Simple Summer Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The summer heat is on! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is here literally and figuratively. In the desert, where we live, the temperature has exceeded 110F several times already with more HOT.HOT, HOT days to come! Cooking meals in the summer not only adds to our external discomfort, but our bodies are already pretty busy trying to manage temperature making digesting a heavy meal a burden no “body” really wants. One way to keep your kitchen cooler (saving some money on expensive air conditioning) and aid your digestive system, is to make meals that don’t require cooking. This is just one of the many awesome reasons a plant-based diet makes perfect sense. There are so many options for plant-based meals that don’t require “heat”.  Here is one very flavorful summer meal that is quick to make, perfect for a picnic or to take to work, and, most importantly, has outstanding nutrition.

Simple Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simple Summer Salad

This recipe was inspired and veganized from one of my favorite recipe books "Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365" by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. It is fresh and full of flavor - not to mention an excellent source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 2 19 oz cans chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
    For Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp Eden Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 3 cloves freshly chopped organic garlic
  • pinch of chili powder


  1. Prepare the dressing, blending well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, capers and quinoa.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and blend well.
  4. Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.


I like to batch cook quinoa and keep in the refrigerator or freezer so it is always handy for a quick meal like this Simple Summer Salad.

Italian Parsley is recommended for this recipe as it is very much more flavorful than curly parsley. Curly parsley also changes the texture - although that is not a bad thing!

I recommend Eden Organic Yellow Mustard because the ingredients are simple and healthier than most other options. Read labels to be sure of what you are consuming.

Capers are very flavorful but do add sodium to your meal. You will not need to, nor do I recommend, adding any additional salt to this recipe.

Chili powder adds a little "zip" to the dressing. If you like things a little spicier, try using a pinch of cayenne instead.

Quinoa RecipesThis recipe book, “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is one of my favorites. While not all of the recipes are Vegan, most can easily be Veganized. The very cool part of this recipe book is that is demonstrates all the incredible ways you can enjoy the SuperFood – Quinoa. Check it out.




Nutrition Information 

Quinoa – 3/4 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, quinoa provides all the essential amino acids so it is considered a “complete protein” source. One serving of quinoa supplies 8.14 grams of protein or 16% of DRI.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 5.18 grams or 21%
  • Very good source of manganese and good source of phosphorus, since, magnesium, and copper.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. 14.53 grams or 29% of your daily requirement for protein.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 12.4 grams (3.9 g soluble/8.6 g insoluble) fiber or 50% of your daily requirement.
  • Chickpeas are also a excellent source of molybdenum, folate and choline; and a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Italian Parsley – 1/2 cup

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K (554% DRI) and Vitamin C (54%DRI)
  • Good source of Vitamin A (14%), Folate (12%) and Iron (10%)


  • Good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Excellent source of flavonoid anti-oxidants rutin and quercetin. Rutin is known to strengthen capillaries and quecertin has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. In fact the quercetin levels found in capers is second only to the quercetin levels found in tea leaves.


When Life Gives You Lemons – Get Baking

The Best Lemon Loaf Ever

LemonLemon has such a lovely, refreshing scent it is no surprise it is so common in everything from air fresheners to beauty products. In addition to being pleasant, the scent of a lemon has been shown to have a number of positive physical and psychological effects on people including improving mood and cognitive function, helping fight fatigue, boosting stamina, and even heightening self-esteem. Incorporating lemon into our healthy diets, then, affords all of these benefits as well as awesome nutrition and wonderful flavor.

Here is a delicious recipe for The Best Lemon Loaf Ever. I’ve adapted it from a wonderful recipe book “Quinoa The Everyday Superfood 365” written by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. Quinoa is a staple in our home. When a friend in Chile recommended this recipe book to me recently, I was inspired by the number of ways quinoa was used, and all I had to do was “Veganize” the recipes. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I have chosen to use only the best organic ingredients possible and, I believe, been successful in marrying awesome nutrition with wonderful flavor your whole family will enjoy.

The Best Lemon Loaf Ever!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

The Best Lemon Loaf Ever!

Use only fresh, ripe organic lemons for this recipe. Conventionally grown lemons often have pesticide residue and a wax coating is applied to increase their shelf life. Fresh lemons will have a thin, soft, supple skin texture; will be completely yellow; and feel heavy for their size. Avoid lemons with a green tinge, wrinkled skin with hard patches, and those dull in color. When preparing lemon zest, be careful not to include the white pith between the skin and fruit as this will add a bitter flavor to your loaf.


  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
  • 2 Tbsp organic ground flax seed soaked in 6 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup organic silken tofu (shelf stable package)
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (Follow Your Heart)
  • 1 Tsp pure organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp organic poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • Optional Glaze
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup organic cane sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F (180 Degrees C)
  2. Prepare 8" x 4" loaf pan - line bottom with parchment paper
  3. Using mini food-processor, process cane sugar into fine granules and transfer to large bowl.
  4. Using mini food-processor, blend soaked flax seed and silken tofu until smooth.
  5. In large bowl, cream cane sugar and vegan butter until well blended.
  6. Add flax seed/tofu mixture, sour cream and vanilla. Blend well until smooth and creamy.
  7. In separate bowl, thoroughly combine quinoa flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest.
  8. Add flour mixture to sugar/vegan butter mixture. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  9. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  10. Bake on center oven rack for 40 - 45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into center of loaf. If it comes out clean your loaf is done.
  11. Remove pan from oven and let cool completely.
  12. Prepare glaze, if desired, by combining the lemon juice and cane sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  13. When loaf is completely cooled, remove from loaf pan. If using glaze, poke small holes in loaf top, bottom and sides with a toothpick. Brush loaf lightly with glaze on all sides.
  14. Slice and serve.
  15. Loaf may be stored in sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Ovens can vary in temperature. Loaf will be done when edges are lightly browned and have slightly come away from the side of the pan. Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf to ensure your loaf has baked through. If it comes out clean, your loaf is ready. If more time is needed, add time in increments of 1 minute to prevent drying out.

Nutritional Information:

  • Quinoa Flour: a non-gmo whole grain milled flour. Quinoa is a complete protein plant-based food.  It is also a concentrated source of iron necessary for energy and metabolism, a good source of phosphorus for bone health, an excellent source of manganese and copper to protect the body from free-radicals and supporting bone density, and a good source of magnesium that supports a healthy heart and relaxes blood vessels.
    Quinoa flour can be used alone in this recipe or combined with other gluten-free flours such as amaranth, garbanzo, buckwheat or almond.
  • Flaxseed: ground flaxseed mixed with water in this recipe is used as a vegan substitute for the leavening attributes of eggs. 1 Tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp of water = 1 egg. Flaxseeds are the most concentrated food source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) an omega-3 fatty acid that provides energy to the body, is essential for proper skin function, has important anti-inflammatory properties. Flaxseeds also support a healthy heart.
  • Silken Tofu: silken tofu is used in this recipe as a flavorless vegan substitute for the moisture provided by an egg. 1/4 cup of silken tofu, blended to a smooth consistency = 1 egg. Silken Tofu is available in shelf-stable tetra packages and can be conveniently kept, unopened, on  your pantry shelf.  Silken Tofu, a heart-healthy food, is an excellent source of additional protein and a good source of manganese, iron, selenium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
  • Lemon: lemon is an excellent source of flavonoid phytonutrients that support a healthy heart, and vitamin C known to be an immune-system booster. Lemon also acts as a digestive aid and liver cleanser, inhibits inflammation, boosts energy, helps fight fatigue, and strengthens blood vessels. As a bonus, lemon adds wonderful flavor to foods and is very low in calories making it an excellent healthy-diet option.
  • Poppy Seeds:poppy seeds don’t just add a nutty, crunchy flavor and texture to this recipe; they are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help lower bad cholesterol and support good cholesterol. Poppy seeds are also an excellent source of B complex vitamins, fiber, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium – all essential to a healthy body.
  • Organic Cane Sugar: it is difficult to talk about nutrition and sugar in the same post. Sugar is definitely a significant contributor to our obesity epidemic as well as many other serious health concerns. There are many nutritious foods that have enough natural sugars that cravings for sweets can be easily satisfied; but baking presents somewhat of a challenge when it comes to making substitutions. Apple sauce, bananas, prunes, and dates can be used to add sweetness to some baking; but the need for texture, density and moisture all present challenges when trying to make any substitutions. I believe Organic Cane Sugar is one of very few unrefined sugars available for baking that somewhat reduce my angst over this subject. It is really important, however, that only organic cane sugar be used, as the conventionally grown cane sugars are known to contain health-threatening pesticides. Even then, this “least bad” sugar should be consumed in very conservative, limited quantities. Cane sugar is more coarse, so I have recommended you process this sugar in a mini-food processor before using in this recipe. One way to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe is to eliminate the glaze on top of the loaf. This loaf is just lovely without it!