roasted beet and orange quinoa salad

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in featured, grains, salads | 0 comments

Beets are another delicious root vegetable in season through fall and winter.  When roasted, they lend a hearty texture and sweet flavor to salads and side dishes.  Beets are one of those foods that I grew up dreading being served.  Brussels sprouts and black eyed peas fell into that same category.  Surprisingly, these have become some of my favorite foods in the last several years.  At the beginning of each week, I steam or roast a bunch of beets to have on hand to add to meals throughout the week.

Beets belong to the chenopod family along with chard and quinoa because of their red and yellow pigments and their unique antioxidant phytonutrient content.  Their bright red color comes from the betalain pigment that has an unusual antioxidant make up that make them both pretty and quite healthy.  5 reasons to add beets to your family’s menu this week:

  • They’re good for your eyes and your nervous system.
  • They reduce inflammation in your body.
  • They promote detoxification in your liver.
  • They slow cancer tumor growth.
  • They contain a fiber blend that is good for your colon and your heart.
roasted beet and orange quinoa salad
Recipe type: salad, side dish
Serves: 4

  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange white balsamic vinegar (plain balsamic is fine too)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, cut in cubes
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel skin off of beets and cut into small cubes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme, and sea salt to make the dressing.
  4. Toss beets in 2 tablespoons of the dressing, and lay out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes and let cool.
  6. Combine quinoa, oranges, green onions, pecans, and beets in a medium bowl.
  7. Drizzle remaining dressing over quinoa salad and gently toss.
  8. Serve immediately or chill before serving.


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corn and black bean summer salad

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in salads, vegetables | 0 comments

Thank goodness our back patio is shaded most of the day from the oppressive Texas heat because we love to be outside, in the pool, and grilling for dinner.  We make this as a tasty side salad to go with grilled chicken or fish, but I also enjoy it garnished with avocado (of course!) and shrimp as a stand alone dish.

Corn is in season and plentiful at our local grocery stores right now, and this recipe is a fun alternative to eating it on the cob.  Adding fresh sweet corn to any dish or serving it on its own is a great way to incorporate more whole grains into your diet along with fiber and folate, which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.  Whole grains also give us other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium, and corn in particular is one of the best sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that help promote healthy vision and protect the eyes.  So, add a little sweet corn to your diet this summer!

corn and black bean summer salad
Recipe type: salad, side dish

  • 4 ears of corn, cooked or grilled and kernels removed from cob
  • 1½ cups of black beans, soaked and cooked according to package directions
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • optional garnishes: cilantro, avocado, shrimp

  1. In a medium bowl, combine corn, beans, onion, red bell pepper, and cucumber.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, garlic, ginger, sea salt, and olive oil.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours for the flavors to set in, and stir once during that time.
  5. Shortcut: use 2 cans corn and 1 can black beans.

To grill corn, preheat the grill and soak the cobs in cold water. Peel back the husks, remove as much silk as possible, then pull the still-attached husks back up over the cob. Tie the ends to keep the husks secure if you need to. After 20 minutes, remove the corn from the water, shake off any excess, and place directly on the grill with the husks intact. Grill them for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating periodically. Remove the husks before eating.


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thai coleslaw

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in featured, salads, vegetables | 1 comment

We just returned from a week of vacation out of the country where we got our fill of lazy days in the sun but also ate very few fresh veggies. Both my husband and I were missing them before day 3!  So upon returning, I began dreaming of this yummy and spicy coleslaw.  It requires quite a bit of chopping, but on a Sunday afternoon after a week away from my kitchen, I actually found it quite relaxing.  And, I should have plenty leftover for me to munch on throughout the week.

Napa cabbage is an especially healthy veggie…a cruciferous dark leafy green…that boasts the following health benefits:  it’s packed with antioxidants which help protect our bodies from diseases like cancer, it’s loaded with fiber which helps lower bad cholesterol levels, and it’s high in Vitamin C, K, and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and magnesium.  Because Napa cabbage is also incredibly low in calories (100 grams of fresh leaves contain only 16 calories!) and made of filling fiber, it is wise choice for those trying to lose weight.

thai coleslaw
Recipe type: salad, vegetables, side dish

  • ½ head Napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons organic creamy peanut butter
  • 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water

  1. In a large bowl, combine Napa cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, green onions, and peanuts.
  2. In a Magic Bullet or Vitamix or other blender, combine peanut butter, rice vinegar, honey, coconut oil, coconut, lime juice, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and water. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour dressing over salad mixture, and toss until well coated.
  4. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  5. Refrigerate until time to serve.


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berry pasta salad

Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 in fruit, grains, salads | 0 comments

I love to keep prepared salads in my fridge for the family to snack on, especially during the summer.  One of my two children is a pasta junkie, and this one is a particular favorite because of the sweet twist the berries add.  Let me know if your family likes it as much as mine!
berry pasta salad
Recipe type: Salad, Fruit

  • 1¾ cups dried quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta
  • 1½ cups fresh blackberries (or strawberries or raspberries)
  • 3 ounces small fresh mozzarella cheese balls, halved
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves (shred if large)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry or blackberry balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
  • black pepper to taste
  • optional: diced cooked or grilled organic chicken

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse well with cold water and drain again.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, raspberry balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl toss together pasta, strawberries, cheese, and basil.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss again.
  5. Can add diced cooked or grilled chicken breast.
  6. Refrigerate until time to serve.

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pineapple mango salad

Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in fruit, salads, vegetables | 0 comments

Spring is the time our bodies naturally want foods that are light and fresh.  As the temperature warms, our bodies desire cool, refreshing foods to keep us balanced.  Here in Texas, it gets hot quickly, and this salad offers a deliciously light addition to your meal.  I like to serve mine with the Chipotle Lime Salmon from an earlier post.

Pineapple Mango Salad

  • 1 diced mango
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced purple onion
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the mango, pineapple, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, and cucumber, and toss gently.
  2. In a small bowl, stir to combine the olive oil, juice and zest of lime, ginger, and salt.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the mango mixture and gently toss.
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Cauliflower with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in salads, vegetables | 0 comments

Recently, Taylor, Kristi and I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition conference in Long Beach, California.  What an amazing experience!  At dinner on Saturday, we were served a lovely dish of cauliflower with currants and pine nuts.  It was so delicious that I knew I had to try to recreate it once home.  I hope you like my version as much as my family did.  My husband (who really doesn’t care for cauliflower) ate every bite and said he couldn’t believe how the cauliflower taste was masked by the other flavors.

Cauliflower with Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup blackberry balsamic, although any balsamic will do
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, pine nuts, raisins, and garlic.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the cauliflower mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours.
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