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

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comYesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a talented and tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad. Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet of strawberries (250 grams)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams haloumi
  • 6 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  3. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Let the winter light in. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts in a salad that’s all about celebrating the nourishment of winter produce.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I eat chocolate like it’s my job. Sadly, it’s not my job, and sadly a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. (Although, I am willing to give it a try!) Because woman cannot live on chocolate alone, and this one cannot afford to keep buying new pants if she did live on chocolate alone, there is the salad. I am all about the salad as you know by now. And, as you know by now I’m not talking about your backyard barbecue iceberg lettuce and pink tomato species. I’m talking about Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBig, fat, juicy, hearty salads full of grains and interesting greens, and crunchy, nibbly bits that you want to save until last. I’m about the salty and the creamy and the crispy fresh bite. I’m about salads that leave you full after you eat them, not wondering where your second course is. This is my latest Big.Fat.Salad. Our base: hearty, protein-packed quinoa. Our interesting green: handfuls of peppery baby rocket. Our crispiness: sweet, seasonal Bosch pears with their golden skin left on. Our crunchy nibbly bits: roasted walnuts. Add some salty feta and a maple, mustard and verjuice dressing and you have the perfect winter salad.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have tasted so many incarnations of the fruit, nut and cheese salad. In fact, if there is one on the menu it is often the first place my tastebuds go. I have fond memories of a beetroot, apple, candied pecan and goat cheese salad on a blustery afternoon in San Francisco; pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad at the Coronado in San Diego; and oh so many in between. There are myriad incarnations of this simple but delicious formula, and this mix is my latest obsession. The addition of quinoa makes this a suitably substantial lunch salad, or a hearty but light dinner. Open up the curtains, and settle in for season, let the winter light in and make some Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 2 (easily multiplied)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1 large Bosch pear (you can substitute another variety if these aren’t available)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons verjuice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Place washed quinoa into a medium saucepan with vegetable stock and place, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Bring quinoa to the boil. Once it is boiling, cover with a tightly fitting lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook without stirring for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then fluff grains with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spread walnuts over a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Make the dressing: place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  4. Once the quinoa is cool assemble the salad. Place rocket and quinoa in a large bowl. Quarter, core, and thinly slice pear and add to the bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine.
  5. Portion salad onto plates and sprinkle over toasted walnuts and crumbled feta.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Plump summer cherries are the highlight of this hearty salad that celebrates the height of summer and the end of the cherry season. Sweet cherries contrast with salty feta, and pair perfectly with puy lentils, quinoa, toasted almonds and spinach for a vegetarian dish sure to please all palates.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSeeking balance can be hard. Adjusting your sails is necessary on a daily basis to counter the winds that seek to knock you off your middle path. Sometimes I feel like I am balancing on a high wire trying to keep it all together and not lose my footing and plummet to the depths below. Some days I win, some days I lose. And down I fall, down, down, down into the depths from which escape is a hard climb up slippery walls. As I’m climbing I fall again, and wail, and cry out in the darkness, but I keep climbing towards the light. And there, just when hope seems lost, someone throws me a rope. I climb, and they pull, and then out I come into a sunset so beautiful I wonder whether this is why our eyes were created.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe’re all on a journey, and sometimes balance is hard. Balance between work and life, balance between rest and activity, balance between inner pressures and a happier outer world, balance between healthy choices and indulgent bites. This salad is here to help you with balancing those last two.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCherry season is fast approaching the end, but before we bid farewell to this dark temptress of stone fruits, we must celebrate its beauty one more time. Here, the cherries are merely stoned and halved, and then combined with basic store cupboard ingredients to ensure that the natural beauty of fresh fruit shines through. Hearty lentils and quinoa are cooked (together, to save time) and allowed to cool before being tossed with baby spinach, and topped with roasted almonds and crumbled, savoury feta. A simple dressing completes the dish. When you take a bite of sweet cherry flesh, salty feta, and crunchy roasted almond you will taste the halcyon days of summer when all is still, spare the breeze, and balance is oh so easy to find.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 generously | Leftovers will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days

Note: to roast almonds preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spread almonds on a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before proceeding.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried Puy (French) lentils
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved (I use this method)
  • 60 grams feta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam
  • Generous pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse lentils and quinoa well, and then place in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, place a lid on top and simmer without stirring for a further 15-20 minutes or until lentils and quinoa are firm to the bite, but cooked. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring with a fork. Place in a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa and lentils are cooling, make dressing: place olive oil, balsamic vinegar, jam, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside until required.
  3. Once quinoa and lentil are cool add spinach leaves, cherries, and dressing and toss well to combine.
  4. Place in bowls and sprinkle over crumbled feta and chopped almonds.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Chunks of roasted sweet potato, and squeaky, salty haloumi fill this salad with flavour and personality. A hearty dish to serve by itself for a light meal, or alongside the protein of your choice for something more substantial, this salad delights tastebuds, and keeps tummies full with healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chris and I are off to the beach tomorrow! After three days of feasting, family, and long digestive naps we are leaving our cares behind, packing our sunscreen, and heading up the coast road for a few days of sun, sand, and nights under the stars. I am looking forward to long walks along the beach, and simple, laid back meals that can be eaten one handed while I’m reading a book in the sunshine. What are your plans for the rest of the holiday season?

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn preparation for our trip I made a big batch of this salad to take with us for quick, light lunches and dinners that will keep us sustained for trips to the beach, but won’t weigh us down. The fried haloumi makes this salad indulgent enough for the festive season. Each squeaky golden cube is a bite of savoury delight. The roasted sweet potato and quinoa keep this firmly on the healthy side and the salad is rounded out with soft buttery lettuce leaves and toasted walnuts. I kept the dressing interesting but light, and the surprise ingredient may shock you – raspberry jam! It may sound strange, but the sweetness of the jam contrasts perfectly with the astringent balsamic vinegar for a simple but flavoursome vinaigrette.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this salad recently for our family Christmas gathering and it was a hit on the smorgasbord spread. Luckily I salvaged the leftovers for my lunch the next day. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The haloumi definitely has something to do with that! If you are vegan, you could replace the haloumi with extra firm tofu, but if you do eat dairy I recommend spoiling yourself with some of this. Yes, it is indulgent, but every now and again a girl just needs fried cheese in her life, and because it is surrounded by complex carbohydrates (sweet potato and quinoa), healthy fats (walnuts and olive oil), greens (butter lettuce), and lean proteins (walnuts and quinoa) – I still feel good about eating this before I put on my bikini and head out to the beach.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3-4 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used a tri-colour quinoa mix, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 500g / 1lb)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams (6 oz) haloumi
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. Peel sweet potato and then dice into medium size cubes (~1.5cm / 3/4inch) and place on baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centres feel tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. In the last ten minutes of baking the sweet potatoes, spread walnuts across the tray to toast. Remove tray from oven and allow sweet potatoes and walnuts to cool to room temperature.
  4. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to come to room temperature.
  5. While quinoa, sweet potato, and walnuts are cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  6. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, raspberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Tear butter lettuce leaves into large pieces. Add quinoa, sweet potatoes, walnuts, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spring Asparagus, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad with Honey-Herb Dressing

To be honest, sometimes I struggle to come up with stories to tell you all here on the blog. I make something that I really want to share with you because it’s sweet and delightful, wholesome and nourishing, or quick enough to make your everyday choices healthy and easy. But then, I spend more time than it took to create the recipe, cook, shoot, eat and clean up, trying to think of a way to introduce my latest offering on the Nourished Life table. I love reading other people’s blogs, getting to know them through posts about their every day lives, being amused or inspired by the way they handle situations.

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

When it comes to writing here though, I am unsure of what to tell you all. Do you want to hear about my everyday? Not about the meetings and spreadsheets I am sure because so many of you probably live my corporate life too (shout out to the cubicle monkeys). Should I tell you stories about the geckos that live in inappropriate places in our house, or about the possum that scratches the wall behind the bathroom every morning at 5 a.m., or that Chris and I fight more about social and gender equality issues than we do about who is going to do the dishes? (This is not to imply we are fancy intellectuals, just that we have rather passionate convictions about things and don’t always see eye to eye…)

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I want to tell you about all of it. I want to see my life as an adventure, and most of all I want to share with you all the food that punctuates these every day moments, that frames celebrations, and that nourishes our bodies while we discover what nourishes our hearts, minds, and souls.

This salad was something that grew out of an every day moment and a craving for all things fresh and spring-like. The first spears of Australian grown asparagus showed up at the markets a few weeks ago. After greedily gobbling down a few bunches just simply steamed, I wanted to highlight them in a salad where there baby sweetness could be complimented by salty feta, crunchy roasted pistachios and supported by a filling base of quinoa. And so here it is. All those things dressed in a honey, herb, and lemon dressing that sings of spring.

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spring Asparagus, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad with Honey-Herb Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Serving Notes: I highly recommend serving this with a drippy fried egg on top. One day my egg photography will be successful, but for now, just take my advice. If you are an omnivore, this would go perfectly with a grilled chicken breast or steak.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup quinoa (I used a mix of red and white, you can use whichever colour/mix is available)
  • 1 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup pistachios (without shell)
  • 2 small bunches asparagus (about 14-16 spears)
  • 75 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and then place in a medium sauce pan with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once it has reached boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes without stirring then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooking preheat oven to 180C. Spread pistachios across a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes or until they are just starting to lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Cut woody ends from asparagus (about 5 centimeters/ 2 inches from the bottom) and then cut asparagus into thirds. Place in a bowl with about 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) of water in the bottom. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Drain, and immediately rinse in cold water. This will stop your asparagus from becoming brown-green and lifeless. Cool to room temperature.
  4. To make dressing: place honey in a small bowl and warm in microwave for 15 seconds. Then whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, dried herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl combine cooked and cooled quinoa, asparagus, and pistachios. Pour dressing over salad. Toss lightly to combine.
  6. Top salad with crumbled feta and serve.

Tell me, dear reader, is there anything you would like to see on Thoroughly Nourished Life? Any particular posts you especially enjoy? Any recipes you would like to have a gluten free makeover, or an ingredient you would like me to feature? Let me know!

Coriander Cashew Pesto Quinoa Salad (gluten free, vegan)

Some days, some weeks, I feel like we should all be given awards for being grown-ups. Gold stickers for remembering to put your pants on in the morning. Smiley face stamps for making it home with all everything on the grocery list. A trophy if you make it to Thursday without raiding the secret chocolate chip stash that isn’t for making cookies, but for just those moments when the dark organic “grown-up” chocolate just won’t fill the sugar monster hole inside you. You should certainly receive a gold medal if you pack your lunch and don’t go down the deep-fried temptation rabbit hole.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This salad is the trick up your sleeve for winning that healthy but delicious eating gold medal. Gluten free, and vegan, and packed with good-for-your-body ingredients this salad will have you sprinting over the healthy eating finish line all week long. We’ve got quinoa, chickpeas, vibrant veggies and plenty of greens too.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad 3But, just because this salad falls within the “healthy green” category doesn’t mean it isn’t also packed with some big flavours that take care of nourishing your taste buds too: coriander, spinach, cashews, and a touch of chilli pack a punch in what may be my new favourite pesto recipe. I had to stop myself from just eating the pesto and abandoning my packed lunch project. Seriously, this pesto will be a permanent feature in our fridge throughout spring. Just add rice noodles for an easy dinner.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI’m so glad I didn’t abandon this salad in a pesto-eating-craze though because I will be eating this salad all week long for work. I coupled the flavour-dense pesto with chickpeas, quinoa, soft butter lettuce leaves, cucumber, and bright red capsicum. The pesto to salad ratio is high, which results in each mouthful being packed with vibrant coriander and buttery cashew flavour. You will want to lick the bowl. I did.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCoriander Cashew Pesto Quinoa Salad

Serves 3-4 | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 (400g) can chickpeas
  • 1/2 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce

For the pesto

  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 1 cup (packed) coriander leaves
  • 1 cup (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sprinkle chilli flakes (depending on your taste for spice)

Method

  1. Spread cashews on a baking tray and bake at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes. Cool completely before making pesto.
  2. Place quinoa in fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. Place in a medium saucepan with vegetable stock and warm over a medium-high heat. Bring quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the saucepan and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then place quinoa into a large bowl to cool.
  3. While quinoa is cooking make pesto. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
  4. Rinse chickpeas and add to quinoa. Dice capsicum and cucumber into large chunks and add to bowl. Gently tear butter lettuce into large pieces and add to bowl.
  5. Add pesto to bowl and toss salad thoroughly until pesto is well incorporated.
  6. Serve.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSee, grown-up gold medal is in my pocket for this week for sure.

 

Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad

Today I read a wonderful article on The Chalkboard about breaking away from healthy habits. The author was not talking about abandoning all sensibilities of health and just living free and large, but rather about what it means to be truly healthy. She enlightened readers with the dictionary definition, which includes no prescriptive advice about diet, exercise, weight, or the evil/not-evil status of carbohydrates. I enjoyed the article because it spoke to the message about health that I live by. True health is about nourishing your body not punishing it. True health is about being the steward, the caretaker, the advocate for whatever is healthiest for your mind, body, and soul. True health is about practising the inner tenets of what health means to you on an individual level, in a holistic way, that leads you to feel like a thoroughly nourished person.

Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you have found the best way for you to eat/exercise/socialise then that is a wonderful gift to yourself, but it does not mean that this is the best way for someone else to live their life. You might be a gluten free vegetarian who runs, but that doesn’t mean everyone should be. Don’t preach, share knowledge when you are asked, but mostly share the knowledge that true health is about being happy within yourself and with yourself. Happiness begets kindness, which begets true health.

For me, true health, my own healthy habits, include both running and nights on the couch, quinoa salads and five layer brownie cakes, time spent trawling Instagram and time enthralled by translated Danish fiction. True health is about being realistic about the time and resources you have at hand while striving to be the healthiest version of you. True health is about being kind to yourself and others on their own parallel paths to their own versions of healthy.

Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This salad is for the times when I need to balance out some of those cakes with some quinoa. This Moroccan spiced salad is hearty, and suitable on its own as a lunchbox or dinner bowl filler. If you want to use it as a side dish it would pair quite nicely with some grilled salmon or chicken (or tofu for the veggie-minded of us). I made this salad at the beginning of the week and it served me for desktop lunches for a few days. I used butternut pumpkin, which when roasted yields sweet chunks of flesh that hold up well with briny olives and a heavily spiced yoghurt dressing. If you are going to keep this salad for a few days I recommend storing the dressing separately and dressing the salad only as you are about to eat it, that way you can avoid the dreaded soggy salad leaf (yuck). This is a perfect depth-of-Winter salad, but I can imagine it being just as popular on a picnic table in summer. The beauty of this salad is that you can make it ahead and save yourself some time when entertaining. The pumpkin can be roasted in advance and the quinoa can be boiled in advance too. Come serving time you just need to toss the remaining ingredients together and shake up the quick flavour-boosting salad dressing (which would be great as a dipping sauce for other things too). This salad is about true health. Follow with a slice of pie.

Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad

Serves 3-4| Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Vegan Option – in dressing replace yoghurt with soy yoghurt and honey with agave

Note: Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • Medium butternut pumpkin (about 1kg)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used red, but feel any other colour will do)
  • 1 1/4 cups water/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup split green olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 6 cups rocket leaves

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons plain/natural or Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F) and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Peel and chop butternut pumpkin into inch-square cubes (here’s a great tutorial if you are unsure how). Place on prepared baking sheet and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until pumpkin is soft all the way through. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and place in a deep microwave safe bowl with water or vegetable stock. Cover loosely with plastic. Microwave for 3 minutes. Remove and stir and microwave for another 3 minutes. When the white spiral ‘tail’ starts to pull away from the quinoa seed it is done. If the quinoa isn’t cooked at this stage place back in microwave with another tablespoon of water for another 2 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  4. When pumpkin and quinoa are cooled place in a large bowl with olives, chives, pumpkin seeds and rocket leaves and toss well.
  5. To make dressing: place all ingredients in a small airtight jar. Shake vigorously until combined.
  6. Divide salad among bowls and dress as desired.

Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket (gluten free, vegan)

Do you ever hold onto things that you know you need to let go of to live a healthy, authentic, and truly nourished life? Something that you know isn’t helping you to be the healthiest and happiest version of yourself that you just can’t seem to lay to rest?

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few weeks ago I made a decision to let go of something I had been holding onto for a long time; something that I was trying to shape my life to fit around; something that was making me feel unhealthy, tired, and worthless. In a moment of abrasive clarity I realised that I needed to let go of this goal that I had been trying for so long to achieve, because it wasn’t really a goal at all: it was a wall to hide behind rather than confronting the work needed to bring my real dreams to life. And so, I let go. I bundled up the unkind thoughts that had been running through my mind, the stress that was making me unable to sleep, and the anxiety that was affecting my relationships with the people I love, and I just let it all go. Almost instantly I felt better, lighter, happier. Over the past couple of weeks I feel a change within me, and a change in the way I am approaching the dreams that I wanted to work towards all along.

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My decision was to graduate early from my post-graduate study. I am stopping here for a while, taking my graduate diploma, and choosing to leave my Master’s dissertation in order to pursue the goal that I have harboured in my heart for so long. I am giving myself over to the pursuit of my dream of writing and submitting a manuscript for a cookbook. This is the dream that I had in my heart when I started on the road of further study, and I have learned so much during the course of my study. It fed me and sustained me while I was going through some other changes in my life, and now I have reached the end of my journey with this degree and I am ready to take the leap into putting into practice what I have learned. I will work for this dream, and I know it will be a long road with rejections and frustrations along the way. When those frustrations arise in the way of a goal you are passionate about then you can find the energy to work through them and they make you stronger in your pursuit. Here is to letting go, finding the strength to set myself free and set myself on the way of my true dream. Sometimes you just need to be brave enough, and kind enough to yourself to let it go.

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This salad is something that I made to fill my lunchbox this week. I am lucky that any of it survived taste testing though because I couldn’t help but keep diving in for ‘just another taste’. The quinoa and rocket are the backbone of this simple, but exciting, lunchtime meal. Quinoa is a gluten free seed (not a grain!) and contains plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates to keep you powered through the afternoon. The salty black olives are balanced out by the sweet roasted onion and zucchini, and walnuts provide the all important ‘crunchy’ factor as well as some important omega 3 fats. This salad makes enough for two decent lunches, but can easily be multiplied if you want to make it for a larger gathering. I can imagine this being passed down the dinner table at a summer barbecue later this year, or accompanying some roasted chicken at a winter family dinner. And it is naturally gluten free and vegan, so even guests like me will have a satisfying and delicious option on the table.

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad

Serves 2 but easily multiplied | Gluten Free | Vegan

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (salt reduced)
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives
  • 3 large handfuls rocket leaves

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
  2. Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. Tip quinoa into a small saucepan along with vegetable stock. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, put lid on the saucepan, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest quinoa for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Transfer quinoa to a big bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, chop zucchini into ~1cm (1/2 inch) thick slices and place on lined baking sheet. Halve and peel onion and chop each half into 6 pieces. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil across. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until onion is softened.
  4. In the last 5 minutes of the vegetables baking, roughly chop walnuts into large pieces and sprinkle across sheet to roast. Remove everything from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Make the dressing by combing all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking thoroughly.
  6. To assemble the salad: halve the olives and add to the cooled quinoa along with the vegetables and walnuts and rocket leaves. Drizzle dressing over the salad and using freshly washed hands or salad servers toss the salad thoroughly until everything is mixed through.
  7. Serve, or store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quinoa, Olive, Zucchini and Rocket Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Charred Corn, Capsicum, and Quinoa Salad

You need to make this salad. You need to make this salad because no one really wants another iceberg lettuce concoction on the buffet table at Christmas time (except the one your Aunty makes because it tastes just like it did when you were a kid). You need to make this salad because when you bring it to a party all spread out on a pretty white platter it looks so festive and everyone thinks you put in way more effort than you did. You need to make this salad because while you are making it you have time in between to shower, find your prettiest party dress, and put on some mascara and shiny earrings. You need to make this salad because between the sweet baked concoctions that abound at this time of year you need to eat something fresh and healthy and equally delicious.

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The mix of red and white quinoa is probably unnecessary, but it adds a festive touch, in my humble opinion, and the grilled capsicum and corn a sweet jewels hidden among salty fetta and deeply toasted almonds.

You need to make this salad because it will help you keep a healthy festive glow and keep you in fitting into your pretty party dress. And, it makes an acceptable midnight snack when you get in from a holiday party that went exceptionally well.

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Charred Corn, Capsicum, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free and vegetarian)

You can of course use 1 ½ cups total of either red or white quinoa instead of half and half. Serves 6-8 as a side dish. This salad will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup white quinoa
  • ¾ cup red quinoa
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered vegetable stock (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 230 gram jar red pepper relish (I love this new one by Always Fresh)
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 3 cobs of corn
  • ¾ cup almonds
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 100 grams Greek-style Fetta
  • Olive oil spray

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

 Method

  1. Rinse quinoa and drain well. Place in a medium-size saucepan along with the water and powdered vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Heat a grill plate to high and oil lightly with olive oil spray. Grill corn for 10 – 15 minutes turning regularly until the kernels have turned darker yellow in colour and there are charred spots. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly. Chop kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, remove core from capsicum and cut into four large pieces. Place skin side down on grill with corn until the skin is blackened. Remove from grill and place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes before peeling off the skin. Slice into thick ribbons and add to the large bowl.
  4. Heat oven to 180C (356F) and spread almonds on a baking sheet, when the oven is heated toast almonds for 5 minutes. Remove and chop roughly and add to bowl.
  5. To the corn, capsicum, and almond mixture add the cooled quinoa, baby spinach leaves and red pepper relish. Mix carefully with two spoons. Use a lifting and fluffing motion.
  6. For the dressing: whisk together all ingredients and pour over the quinoa mixture.
  7. Spread out on a platter and crumble fetta over the top. Serve immediately.

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PS: You should also make these Spirit of the Season Blondies to take along to the party as well because, more is always more.