Arugula Pear Quinoa Salad

Arugula Pear and Quinoa Salad
I am so excited to share a guest post from the beautiful (and YOUNG!) Ali from aliandheralmondbutter.com She has such a great spirit and takes the most gorgeous pictures. She has created a perfect fall salad for you to munch on this season. Hope you love it!

Here is a little from Ali about her recipe :

The salad is simple.
Just cook up some quinoa. Toast some pecans. Sauté your mushrooms and pears together and make a sweet sauce to go with them. And stir all your wonderful ingredients together in a bowl.

It’s healthy.
What I love about quinoa is that it isn’t an “empty carb” like potatoes (though I do love potatoes; don’t get me wrong). It is full of iron and fiber, and—most importantly—it’s very protein-rich (for any protein-seeking vegans or vegetarians). I am obsessed with quinoa. Considering the well-known health benefits of the other ingredients in this recipe (i.e. garlic, arugula), this is a very wholesome meal.

It’s delicious.
A little sweet, but not too sweet. A touch of thyme. A sprinkling of scallions. My whole family loved this recipe (even the 8-year-old, I might add). So let’s get cooking!
Arugula Pear and Quinoa Salad

Arugula Pear and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

• 1 cup quinoa
• 2 cups water
• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• olive oil
• 1 large asian or bosc pear (sliced to make heaping 2 cups)
• 6-8 white button mushrooms (sliced to make heaping 2 cups)
• 1/4 cup sherry
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 1 T water
• 1/4 tsp thyme
• 2 T maple syrup
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 4 cups arugula

Directions:

1.Place the quinoa, water, minced garlic, and salt in a medium-sized pot or a rice cooker. Cook on low with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Or you can just follow the directions on the quinoa package.

2.Chop up the pecans and roast either in a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven until they smell toasty. Directions on toasting pecans here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/cooking-tips/ask-the-test-kitchen/toasted-pecans

3.Now wash and slice the pears and mushrooms. Lightly grease a large skillet with olive oil. Place the pears and mushrooms in the skillet and place over medium heat. Let them cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes.

4.Once the mushrooms are soft, add in sherry, salt, cornstarch-water mixture, thyme, and maple syrup. Turn up the heat a bit and cook until the sauce thickens—about 4-5 more minutes.

5.Place the quinoa in a large bowl once it is done cooking. Now add in the rest of the ingredients: toasted pecans, cooked pear-mushroom combo, scallions, and arugula. Stir and serve warm.

Arugula Pear and Quinoa Salad

About Ali and Her Almond Butter:

Hi, I’m Ali, a 17-year-old girl who loves food. I believe that living a healthy, gluten-free life should be easy and super fun. Join me as I create recipes that are simple to make, healthy for your body, and totally delicious. Simple. Healthy. Delicious. Check out my blog aliandheralmondbutter.com

Sesame Peanut Chewy Bars

Sesame Peanut Chewy BarsI bought puffed buckwheat and quinoa recently to eat as a cereal for breakfast. I don’t know if any of you have tried this stuff, but it pretty much tastes like air. Out of frustration of wasting money on these products I decided to incorporate them into a granola-type bar.Just in this case, I swapped the ‘granola’ for puffed buckwheat- and I’m so glad I did. These bars make a perfect breakfast or snack as they aren’t overly sweet but leave you satisfied. The addition of sesame and ginger play on the savoury side of things so I highly recommend these to those absolutely crazy ‘non-dessert’ people out there. These come together super quick and stay nicely in the fridge or freezer. Hope you love them!

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Sesame Peanut Chewy Bars

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup pitted dates
• 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (all natural)
• 1/2 cup water (or more) to thin out peanut butter mixture
•1 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional)
• 2 cups puffed buckwheat (or your favourite gluten free cereal)
• 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
• 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
• 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
• 1/2 cup 70% dairy free chocolate, melted
• pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Line an 8 x 10 inch or 5 x 20 cm baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Process dates in a food processor until a paste forms.

3. Melt coconut oil, peanut butter, sweetener of choice, and ginger in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk until combined.

4. Once combined, whisk in your date paste. Use hot water as needed to thin out the mixture. It should almost look like caramel.

5. Remove from heat. Fold in your peanuts, puffed cereal, sesame seeds and coconut.

6. Press your mixture into baking dish and allow to firm up in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour. Remove from the cold, and drizzle on melted chocolate then sprinkle with sea salt. ENJOY!

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Sesame Peanut Chewy Bars

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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