Chimichurri Quinoa Salad |vegetarian | gluten free

The star of this hearty summer salad is most definitely the dressing. A triple-threat of bright and flavoursome herbs with a splash of lime juice this chimichurri inspired dressing soaks into every bite and unites all the other ingredients in summery perfection.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChris and I arrived in New Orleans after a very long day of travelling. Our lovely Air BnB host Georgia recognised two weary and hungry travellers and took us on a tour of the neighbourhood, which ended at the gorgeous St. Roch Market.St Roch Market New Orleans | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf you are staying anywhere in the St. Roch neighbourhood or nearby, you need to stop by the marketplace. Walking inside you are welcomed by a line up of vendors on either side of the historic building each offering a different taste experience or regional cuisine. Chris fell in love with the ‘Dirty Mac and Cheese’, which features smoked gouda, crawfish, and bacon. My heart, however, belonged to the team at JuiceNOLA from the very first bite of their Greek Goddess Salad. When I tasted their Chimi Chimi Bang Bang Salad for lunch one day, and had to return for a second round at dinnertime that night, I knew I had to find a way to keep getting this salad in my face when I returned home.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe base of this salad is quinoa and your favourite green. I used oak leaf lettuce because I have a serious leafy green crush on it that will never end. To this you add butter beans. The team at JuiceNOLA used black beans so mix it up as you wish. The magic is in the dressing. Chimichurri is essentially a mix of parsley, coriander, chives, and basil with a spark of bright acidic sharpness and garlic. It is absolutely what makes this salad such a stand-out.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe magic dressing aside, there are just so many bits and pieces in this salad that make every nibble unique and moreish. Into our solid base of quinoa + greens + beans we add chopped roasted capsicums and a healthy dose of pumpkin seeds. Toss everything together with the dressing and make sure all the nooks and crannies are coated in green deliciousness, and then top the bowl with avocado and feta. I may not be in New Orleans anymore, but I can bring some JuiceNOLA magic to work in my lunchbox everyday!Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3 generously | Leftovers will keep for up to two days in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 head of oak leaf lettuce (or 4 cups of your favourite greens)
  • 400 gram can butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/3 cup crumbed feta

For the chimichurri dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or use oil from roasted capsicums)

Method

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then cover with the saucepan lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the dressing. Place basil, coriander, parsley, chives, lime juice, garlic, and olive oil into the bowl of a small food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped and then pulse until pureed.
  3. To assemble the salad place cooled quinoa, lettuce, butter beans, roasted capsicum, pumpkin seeds and dressing into a large bowl. Pour chimichurri dressing over the top and then toss gently but thoroughly until everything is well mixed and coated in dressing.
  4. Thinly slice the avocado and place on top of the salad. Crumble feta over salad and serve.

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan

Crunchy toasted tortillas filled with sweet roasted butternut pumpkin, hearty black beans, creamy avocado, and spicy coriander and roasted poblano sauce. This vegan, gluten free dish makes a great week night meal, or a memorable winter lunch with friends!

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten FreeGrowing up ‘Mexican-inspired food’ meant one of two meals: beef tacos, or taco spuds. I still love a good taco (now with beans) and taco spuds are one of the true pleasures in life, especially when piled high with cheese and really fluffy guacamole. Now, my definition of Mexican-inspired food has grown considerably, thanks to lots of American friends on the internet, and some time in California, spiritual home of the taco and tostada.

I love the ease of tostadas – just a really crunchy tortilla or soft taco really. You can top them with any combination of vegetables, beans (or meat), cheese, and sauce that you like, then fold and crunch your way through. Or, you know, be ladylike and eat them with a knife and fork. I prefer to eat these with my hands. It’s so much more fun that way!

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten FreeWhen I think of Mexican food I usually think first of bright red sauce, fresh tomatoes, and salsa. But there is so much more to explore in the fusion of Mexican and other cuisines, or taking inspiration from the seasons. Winter heralds the season of sweet, dewy butternut pumpkins and creamy plump avocados, both of which pair beautifully with smoky black beans, and my bright roasted poblano, coriander, and lime sauce. It’s not exactly authentic, but these vegan, gluten free tostadas celebrate winter’s seasonal produce and have all the elements that will have your taste buds craving for just another messy delicious bite.
Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten FreeMy roasted poblano sauce is bright with fresh coriander and lots of lime juice. The roasted poblanos are a soft heat. If you want more spice, try dicing up a green chilli and adding it to the blender with the coriander. This sauce would also make a great addition to guacamole, or as a quick topping for grilled vegetables or meat. In these tostadas the sweet cubes of roasted butternut pumpkin combine with creamy chunks of avocado and spicy poblano sauce in every bite and assault your tastebuds from every angle.

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten FreeThese Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce do make a great week night meal, but add a few margaritas (or a sweet dry white wine), maybe some salsa and chips, and you have the perfect menu for a sunny winter lunch with friends.

There’s something endearing about this sort of get your hands dirty food. People have to drop pretensions and just come to the table just as they are. Dig your hands in, connect with your food and just have some fun. Connecting through food with the people you love, now that’s the most authentic dish no matter where you are.
Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten Free

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce

Serves 2-3 | Gluten Free | Vegan

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 2 poblano chilies
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup (packed) coriander leaves
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Small onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To assemble

  • 500 grams butternut pumpkin
  • 6 small gluten free corn tortillas (I used these ones)
  • 400 gram can black beans
  • 1 small avocado

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. First, make the sauce. Place chilies onto one of the baking trays. Roast until the chili’s skin has softened and blackened. This will take about 30-40 minutes. Turn the chilies over every ten minutes. Once chilies are cooked allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place chilies into small food processor (or a blender) and add garlic, coriander, and lime juice. Process until combined but still a little chunky. Dice onion and stir through the sauce along with the salt and pepper. Set sauce aside until needed.
  4. Peel butternut pumpkin and cut into playing dice-sized pieces and place them on the baking tray. You can re-use the chili tray and paper (it makes for less clean up!).
  5. Roast until the pumpkin is soft to the centre, about 20 minutes. Keep warm until serving.
  6. Place corn tortillas in a single layer on the second baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes on one side, then flip over and bake for 5 minutes on the second side. This will crisp up the tortillas.
  7. While the tortillas bake, drain and rinse black beans. Place in a small sauce pan and warm gently over a low heat.
  8. Dice avocado in preparation.
  9. To assemble: place a tortilla on your plate, top with roasted pumpkin, warmed beans, and dice avocado. Drizzle roasted poblano sauce over the top. Dig in!

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas | Vegan | Gluten Free