Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

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Not only is this dish DE-LISH, it is also a visually beautiful contribution to the menu. The burnt orange from the butternut squash and persimmon, combined with pomegranate, celery, and parsley make it an artistic winner at any meal. This Thanksgiving, I had a number of friends with dietary restrictions joining my family gathering, so I knew there would be a new variety of side dishes to try. Thank goodness I’m a foodie Instagram addict and found MindBodySoul’s awesome recipe reposted by Whole Foods. I was inspired and contributed something totally different from the other typical Thanksgiving dishes. Even the carnivores were impressed! Can’t wait to go round two with this recipe.

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Coconut Pineapple Green Smoothie

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Friends, I’m in love. While coconut has always had a place in my heart, I have had little admiration for coconut water. Until now. Thanks to Whole Foods, I learned about a new way to prepare a green smoothie, and it’s one that I’ll likely be making weekly. Summer will never be gone as long as this bad boy (or girl, no judgement) sticks around! Continue reading

Chard and Garbanzo Bean Salad

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For something with so few ingredients, it really packs a flavorful punch. I was so pleased to share this dish with a friend recently, and she gave me the best compliment of all: entire shock at how tasty it was! Let this be your meal’s main feature, or partner with roasted chicken or pork. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be adding this salad to your cooking rotation tout suite! Continue reading

Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad

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Inspired by the Picnic House‘s brown rice salad, this side dish is a big hit at potlucks, lunch and dinner side dishes. Happily, the recipe is simple, limited effort and absolutely delicious – hot or cold.

Roasted Vegetables and Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium skinned, cubed sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, quartered and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnut vinaigrette (I prefer Lucini, found at New Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Most of the “work” for this dish is taken care of while the vegetables are roasting, which can be done the night before and then kept cool until serving. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower, carrots and sweet potatoes with 2 tbs of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the vegetable roast, warm over low heat the remaining tbs of olive oil in a pot, then add the brown rice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add water and cook to package instructions (usually around 25 minutes).

Once the rice has finished, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally to release the heat. If you would like this to be a warm salad, immediately start mixing together the roasted vegetables and rice, add hazelnuts, cilantro, and vinaigrette. For a cold salad, let the rice cool completely before adding all the ingredients together.

Yup, that’s pretty much it! You may like to add more salt and/or vinaigrette to the salad, but regardless, you won’t be disappointed in the outcome!

Leftover tip: heat the leftover salad over medium heat with just some water, then break an egg and scramble. Makes for an awesome breakfast!

Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Chia Seed Crisp

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Holy moly! I’ve only recently heard about chia seeds and their alleged health properties, but I am now a full on believer! Packed with protein and aiding hydration, these little guys are a wonderful addition to your diet, particularly in the hot summer months when it’s hot and you need all the water retention you can get.

While at the local farmers market, Whole Foods was set up promoting healthy eating and this amazing raw cherry chia seed crisp recipe. It was so delicious I ended up coming back for seconds, and because they were strategically placed right next door to a farmer selling Rainier cherries, you better believe a pound of those things came home with me. I promise that this recipe is not a labor of love, even though it does involve a food processor. You’ll have it whipped together and served to delighted friends in T-20 min or so. Continue reading

Potato Green Bean Salad and Rustic Pesto

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It’s picnic season, and an all time favorite of mine is this gluten-free, super easy potato and green bean salad. This baby first came into my life during my inaugural Hipcooks class “Healthy, Fresh and Zingy 2“, and I’m happy to say it’s made many appearances over the past few years. The most time consuming part of this dish is boiling and cooling the potatoes, everything else is smooth sailing.

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Mango Salsa Salad with Farro

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Oh, hello summer. So nice to see you again! When the weather turns hot, I can’t be bothered with cooking hot things (well, to excess). I was first introduced to this mango salsa recipe sans farro years ago as a topping for grilled salmon (absolutely delicious), and since then have enjoyed it over chicken, shoveling it in my face with chips, and now as a light salad. This is a perfect picnic or potluck contribution and will keep for a few days. You can easily make this dish gluten-free by dropping the farro. I haven’t tried it with quinoa, but I imagine it would be equally delicious.

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