar to the 'potato tacos' so popular here in So Cal? So we did it! And they were a hit. Plus, they're perfect for making ahead and freezing, so you can just grab one on your way out the door and heat it up later. The aquafaba keeps the texture of the chickpeas 'egg like' and you cook 'em up just like you would a pan of scrambled eggs. You can toss in any chopped veggies you like, but we liked them slathered in avocado, hot sauce, and cilantro. They have a slightly hummus-y flavor and they're packed with protein. And even though we've been enjoying them in the mornings, they're great ANY time of the day. They whip up in under 15 minutes, so let's eat!
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1- 15 oz. can chickpeas NOT DRAINED
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon each salt + pepper
1 lime, quartered
avocado, halved and sliced
hot sauce, to taste (opt.)
cilantro, roughly chopped (opt.)
Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Pour entire can of chickpeas INCLUDING the brine, or ‘aquafaba’, into a blender or food processor. Toss in garlic and spices and blend until mixture becomes mostly smooth, but pourable.
Pour mixture into the heated pan, using a spatula to move mixture around as it begins to cook, letting it get slightly browned before flipping mixture onto itself (like scrambled eggs). Continue cooking mixture until it has thickened and browned slightly, becoming almost mashed potato in texture. Lay a tortilla flat, scooping about half of the chickpea mixture on top. Top with slices avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Fold tortilla around mixture and enjoy!
To make freezer burritos, simply fold the tortilla around the chickpea mixture and wrap the whole burrito tightly in tin foil. Freeze indefinitely. When ready to reheat, remove and bake at 350 degrees until the inner mixture is heated through and tortilla begins to brown. Add avocado and condiments + eat ‘em up. Makes 2 burritos.
Field Roast Fiesta Burger!
We've been fans of Field Roast for a few years now and have always loved incorporating their flavorful grain-based sausages in jambalaya, soups, and on their own in a bun and slathered in mustard and onions. At Expo West this year, we FINALLY tried the long-awaited and AMAZING Chao cheeses in all three flavors - tomato cayenne, creamy original, and coconut herb. They're super realistic in flavor + texture to what I remember munching on a kid and they are the perfect filling for an ooey-gooey grilled cheese. Alex is big on finding the PERFECT veggie burger- and as far as texture and flavor goes, Field Roast's Hand-Formed is his first choice. Is it the most realistic looking burger to a meat patty we've seen yet- especially pre-cooked. You could convince any meat eater that whats in the plastic is a turkey burger for sure...if you trash the label, of course. The burger base is a blend of whole barley, carrots, garlic, onions, and celery- and of course, a secret blend of spices! They're high in protein and non-GMO, and are hand-made in small batches, by hand, in Seattle.
When we were sent a few extra samples after the Expo, we decided to create (what we're calling) a Fiesta Burger smothered in Firecracker Sauce, Roasted Poblano Peppers, and Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw...and its fucking delicious. So, let's just pretend we're celebrating Cinco de Mayo three weeks early, grab a margarita, and get cooking. Olé!
2 Field Roast Hand-Formed Burgers
2 slices of Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne Cheese
2 focaccia buns, sliced
1 large or 1 medium poblano peppers
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast washed, halved, and seeded peppers on a lined baking sheet for 15-25 minutes, until skin gets bubbly and brown. Remove from oven, let cool, and peel off bubbly skin so you're left with just the meaty part of the pepper. Set aside.
Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw:
In a large mixing bowl toss together cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine mayo, hot sauce, and paprika. Stir well to combine.
Heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat in a large cast-iron pan. Fry Field Roast patties until crisp and browning on one side. Flip burgers, toss on a slice of tomato cayenne cheese, and let burgers cook until equally crisp and browning on the bottom side.
While the burgers cook, slather bottom patties with about 2 tablespoons each of the Firecracker Sauce. Top with the cooked burger and melty cheese, then layer on the roasted poblano peppers, Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw, and sliced avocado. Spread a bit more Firecracker Sauce on the top bun, add it to the pile, and enjoy! Serves 2. Leftover slaw + firecracker sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Sandwich
We love making protein-packed breakfasts around here. It helps get us through the day without getting sluggish, puts an end to mid-morning snacking, and gets us through our afternoon runs with the pup. One of our favorite ways to do that is to whip up a big batch of spicy chickpea scramble! We toss slightly mashed chickpeas into a large skillet, toss in whatever veggies we have and some of our favorite spices (usually some combo of cumin, chili powder + lots of garlic), and cook it until the whole thing is heated through and the veggies are soft. Its super easy to whip up, reheats well, and last about a week in the fridge! When I'm on top of my shit and food prepping, this is one of my faves. Sometimes though, eating the same breakfast can get boring. You've been there- breakfast rut is the worst! To mix things up we bought focaccia buns, piled 'em high with chickpea scramble, creamy avocado, a slice of Field Roast's new Chao cheese, a smattering of mustard, and a sprinkle of cilantro. PERFECTION! So much flavor and such a nice change from the usual faux meat + faux egg combo. So, let's eat!
Mexican Chickpea Scramble (about 1/2 cup per sandwich)
2 focaccia buns
2 slices of Field Roast Creamy Original (or your favorite sliced vegan) cheese
2 tablespoons spicy mustard
1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
Make up your chickpea scramble (the day before, if you like!) and heat it over medium heat until it is heated through.
In a toaster or on a griddle, lightly toast the inner sides of the focaccia buns. Spread the inside of the bottom and top of the buns with 1-2 teaspoon of mustard each. Layer hot scramble onto the bottom bun, then top with a layer of sliced vegan cheese and sliced avocado. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 2 breakfast sandwiches. Scramble can be refrigerated 4-5 days in the fridge and reheated.
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
While most people are starting this easter morning with pancakes, baked goods, and sweet treats- we're starting slow. We need to pace ourselves because this afternoon I'M GOING TO EAT SO MUCH CANDY. I can't help myself. Luckily, I've got a protein powder like Sunwarrior's Warrior Blend protein to help me start the day in a much more balanced + healthy place. Sunwarrior protein is amazing. It's got a great, rich, sweet flavor and isn't the least bit chalky (and you can buy it HERE). The Warrior Blend has a whopping 19 grams of protein per serving (about 40% of your daily need!) and ZERO sugar. Sun warrior is formulated to be easily digestible and is made of things like pea, hemp seed, cranberry and coconut oil- you know, REAL food! It has a complete amino acid profile (meaning all of 'em) and has extra lysine and leucine, which can be lacking in plant-based proteins. And, as you can see from the photo, it's free of soy, gluten, GMO's, and crappy fillers like sugar. Its a plant-based win, for sure. Plus, if you're into it, Sunwarrior also sells things like sprouted barley, fluvial acid, immunity shields and other plant-based proteins too. Basically everything you need to make sure your active body is performing at its very best! This protein powder gives this smoothie a rich, creamy taste- hence the 'cheesecake' part of the title. The addition of more cashews adds a bit of fullness and more protein to the smoothie, while the strawberries and granola 'crust' keep it light and sweet...like having dessert for breakfast! Now grab those easter baskets, start filling 'em with goodies, and lets eat!
1 scoop OR individual packet of Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein powder
1 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 medjool dates, pits removed
12 oz. non-dairy milk (we like coconut!)
1 cup ice
granola, for garnish (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Top with a bit of granola (its like the 'crust' of the cheesecake!) and serve in two small glasses- or one big one. Enjoy!
Chocolate Mocha Tigernut Smoothie
I've gotten back into running lately and have been relying on protein-packed smoothies and shakes to get me through tough afternoons. Especially since its been so HOT in So Cal lately. What happened to Spring, huh?! Anyway, I need something that'll give me good fats, protein, and plenty of energy and THIS smoothie has it all. Plus CHOCOLATE!
We first tried tiger nuts a few months ago in our VeganCuts Box and then got a bigger bag when we made friends with the gals at the TigerNut Raw Snack booth at Expo West. They made theirs into strawberry milk- which was AMAZING- and inspired us to start sipping on 'em too! Tiger nuts, despite their name, are actually a tuber and are packed with 'energy content', meaning lots of starch, sugar, fat and protein in these wrinkly little guys. Plus they're high in potassium + phosphorous. Perfect for a pre-run snack! But when paired with MRM's creamy, dreamy Chocolate Mocha Veggie Elite Protein Powder, it makes your pre-run snack the best part of your day. MRM is a complete pea and brown rice based protein powder with 24 grams of protein in each 8 ounce serving. It is 100% FREE of GMO's, soy, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and chalkiness. MRM is formulated to helps provide both essential & nonessential amino acids necessary for performance, recovery and repair to support lean tissue and a healthy body weight. And it tastes AMAZING! I loved the nutty, rich flavor of this shake. The touch of mocha just makes it taste decadent- kind of like giving yourself a little treat before you sweat your buns off. It's a delicious pairing. Let's whip out those blenders!
12 oz dairy-free milk
1 banana, frozen OR fresh
1/4 cup tiger nuts (or use what you have on hand)
1-2 scoops MRM Chocolate Mocha Veggie Elite Protein Powder
2 cups ice
optional add-in ideas:
shot of cold brew coffee
Blend it all up in a high speed blender until completely combined. Add more milk as necessary. Makes 1 large smoothie. Enjoy!
*This post contains an affiliate link.
Mediterranean Pesto Wrap
We're still trying to keep the New Year reasonable healthy, and have been munchin' on this wrap for about a week now. We had to share. Simple in construction, the flavors mingle and POP! We used falafel as the main protein in these wraps, but you could easily substitute veggie burgers, 'meat'balls, beans, tofu, or go all veggie to keep it simple! It's really all about the pesto, olives + creamy avocado. I've been making two wraps at lunch time each day- one to eat then & there, and one to eat for dinner at work. Its a great way to pack a bunch of veggies into one meal without really realizing it, and adding a protein- like the garbanzo based falafel, is a great way to stack off snack-y hunger all afternoon! And while we like lavash bread for its shape, softer texture, and ease-in-wrapping, you can use whatever wraps (gluten-free, perhaps?) you prefer. Pro-tip: warm up your lavash/ wrap/ pita on low heat in the oven for a minute before filling it. Makes it a little easier to wrap-up and gives the whole sandwich a very cozy, drippy pesto thing that is just too good to miss. Let's eat!
1 piece lavash bread (or your favorite wrap or pita)
2-4 tablespoons garlic hummus
4 falafel (or one of the protein replacements from above!)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 small cucumber, cut into thin spears
1/4 of a small onion onion, thinly sliced
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
5-8 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro
handful of mixed greens
sprinkle of hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
Heat your oven on low to prepare to heat your lavash bread.
Bake/ heat your falafel or prepare your protein of choice. While your protein cooks, cut up your cucumbers, onions, avocado, olives, and cilantro.
Place your lavash bread in the oven for a a minute to warm it up. Heat it TOO long and the wrap will become too hard to fold and wrap easily, so just let it get warm, then pull it. On you've pulled it, lay it on a work surface, like a large cutting board. Spread hummus evenly around the middle of the lavash. Top with falafel (or veg burger, tofu, whatever!), then pesto. Arrange cucumber, onion, & avocado around falafel width-wise (like shown below). Sprinkle with sliced olives, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce. Finally, toss on a hearty handful of greens. Starting at one end of the lavash bread, begin to roll the wrap up away from you, tucking the innards in to the bread under as you roll to form a tight wrap, which'll help keep your ingredients in. If you prefer to tuck the ends in around the roll, more 'burrito-style'- go for it. I'm just not great at it, and don't mind open-ended wraps. Once its rolled up tight, use a serrated knife to slice the wrap in half at a slight angle. Serve, enjoy! (Makes one wrap- but there are two halves, if you're a good sharer. If not, double the recipe!)
Mexican Chickpea Scramble
Good morning! I can't believe this is the first time I'm posting this recipe. Alex and I eat this for breakfast at least twice a week, sometimes more. We add in different veggies and toppings depending on what we've got, but these specific ingredients are our favorites. With fresh garden tomatoes and a side of buttery avocados, it really hits the spot. We like pairing ours with a side of toast or corn tortillas and wrapping it up like a taco. Yum!
If you're new to the vegan lifestyle, the is breakfast makes a great substitute for scrambled eggs, and has nearly 20 grams of protein per serving! (A great answer when you get that snarky question "But where do you get your protein?") It'll fill you up and keep you full, and unlike cooked eggs, makes GREAT leftovers. Now, let's eat!
1- 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), half mashed
1/2 medium onion (about 1/4 cup), chopped
1 small bell pepper (about 1/4 cup), diced
1 medium tomato (about 1/4 cup), diced
1/4 cup shredded cabbage
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil, separated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
salt & pepper to taste
In a medium-sized frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until onions begin to soften and start to become glassy, about 5 minutes. While veggies cook, use a fork to mash about half of the chickpeas. (More or less, depending on the texture you prefer- more mashed is closer to a scrambled egg texture.) Add chickpeas & the last tablespoon of coconut oil to the frying pan, and stir to combine. Sprinkle in cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, turmeric, salt & pepper. Stir to evenly distribute, and continue cooking several minutes, until mixture is heated through. Toss in chopped tomatoes & shredded cabbage, and cook 1-2 more minutes, so they slightly soften. Turn off the heat and serve your scramble with a side of avocado and salsa, plus a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Serves 2. Leftovers save well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
Southwestern Black Bean Salad
It's summertime and livin' is WARM! Seriously, it's hovered around 100 degrees most of the week and that makes it hard to eat anything warm or heavy. Let this simple, light Southwestern Black Bean Salad help you fight off hot-day hunger without overfilling you. Its perfect on its own but great with tortilla chips, too. Packed with protein, a 1-cup serving will give you half the amount of your daily protein needed. Pack it for lunch or a picnic, or enjoy while staring straight into the air conditioner. Best sprinkled with freshly chopped cilantro and a dash of hot sauce. Let's eat!
2 cups cooked black beans OR one 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
1 medium sized avocado, pitted and diced
2-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, freshly squeezed (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-3 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Cut up all veggies and toss together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in cilantro & garlic and drizzle with lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, smoked paprika and hot sauce (if you like it spicy)! Toss to coat everything evenly. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a side of corn chips. Last well up to 3 days in the fridge. Keeps longer if you add the avocado only as needed instead of in the entire batch. Makes about 4 cups. Enjoy!
Picante Black Bean Hummus
You know what is the most frustrating thing about being a vegan? When people ask "Well, where do you get your protein?" Like we vegans can only get it from meat. Ick. Protein can be found in all kinds of foods (not just meat- but since you're here you already knew that), and recent studies have shown that we really don't need nearly as much protein as most of us get, anyway. But that's a lame answer.
Next time, just shove this recipe in their face and watch 'em drool. The black beans in this hummus provide you with 2.6 grams of protein for every tablespoon of them you consume. And I don't know about you, but for me that's like maybe two dips. Nom nom.
Plus, this hummus is damn good. As you may (or may not) know, 'PICANTE' is Spanish for 'SPICY', and this dip has a little kick. The cilantro is fresh with hints of citrus, balanced out by the smoky flavor of the paprika and highlighted by the fresh lime juice. It comes together quickly and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Need a bigger batch? This recipe is easily doubled or quadrupled. So, lets eat!
1- 15 ounce can OR about 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
After draining beans, combine then in a high-speed blender or food processor with all other ingredients. Blend on high about 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve with a dash of smoked paprika and a sprinkle of green onions, or all on its own with chips, veggies, or on pita bread. Saves well, covered, up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!