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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Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Granola

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I absolutely love Granola and it has definitely become one of my specialties. Lots of people buy granola at a grocery store, or get some from their local coffee shop thinking they are indulging in a super healthy treat. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but most granolas are loaded with refined sugars and unhealthy fats. While oats and nuts provide protein, healthy fats and whole grains when you load them with hydrogenated oils, brown sugar, syrups etc… you might as well have a piece of cake. What frustrates me about this is that you can have granola that is healthy and tastes just as good, if not better than that bagged junk you get at the grocery store. This recipe is SO easy and so delicious! It is gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar free. It is filled with super foods to give extra omega 3, fibre and protein. I enjoy it on coconut yogurt, with unsweetened almond milk or sprinkled on overnight oats. Have a wonderful day and enjoy!

Ingredients:

• 3 cups quinoa flakes
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup of maple syrup, date syrup or honey (or a mixture of all three)
• 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract (or scraping of bean pod)
• 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds
• 1/4 cup of hazelnuts
• 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
• 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
• 1/4 cup of goji berries or dried fruit of choice (prunes, dates, figs, apricots)
• pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. Whisk together the olive oil, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, chia and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl and add the quinoa flakes, stirring to combine thoroughly. If your nuts and coconut flakes are raw (not roasted) add these too.

3. Evenly spread the quinoa on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt

4. Roast, stirring now and then, until the flakes are dried and crunchy and a lovely golden brown, about 25 minutes.

5. Let the quinoa mixture cool completely before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Store in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!