Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Solstice everyone :)  I don’t know if you realized, but yesterday was the longest day of the year?!?!  I find it odd that the longest day of the year is actually earlier on in the summer, but I’m not complaining.  I love summer and Seattle is getting longer, warmer days each year that I live here.  Seriously, the sun sets after 9 pm and we are experiencing highs in the 90s BEFORE “the official” start of summer in Seattle (aka 4th of July weekend).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Fremont, which is undoubtedly the quirkiest neighborhood in Seattle, and also refers to itself as, “The Center of the Universe” throws a fair for Solstice.  There is even a parade and this may be one of the most free-spirited parade routes in the country…it starts off with naked, body-painted, cyclists.   If that doesn’t welcome summer, I don’t know what does.  We kicked off the weekend with a mimosa brunch, build your own breakfast burrito bar, and spent the afternoon watching the parade festivities.  Andrew and I were lucky to be a part of a friend’s proposal later that night and continued celebrating into the evening.  Talk about  making the most of a long day!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Today, the day after Solstice, is all about relaxing and some meal prep for the week ahead.  Quinoa salads are a great, healthy, easy, and versatile recipe to throw into your meal planning routine.  With all the warm weather, there is so much yummy produce, and a light salad is one of my favorite work lunches :)  This is a twist on one of my favorite Bosnian dishes –šopska salata (Shopska Salad).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This salad is a staple in many Balkan countries.   Traditionally, the salad is comprised of tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, onion, feta, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt.  Here in the U.S. it is difficult to find the green peppers that are custom to The Balkans, so I omit the peppers because bell peppers just don’t taste the same.  The quinoa and beans are great protein boost and the I love to change up the flavor by adding whatever fresh herb I have on-hand.  Today it was rosemary, but basil and parsley work nicely too.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I decided to have some fun with the pictures for this post and get a lil’ fancy since the rest of my day has been pretty casual ;)  I hope you all had a happy, safe Solstice and are excited for the rest of summer!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8-10

The Players: 

For the salad
1 C dry quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1/2 hothouse cucumber, sliced and quartered (~1 1/2 C)
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, diced (~1 C)
16 oz can 50% reduced sodium garbanzo bean, drained and rinsed

For the dressing 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced rosemary
1/2 C feta cheese
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. For the quinoa: Place quinoa and water in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to low heat, place lid on pot, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff quinoa, and replace lid for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your veggies and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once quinoa is cooked, transfer to the mixing bowl, and add dressing ingredients.  Toss well to combine.  Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and allow the flavors to enhance.  Serve cold.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Alright, I have a confession.  Are you guys ready for it?  I splurged…big time.  I purchased my first, official pair of running shoes!  I tried to play it cool and wear my Nike Outlet and Nordstrom Rack Nikes while training for my first marathon.  I tried to convince myself that I did not need to walk into the new Brooks store (conveniently located off the running path…hello marketing genius).  But this Sunday, after a trip to the Fremont Sunday Market and Fremont Brewery (oops) I did the deed.

And I do not regret my decision one bit!  The sales associate was awesome and analyzed my gait and provided me with a few options.  I am so excited to continue my marathon training with my new shoes.  Also, SHOUT OUT to all the Boston Marathon Participants out there.  You are my inspiration.  Don’t worry seasoned vets, I will test drive my new kicks before I run my 17 mile long run on Saturday.  Mentally already exhausted.  But I get such a thrill running, especially with all the PNW beauty, that my running days are my favorite work out days :)

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Another healthy obsession of mine is Thai food.  Seriously, Thai recipes seem overwhelming, but really they require you to have the same key spices/ingredients on hand and then it all comes down to the balance of flavors.  Spring rolls are a great recipe to have in your culinary tool box for entertaining, using up veggies, or quick meals.  Honestly, you can combine a variety of proteins or veggies and if you dip it in peanut sauce…it’s going to taste AMAZING.  Hello happy taste buds and belly.  I decided to use spinach and quinoa in this variation since I had both on hand in the fridge.  But next time who knows what I’ll find in the kitchen and in my spring roll.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Let me know what you love to put in your spring rolls and what your favorite running shoes are?!?!

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls

The Players: 

For the shrimp: 
24 large shrimp, peeled
1 t brown sugar
1 t chili paste
1 t sesame oil
1/2 t fish sauce

For the spring rolls: 
8 medium-size spring roll wrappers
1 C cooked red quinoa
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves (alternatively use thai basil)

For the peanut dipping sauce
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 T coconut cream (alternatively use 2 T light coconut milk in place of coconut cream and water)
2 T water
1 t brown sugar (if desiring sweeter sauce)
1 t fish sauce (alternatively use soy sauce)
2 t chili paste (use less if sensitive to spice)
1/2 t sesame oil

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a mixing bowl and coat shrimp.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the veggies, and cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Set veggies aside and allow quinoa to cool.  (Note: I prepare quinoa in a large batch for the week and keep it refrigerated for later use)
  3. In a microwave safe dish, combine ingredients for peanut dipping sauce and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk until well-incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Set aside. (Note: For a thicker dipping sauce, use 1 tbsp water; for a thinner sauce use 2 tbsp water)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, until pink.  Remove from heat.
  5. Pour simmering water into a large pan or bowl.  Place the spring roll wrapper in the water and rotate until moistened.  Lay the wrapper on a damp, clean work surface.
  6. In the center of the spring roll wrapper layer spinach, quinoa, carrots, red bell peppers, shrimp, and cilantro.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking ends in, and set aside.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for remaining 7 spring rolls.  (Note: I used 3 shrimp per spring roll)
  7. Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  Store extra spring rolls in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

30-Minute Vegan Fried Quinoa

Fried rice.  This is my ultimate comfort food.  My dad aka “The Big Guy” makes THE. BEST. FRIED. RICE.  His is loaded with rice, butter, chicken, seafood, veggies, and soy sauce.  It is probably the guiltiest fried rice I have ever tasted.  This was my request every time I came home from college.  Which is ironic because in college, I enjoyed Philly cheese steaks or chinese take-out at least once a week.  That pint of fried rice was necessary to survive mid-terms, finals, and countless late night study sessions.

30-Minute Vegan Fried Quinoa

Fast-forward to 2015 and the more health-conscious me… I have created something pretty fantastic.  Probably the skinniest twist on fried rice that is out there.  This recipe is nutritious, filling, and ready in less than 30 minutes.  It is also packed with flavor.

30-Minute Vegan Fried Quinoa

The quinoa is an amazing substitute for rice.  Quinoa hold its texture quite nicely and provides the perfect foundation for this dish.  Tofu as the scrambled egg substitute is another awesome food swap.  Tofu has a similar consistency to eggs and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in –in this case coconut oil, ginger, chili paste, and soy sauce…YUM!  I added in the veggies I had on hand, but you could toss in broccoli, carrots, scallions, etc. to switch up the flavors and textures.  If you have kimchi at home I would toss that in too!  Put a little Korean twist on the dish.

30-Minute Vegan Fried Quinoa

If you have not cooked with quinoa or tofu before, this is the perfect dish to experiment with the ingredients.  Your taste buds will not be disappointed :)

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

For the quinoa
1 C red quinoa (alternatively white quinoa)
1 1/4 C vegetable stock

For the fried quinoa 
1 T coconut oil (alternatively butter, if opting for vegetarian)
2 t ground fresh chili paste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T freshly minced ginger
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (alternatively green bell pepper)
4 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and sliced
1 C frozen corn
1 C frozen petite peas
3-4 T low sodium soy sauce

The Rules: 

  1. Place the quinoa and and vegetable stock in a medium-sized stock pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, place lid on pot and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking prepare the remaining ingredients:
    1. Chop/mince the produce.
    2. In a large wok or sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add chili paste, ginger, garlic, onion and cook for ~3 minutes.
    3. Add the pepper and mushroom, cooking for 5 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender.  Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
    4. In the same pan, scramble the tofu, cooking for 3-5 minutes.
    5. Combine the vegetables you set aside with the scrambled tofu, frozen corn, and peas.
    6. Transfer the quinoa to the pan with the tofu-vegetable mixture.  Season with soy sauce to desired saltiness.  Serve warm with optional Sriracha drizzled on top.

Skinny Enchilada Bake

Skinny Enchilada Bake

This recipe is one I have experimented with over the past year.  It started with a trip to Miami.  My cousin and her fiance live in Miami and they were gracious enough to host us for a much needed break from the gloomy Seattle winter!  What better way to repay your host than to have a yummy, home-made meal ready for them after work?

Skinny Enchilada Bake

I decided to make a healthier twist on a favorite Mexican dish–enchiladas!  You really cannot go wrong with Mexican food or casseroles in my opinion.  Casseroles are just a midwest obsession.  Anyone who grew up in the Midwest has grown up eating their fair share of casseroles.  Traditionally, I associate casseroles with canned soup: most midwest mamas love to add canned soup to their casseroles.  Don’t worry this is not your mama’s casserole, no canned soup here (not that I have anything against your mama’s casserole).

Skinny Enchilada Bake

The first time I made this dish I did not include the sweet potato or jalapeno, I shredded the chicken, and I used salsa verde instead of enchilada sauce.  I think this new and improved version packs even more healthy ingredients into each bite and the pieces of chicken and sweet potato are a great contrast to the quinoa.  To keep it on the healthier side I went easy on the cheese, but you can feel free to add more to get an ooey-gooey, cheesy crust on top of the enchilada bake.  Feel free to garnish with greek yogurt (seriously, I may have an unhealthy obsession with that condiment), sour cream, salsa, or hot sauce.  We even used the last of the enchilada bake as the filling for some soft shell tacos.

Skinny Enchilada Bake

This is a hearty dish that is sure to be a favorite in your household.  We ate this meal three times in a row.  Not because we had to, but because it is just that good.  I usually love leftovers…once.  I repeat “three times in a row?!?!” You know this a winner-winner chicken dinner ;)

Skinny Enchilada Bake

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breast, fat trimmed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
12 oz bottle of enchilada sauce + 3/4 C water
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 C frozen corn
1 C quinoa + 11/2 C water (I used a mix of red and white quinoa)
1/2 C grated cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)
1 roma tomato, diced
4 scallions, diced

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. For the quinoa: combine 1 1/2 C water and quinoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer (low setting), place lid on pan and let quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes.  (Note: Do not uncover lid from sauce pan until at least 15 minutes have passed otherwise you will lose the steam needed to cook the quinoa)
  3. Place the sweet potato pieces in a small microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tbsp of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Drain excess water and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan greased with non-stick cooking spray sauté the pepper, onions, garlic, and jalapeno over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Move the veggies over to one side of the pan and add the chicken breast, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken over to the opposite side and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes to the pan at this time.
  6. Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken.  Add water to the bottle of enchilada sauce, replace lid, shake to loosen any sauce on the bottle and pour the enchilada sauce-water mixture over the chicken too.
  7. Add the corn and black beans to the pan and stir to combine all ingredients.
  8. Remove the chicken breast from the pan and set on a cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Replace chicken in the enchilada sauce and veggie mixture. (Note: If the chicken is still slightly raw in the middle, do not worry it will finish cooking in the oven)
  9. Add the quinoa to the frying pan and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Transfer to your prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with the grated cheese.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with freshly chopped tomatoes and scallions.  Serve warm with your favorite Mexican garnishes!

Coconut Curry Stew

Coconut Curry Stew

The season of holiday parties and getaways is officially underway!  We just came back from an amazing beachside cabin escape at Camano Island.  Picture an evening full of bonfires, charades, eagle scouts, champagne, beer, chips n dip, frozen pizzas, AND ugly Christmas sweaters.

How is it that December is always so full of social gatherings and junking out?!?!  I’m not complaining, but I was definitely in the mood for a cleansing meal today.

I love melding different cultures together when I experiment in the kitchen.  Enter this asian fusion, hearty, vegan stew.  The chili paste, curry, coconut milk, and fresh ginger provide a sinfully delicious asian flare to this take on a veggie and quinoa stew.

Coconut Curry Stew

I threw in the veggies I had on hand: mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  This coconut and curry broth would taste divine with a large variety of produce.  Think about your favorite curry dishes and pull in any additional veggies ;)

As an added source of nutrition I finished off the stew with some quinoa.  Quinoa has been called a superfood.  It is packed with protein, calcium, fiber, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium.  For this reason, this grain-like food is great for vegans (and us non-vegans too).

Coconut Curry Stew

Seriously, this stew is the bomb dot com and it makes for great leftovers!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

1 T coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 heaping tsp chili paste
1 heaping tsp raw minced ginger
2 oz red curry paste
14 oz light coconut milk
4 C water + vegetable bouillon cube (32 oz veggie stock alternatively)
1/8 C granulated sugar
1 roma tomato, diced
8 oz crimini mushroom, rinsed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 C quinoa (I used a mixture of red and white quinoa)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnish: fresh cilantro

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add coconut oil to pot once warm.
  2. Cook onion, garlic, and pepper in pot until onion is translucent (~3 minutes).  Add carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the quinoa.  Stir, replace lid on pot, and bring to a boil (5-10 minutes).
  4. Then add the quinoa and reduce the pot to medium-low heat, replace lid, simmer an additional 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked.
  5. Serve warm with freshly chopped cilantro.