Herbed Walnut Quinoa with Honey Balsamic Grilled Peaches

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Quinoa as we all know by now is super grain because of its unique characteristics. Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. This makes it a great meal for vegans and vegetarians or as a substitute for rice or other grains and starches. I’ve seen this grain used in so many great ways. Like rice, it is versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. Plus, it is naturally gluten free! I like to cook my quinoa in vegetable or chicken stock to let the grain absorb all that flavour. This will reduce the amount of sauce, oil, dressing etc.. you will need to flavour the mild tasting grain. It is a must for this recipe! You can make your own veg stock or buy low sodium organic stock or broth in most grocery stores. The ingredients should only include vegetables, no funky chemicals or added salt.

Now that summer is here, everyone is craving those light refreshing flavours. Fresh herbs and citrus are always in my fridge for fresh teas and juices. They also add great light flavour to desserts and main dishes alike without adding unwanted oils, sauces etc… I really wanted to make a quinoa that was both sweet and savoury but really refreshing and light at the same time. By grilling the peaches with honey and balsamic they get a beautiful caramelization and smoky flavour that combines beautifully with the crunchy walnuts and savoury quinoa. Dressed in lightly acidic vinaigrette and fresh mint and parsley makes it a perfect merry of vibrant flavours! If you eat dairy it would go perfectly with some crumbled goat cheese or salty feta (yes, I do miss cheese sometimes). This is DELICIOUS with fish or a great light lunch on its own. I had on top of some raw kale for a protein packed lunch and it was so filling! Remember that for every cup of uncooked quinoa you will get about 3 cups cooked. So reduce or add more depending on how many this will serve! Make sure to adjust the seasonings if you change the amount of quinoa! Bon appetit!
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Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

• 2 cups quinoa
• 4 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
• 1 tsp of pepper
• 2 white peaches (or your favourite kind) (chopped 1/2 inch cubes)
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 cup walnuts
• 2 sprigs mint (chopped)
• 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

1. Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh sieve. Bring quinoa and vegetable stock to boil in saucepan; cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the peaches. In a medium bowl whisk the balsamic vinegar and honey until combined. Toss the chopped peaches in the mixture until well coated.

3. Melt the coconut oil in grill pan or brush BBQ. Cook the peaches on mediium-high heat until caramelized. (3-4 minutes… you still want them to have bite!)

4. In a large serving bowl whisky together the chopped mint and parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and juice of one lemon, salt and pepper.

5. Take the cool cooked quinoa and toss in the dressing until combined. Add walnuts and peaches. Enjoy!
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Spicy Asian Zucchini Cucumber Noodle Salad

Photo 2014-06-02, 7 46 16 AMLot’s of requests for this one on instagram! I had such a delicious raw pad thai at a fantastic vegan, gluten free raw restaurant here in Montreal and I knew I had to get my hands on a spiralizer. I chose the Gefu spiralizer (off Amazon) and I found it simple to use and gave great ‘zoodles’ aka zucchini noodles. I know there are some more hardcore spiralizers, but as a starter I highly recommend this one! It also takes up very little space in the cupboard which is a HUGE plus.

I really had no planned recipe for this device. I was so anxious to get that spiralizer out of the box that I put very little thought into what I wanted to make with it! So, I just went with flow of things and went for a light spicy asian salad which complimented the fish perfectly. My next time using it will probably involve some sweet potato and carrots. Some tahini or peanut based sauce would be delicious! Served warm or cold, veggie noodles are a perfect accompaniment to meat and fish or alone as a light vegetarian lunch.

For this meal in particular, I ate these zucchini and cucumber noodles with simply grilled salmon cooked in a bit of coconut oil, salt, pepper and lemon. Really my favourite way to eat fish. Simple is best. This is a perfect meal to enjoy this summer or as a side dish for BBQ. It is light and refreshing and as always gluten, dairy and refined sugar free! For those watching their carb intake these are a great alternative to italian pasta dishes. Hope you enjoy!

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Noodle Ingredients:

• 3 zucchini
• 3 mini cucumber
• 1 red pepper thinly sliced
• 1/4 cup buckwheat sprouted groats (optional)
• 1 tsp rice vinegar
• 1 tsp gluten free tamari
• 2-3 drops stevia or 1/2 tsp honey
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1/2 tsp pepper
• 1/2 tsp sriracha
• few dashes fish sauce

Fish Ingredients:

• Wild caught salmon
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• good pinch salt
• good pinch pepper
• lemon wedges for serving

Directions:

1. Spiralize cucumber and zucchini and place in a bowl. Add finely chopped red pepper.

2. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Taste (add some more oil if its too spicy, or add more sriracha for heat) and toss in noodles. Top with buckwheat or seeds for crunch!

3.For the salmon, coat in melted coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat on the pan or off the fire on BBQ.
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Sweet Potato Pie Cookies

Photo 5-17-2014, 1 04 20 AMI was really craving something sweet and comforting and had nothing but some sweet potato in my pantry. I wondered, how can I get these into a cookie? I know lots of people have been doing the sweet potato brownie thing, but I wanted to highlight the flavour of the sweet potato instead of masking it. They have the best texture and the sweetest earthy flavour that truly satisfies both the sweet and savoury tooth. What better highlights sweet potato in a dessert than sweet potato pie?

I know sweet potato pie is a classic Thanksgiving dish, so these cookies give you a chance to get those flavours year round without the butter, flour and oil. These nutrient packed potatoes give you good source of dietary fiber, vitamin b6 and potassium, vitamin a, vitamin c and manganese. Sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates so these cookies are good easy pre or post workout snack with a little extra maple cinnamon almond butter on top… YUM! These cookies are extremely soft and not to sweet, plus they are super simple to make. If you like cookies on the sweeter side I reccomend doubling the syrup or honey. As always these cookies are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. They also don’t have any added oil, or grain. So they are also perfect for those following the paleo diet. Hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful weekend.
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Ingredients:

• 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
• 2/3 cup almond flour
• 1/2 cup almond butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (add another 1/4 cup if you like a sweeter cookie)
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/2 tsp all spice
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Steam or boil sweet potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, then mash.

2. To the mashed sweet potato add maple syrup and almond butter and stir until combined. Then add spices, almond flour baking soda and salt.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Form dough into balls, place on parchment and press with a fork.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until slightly browned.

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