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.


10 Heart Healthy Proteins – Plant Based of Course


We need protein to build, maintain and repair our body’s tissues. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For the average moderately active 135 pound woman this translates to 48 grams of protein per day. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, there are plenty of myths about protein resulting in many people consuming far more than they need. In fact, few people truly understand the risks associated with over-consumption of protein. Check out this important information from PCRM.

One of the most prevalent myths perpetuated about protein is that you can only get protein from eating animal-based foods.  This is absolutely not true. Not only can you get all the protein your body needs from plant-based foods, you also get many added benefits you can’t get from animal products like fiber and complex carbohydrates.  Here are 10 heart-healthy plant-based proteins that I encourage you to consume in place of animal protein.  You may already be consuming many of these delicious foods and not know they are great sources of protein. Try them in new ways and certainly consume them more often.

  1. Tofu/Tempeh/Seitan/Edamame
    Let’s start with Organic Tofu – such a versatile, easy to prepare, and extremely budget-friendly food. A 14oz package of Organic Tofu costs about $2 and contains 5 servings. Each serving provides 7 grams of protein and 210 mg of potassium (an important electrolyte that helps our muscles and nerves function properly). Tofu is also a very low calorie food. I often serve a tofu scramble for breakfast and love to serve baked tofu as a main course for an evening meal.Tofu with Mango SalsaOrganic Tempeh is such a versatile food and delivers 15 grams of protein, 260 mg of potassium and 7 grams of fiber in a 3oz serving.  You can purchase tempeh already prepared for you or learn to make it yourself.
    Seitan packs a whopping 18 grams of protein in a 3oz serving. It is made from wheat gluten and for many transitioning to the world of plant-based meat alternatives, it has the look and texture of meat that may aid in making the switch. Seitan can be purchased ready-made or you can learn to make it yourself. The benefits to making it yourself include controlling ingredients such as sodium and experimenting with flavors you and your family enjoy. Seitan is often available in restaurants so ask your server.
    Edamame BeansEdamame is a real favorite in our home. I love to add edamame to my salads and make hummus with it. Check out my recipe for Edamame Hummus here! Edamame are fresh, green soybeans cooked right in their pods. Edamame are easy to cook – just barely cover frozen organic edamame in water, bring to a boil for 30 seconds, drain and serve. A 1cup serving provides 17 grams of protein, 676 mg potassium, 8 grams fiber and only 189 calories.  Edamame is also an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is a macro mineral  that builds and strengthens our bones, keeps our blood circulating smoothly and relaxes our nerves and muscles.
  2. Lentils
    Group of lentilsLentils may be small but they are mighty! Lentils fall into the category of legumes and are believed to be one of the first foods to be cultivated. Lentils come in a variety of colors (green, brown, yellow and pink – NOTE each color cooks slightly differently) are very inexpensive, and easy to prepare. I believe it is best to buy dried lentils and store them in tightly sealed containers. If you choose canned lentils, pay attention to any added sodium or sugars. Lentils offer a whopping 18 grams of protein per cooked 1-cup serving, 15.6 grams of dietary fiber and are an excellent source of folate, a B-Complex vitamin that supports red blood cell production and allows nerves to function properly.  Lentils can be eaten as they are for a main course, added to soups and stews, used to make plant-based burgers, added to salads, and are a staple in delicious East Indian dishes.
  3. Beans
    Edamame HummusMy favorite, go-to beans are garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). I use them for everything from sandwich filings, to curried East Indian dishes, to hummus (of course) and in salads. Garbanzo beans offer 14.5 grams of protein per cup, 12.5 grams of dietary fiber and are an excellent source of manganese that helps protect our cells from free radical damage, keeps our bones strong and healthy, and helps us maintain normal blood sugar levels.  I also keep dried black beans, navy beans, white beans, kidney beans and soy beans in my pantry (all organic).   I make milk every morning from the soy beans! Beans, especially dried beans, are very inexpensive and easy to store. They are all excellent sources of protein, typically ranging from 14 – 16 grams of protein per 1-cup serving.  Beans are very versatile; they can be served any time of day, are easily portable to work or school, and are excellent a satiating your hunger.
  4. Quinoa
    Quinoa PlantsMy regular readers know I am a big fan of quinoa. This very versatile food is not only an excellent source of protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein that includes all nine essential amino acids.  Quinoa promotes heart health because it is an excellent source of magnesium – a mineral that relaxes the blood vessels. 1 cup of cooked quinoa delivers almost 6 grams of protein (remember that is complete protein), nearly 22% of the recommended daily requirement of iron and is an incredible source of phosphorus and manganese.
  5. Nuts
    160379603I love cashews but they can be pricey in the market so I buy my organic cashews in bulk (usually a 10lb bag) from an online supplier. Send me a note if you are interested in knowing more.  Cashews make wonderful milk and they are essential to making my salad dressings, cream, burgers, cheese cakes, and for snacking (in moderation of course). A serving of raw cashews (1/4 cup) provides 5 grams of protein and a good dose of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. A bonus benefit of eating a small amount of cashews is they contain tryptophan that helps to promote sleep. I also keep a good supply of almonds on hand. Almonds make delicious milk. I recommend you make almond milk at home rather than buying it already made. It is so much better from scratch!  Almonds are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin E and are a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats which make them an excellent food for heart health. One-quarter cup of almonds provides 7.62 grams of protein. Other great nut choices are walnuts and pistachios.
  6. Seeds
    Chia SeedsKeep a good variety of seeds on hand because they are so good for you, taste awesome, add great texture/crunch to foods and are, once again, an excellent source of protein, omega 3s, minerals and fiber,
    Let’s start with one of my favorites, Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs in baking, make an incredible pudding, are easy to add to your favorite smoothie, and can be popped on top of cereal for added nutrition. Flax seeds are another favorite. I buy them whole and grind them when I need them (just use my coffee bean grinder). I add ground flax seeds to my baking, smoothies, and cereal. Flax seeds are a particularly excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids – important for optimum cardiovascular health. Sesame seeds (the tahini in hummus recipes) are a very good source of copper in addition to the 6.4 grams of protein and 4.24 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup. I buy shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds in 20lb bags. I add sunflower seeds to my almond yogurt, I eat them as a snack, I grind them up and add them to baking, and I add them to salads for added protein and crunch.  Sunflower seeds are another excellent source of Vitamin E along with 8.2 grams of protein and 3.78 grams dietary fiber per 1/4 cup serving. Try some pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds on your cereal or salad. You will get a great protein boost and treat your body to essential fatty acids and fiber.
  7. Vegetables (Yes, vegetables provide protein!)
    BroccoliSpinach is probably the best known vegetable source of protein. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach provides 5.4 grams of protein and you get the awesome added benefit of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, B2, calcium, and potassium. A lot of nutrition in that little green leaf, right? While Swiss Chard doesn’t have quite as much protein, it is also an excellent choice to keep on hand. Other great vegetables that offer good protein are asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli. Note, the bonus you get with broccoli is a 1-cup serving provides 100% of the daily requirement of vitamins C and K.
  8. Mushrooms
    Mushrooms for GravyMushrooms are fantastic. They are very low in calories and exceptionally high in nutritional value – so what’s not to love! I love to experiment with different varieties of mushrooms. I tried the mushrooms pictured here in my recipe for mushroom gravy and WOW, it turned out great. An 8oz serving of shiitake mushrooms only contains 87 calories but you get 5 grams of protein, 3.6 mg of iron, 6 mg of vitamin C and 2.5 grams of fiber in return.  Now that’s a great return on your caloric investment! Crimini mushrooms are very commonly found in grocery stores and are an excellent high nutrient, low calorie food choice for everyday use. Mushrooms can be incorporated into all kinds of meals including salads, stews, spaghetti sauces, plant-based burgers, in your tofu scramble or just as a side dish.
  9. Whole Grains
    Steel Cut OatsOats are an outstanding source of protein and fiber. I typically purchase steel cut oats, pictured here, as they are the least processed. Oats offer 6.1grams of protein in a 1-cup serving as well as 4 grams of dietary fiber and several minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. There are actually over 60 nutrients available in oats! Rye provides a whopping 8.3 grams of protein in a 1-cup cooked serving and 8.2 grams of fiber.  Brown rice, with which I batch-cook an awesome brown rice pilaf, has 5 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of dietary fiber per cup. Brown rice is a good source of selenium, a mineral known to keep our blood vessels in good shape, making it an important heart-healthy food. Whole wheat and buckwheat are also great choices – good sources of protein, and high in fiber and minerals too. Choose whole grains for the best nutrition.
  10. Vegan Meat Alternatives – (meat analogues)
    There are many packaged and prepared vegan meat alternatives on the market and quite a few are not only nutritious but really delicious.  When time is a challenge, you’ve run out of ideas, don’t feel like cooking something from scratch, or have a crowd to feed, try some of these awesome products available in most grocery stores.

The bottom line is this: plant-based protein rich foods not only provide all the protein you need but they also provide fiber, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins your body needs. Just as importantly, plant-based foods are cruelty free and much better for our planet than animal-based products. Your body will be grateful for the nutrition you provide through plant-based foods, our planet will benefit and the animals we share this earth with will live long, healthy, happy lives.  Pretty much a win-win-win!

A heart shape held in hands

February is Heart Health Month. Take good care of your heart by choosing a WFPBD.




Why You Need to Add Jackfruit to Your Shopping List

Jackfruit is Delicious & Nutritious

jackfruitI’ll admit that it is hard to imagine anything that looks like this could be scrumptiously delicious; but Jackfruit is AWESOME so just trust me and try it. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit found primarily in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil and holds the current title of “The Largest Tree-Borne Fruit in the World”.  (Tuck that little bit of trivia away for your upcoming appearance on Jeopardy!) The Jackfruit tree can grow up to nearly 100 feet tall and produce hundreds of large fruit each season. In fact, a recent symposium on Jackfruit (yes, it is an important enough food source to warrant its own symposium) discussed the role Jackfruit could play in addressing the problem of food insecurity in many parts of the developing world. In the U.S. fresh Jackfruit may be found in Asian markets or at larger outdoor markets, or you can find Jackfruit packaged by The Jackfruit Company at Whole Foods in the Vegan refrigerator section.  It is also available in cans and jars; but be aware, should you choose these options, I recommend only purchasing fruit packed in water – you don’t need any added sugar.

The Jackfruit Company

Jackfruit Nutrition Facts
1 serving (100 grams or 1/2 cup) = 100 calories
High in fiber
Rich in B-complex vitamins
Good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
Good source of vitamin A & C

Jackfruit & Quinoa

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Jackfruit & Quinoa

I keep the Sesame-Ginger Jackfruit on hand in my refrigerator for a very quick and delicious dish. The Jackfruit is marinated in soy, sesame and ginger so it is very flavorful and pairs well with garlic quinoa. When I prepare quinoa, I use homemade vegetable broth to give it a lovely flavor. I make a large batch so I can keep a ready supply in my refrigerator or freezer for a quick meal like this.

Jackfruit does not need to be cooked nor does it need to be prepared with flavorings; but I just like the added depth the soy, sesame and ginger provides. If you are fortunate enough to find a fresh fruit, have some fun preparing it just the way you like it.

This dish is great to take to work for a delicious, nutritious mid-day meal.



  1. Heat pan then add olive oil
  2. Saute minced garlic until just turning light brown
  3. Add cooked quinoa and stir - heat for 1 minute
  4. Add Sesame-Ginger Jackfruit
  5. Heat through
  6. Serve

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!



Summer Celebration – Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

Summer is nearly over and school is starting soon but there is still time to enjoy the bounty of the season.  Here in the desert Southwest it will feel like summer for some time yet. We  have had temperatures in the 110+ range for the past few weeks but it looks like we will be “dropping” to near 100 next week. Yeah! What better way is there to enjoy the week-end before school starts and stay cool than with this delicious summer’s bounty salad. Serve it as a starter, before your grilled veggie or bean burgers are ready, or have a larger portion as a main course. You will love this salad (the dressing is really awesome). It is definitely one of my go-to meals on a hot summer’s day.  Here is a little video incentive to get you started.


Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

This salad makes a lovely appetizer or light meal. The quinoa, cashews and almonds are great sources of protein and the avocado adds heart-healthy fats. The lemons add a wonderful freshness, and of course Vitamin C, and the mango is simply delicious.

The combination of arugula, kale and radicchio is peppery and adds a lovely texture. All in all a wonderful summer salad.


  • Salad
  • 1 cup red or rainbow quinoa
  • 2 cups vegan vegetable broth
  • 1 medium Ataulfo mango
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 - 5 oz package Earthbound Farm Organic Kale Italia deep green blend
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, garlic chives and cilantro)
  • Dressing
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 1 hour
  • Juice of 2 medium sized fresh lemons
  • 1/4 virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cashew milk
  • 3+ cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Bring broth to a boil, add quinoa, then reduce to low simmer. Cook until broth absorbed (20 mins) Fluff quinoa with fork. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dice or thinly slice red onion.
  3. Chop mango into small pieces. (The Ataulfo mango is not fibrous like other mangos and has a lovely, creamy lightly sweet flavor. I recommend this mango as it is just the right balance for this salad.)
  4. Thinly slice raw almonds.
  5. Mix Kale Italia and herbs in salad bowl. Add quinoa and toss again. Add all other salad ingredients.
  6. Do not toss again until dressing has been added.
  7. Prepare Dressing: This recipe makes enough dressing for several servings. Refrigerate extra immediately.
  8. Drain cashews and place in bowl.
  9. Add garlic, olive oil, cashew milk, lemon juice, salt & pepper.
  10. Mash together.
  11. Place ingredients in tall container.
  12. Use immersion blender to blend into desired consistency. Add additional lemon juice to thin if necessary.
  13. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad ingredients and toss gently.

Quinoa – A Simply Perfect Plant Protein

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa is a complete, plant-based protein. It includes all nine essential amino acids necessary to nourish your body. It tastes wonderful alone or included in your favorite salad, as a bed for a vegetable medley, or as a base for vegan burgers. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and fiber.Quinoa is an ancient food, actually a seed really, and has historically been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia. It comes in a variety of colors and forms i.e.) seeds, flour, pasta, leaves and is available year round.

Quinoa is definitely a SUPERFOOD!

I believe it is important to support the farmers and the communities they live in when purchasing food; so I make it a point to choose organically and sustainably grown, responsibly sourced, and sustainably packaged quinoa. Check the packages at your local market. Some good providers are Alter Eco and Bob’s Red Mill.

Preparing quinoa is easy.Just remember 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat. Your quinoa will be ready in about 20 minutes. You should rinse your quinoa seeds well before cooking. This will remove the bitter coating on the seeds. I usually cook enough quinoa for a week then freeze in individual containers. When needed, I thaw the quinoa, remove any excess moisture using cheese cloth, and add to my meals. They say variety is the spice of life: well, with quinoa, there is no limit to the variety of ways you can serve it. Here is a link to a recent recipe I posted using quinoa:

**Flavor the liquid you use to prepare the quinoa with broth made from your favorite veggies such as celery, roasted carrots, onion etc.
**Add spice to your pot: curry, coriander, turmeric, harissa
**Add herbs to the finished product: basil, thyme, parsley
**Serve cold in a salad
**Serve hot as a side dish
**Use as a base for veggie burgers

My favorite market, Whole Foods, has a wonderful website full of great recipes and ideas for incorporating this incredible superfood into your diet. Just click on the link.

Quinoa Mantage

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, I hope you will. Let me know what you think and please share your recipes in my comments section.

My Name is Cate and I’m a Vegan

Image of Chicken with an apron stating I Love Vegans Several new studies declare veganism is going mainstream which is important and exciting news as it means people are beginning to realize how we fuel our bodies really matters. Perhaps the epidemic of obesity in first world countries has really jolted us into realizing it is critical we change our diet. I hope, however, that people choose to live a vegan lifestyle because it is good for them; not because it is the latest trend. The adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is simply not true: I am learning every day and I understand that my vegan lifestyle is a lifelong journey. I don’t expect myself to be perfect, but I am working to be conscious of every choice I make. It is rather liberating to be in such control.

My lifestyle choice doesn’t only impact me in a very positive way, but it also impacts our planet in ways I’ve never considered. The bigger picture is: a plant-based diet is the best thing for our Earth. Several recent, revealing studies show the stunningly negative impact the production of animal-based foods has on our world. First is the catastrophic depletion of our water resources, then the enormous consumption of petroleum products necessary to make it all happen, and last but not least, the damaging impact of all the chemicals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals used to make the industry highly profitable. These realities of the animal-based food industry contribute in a monumental way to the downward spiral of our planet.

I’m mindful about every aspect of my life. To be healthy, have the energy needed to be an active participant in my time on earth, and to bring my best self to my relationship with others, I need to truly nourish my body, mind and soul. To nourish my body I fuel it with plant-based foods. I buy these foods from local farmers or, when what I need is not locally available, from trusted local organic grocery stores. I choose foods as close to their just-picked, natural state as possible and live by “the-fewest-ingredients-makes-the-best-food” rule. For example, the produce we picked fresh at Gilcrease Orchard this week: garlic, Spring onions, baby carrots and zucchini squash, doesn’t need anything else added to taste delicious. The almond butter and peanut butter we purchased are also “one ingredient foods”. Who doesn’t want to dip a piece of celery into that nutty deliciousness! (BTW: nut butters are so easy to make yourself and you get to control the amount you make as nut butters will only keep in the fridge for about a week.)

If time to visit a farm or farmer’s market is not in the cards for you this week, the produce section of high quality, conscious markets such as Whole Foods is filled with “one ingredient” organic scrumptiousness: kale, spinach, mushrooms… get the picture. Frozen organic fruits and vegetables are a good alternative when fresh is not available or if you won’t consume all the fresh food before it begins to spoil. When wholesome, organic foods are frozen shortly after picking, they retain most of their nutritional qualities. In fact, they often retain more than fresh foods that have to travel long distances to market. Whole Foods Private Label 365 Organic, Earthbound Farm Organic, and Sprouts Organic Frozen Fruits and Vegetables are good choices. Whichever market you trust to purchase your foods from, ask the produce manager for information and check labels on frozen items. It shouldn’t be hard to find great foods where you live – you just have to scope out sources then make visiting them a part of your routine.

Probably the most common question I am asked apart from “why” is, where do you get your protein from? This is an easy question to answer because there are so many great sources of plant-based proteins, vegans have no difficulty reaching recommended protein consumption goals. Here are some of the great sources of plant-based protein for vegans: spinach, Crimini mushrooms, asparagus, tofu, broccoli, swiss chard, lentils, nuts and seeds. NOTE: many plant-based sources of protein do not offer the full spectrum of essential amino acids your body needs to operate so it is important to include a variety of plant-based protein sources in your daily intake. One of the great exceptions to this is quinoa.

Quinoa is not only high in protein, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids. We love quinoa in our home. We use it as a side dish, sprinkled in our salads, as a breakfast food, as the key ingredient in burgers….the list goes on. I make a large batch at the start of the week and freeze in serving sized containers – ready to be added to our busy household’s week-day meals. My favorite source of sustainably grown quinoa is Alter Eco. Check out their website. Even their packaging is sustainable. Got to love that! Another great source of organic quinoa is Bob’s Red Mill. Read up on this incredible seed (yes, it is actually a seed but most people think it is a grain). Give it a try. You will love it.

I’ll leave you with some interesting reading about protein from The Harvard School of Public Health. I’ve included some excerpts and the link so you can read more. It is much easier to make good choices when we have good information, right?


Here is an article from BBC News about the adverse affects of the animal-based food industry.
Here is an article from Harvard School of Public Health on the benefits of plant proteins.

A 20-year prospective study of 82,802 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat or protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared with women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets. But women who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in animal fats or proteins did not have a reduced risk of heart disease.

Diets high in plant-based proteins and fats can provide health benefits, so try mixing some vegetarian proteins into your meals. Going meatless can be good for your wallet as well as your health, since beans, nuts and seeds, and other minimally processed vegetarian protein sources are often less expensive than meat. Eating plant protein in place of meat is also good for the planet. It takes a lot of energy to raise and process animals for meat, so going meatless could help reduce pollution and has the potential to lessen climate change.