Hearty Quinoa Salad


Serving up healthy lunches is a challenge for me. If we have leftovers from dinner I'm set but most often I'm rummaging through our fridge and pantry for any scraps & bits. Ideally, I try and make a big batch of something and have it stretch the whole week.

This quinoa salad is my go to. It's quick, inexpensive, and super easy. It just keeps getting better the longer it sits in the fridge. I like to think the flavors are giving each other a big ol' hug. Also, I'm snacker and get hungry every two hours. This salad keeps me full.

The best part about this dish is that it's versatile -- you can swap the ingredients and it still tastes good. Change up the herbs you use (think mint, basil & parsley), swap lemon juice for lime, add different beans or a new protein.

Be creative. Have fun. Enjoy!




  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
  • 1 big handful of kale, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed


  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Get your quinoa cooking -- follow the instructions on the bag or box.
  2. Heat oven to about 400 degrees. Toss your diced sweet potato with oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper. Lay it on a baking sheet lined with tin foil (easy clean up) and roast for 20-30 minutes. I like mine a little crispy.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil & mustard. (You've just made a dressing that can be used on just about any salad. woot woot.)
  4. Add kale, cooked quinoa, sweet potato, red onion, cilantro, black beans, and chick peas to a large bowl. Give it a good mix.
  5. Sprinkle with cumin, salt & pepper. Mix again.
  6. Pour your dressing over the salad and give it one more good toss.
  7. Taste & adjust seasonings as needed. ENJOY!

What I'm cookin'

I felt the urge to change it up. I talk a big talk about loving to gather folks around my table but I realized, I hadn't posted a recipe in forever. Plus, if you've seen my instagram feed at all you'll notice food. Lots and lots of food.

So here comes some food talk. Ya ready? We're going big here. I'm sharing three recipes. Stick with me until the end, it'll be worth it. Promise:)



I love it. I love it in the morning, in the afternoon as a snack and in milk at night for dessert. I could do eat it all day. But, we all know granola is pricey. And a large container of oats is not. So on my best days, I make granola for me and the hubs. On most other days, we go granola-less.

One of my fav granola recipes is Joy the Baker's Cocoa Almond Granola. [I couldn't locate the recipe on her site so I included where I found it]. When I taught cooking classes to high school students this used to be one of their favorite recipes.

I think because if you closed your eyes you might just think you're eating cocoa puffs.

I doubled the recipe because let's be real - we eat this fast. I keep a large mason jar filled in the fridge while I bag the rest and keep it in the freezer - to keep it fresh.

*Few changes I made: I doubled the oats, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa powder but left everything else as is. And guess what? It tasted just fine. I prefer things on the less sweet side anyway. And, almonds are expensive. 


When I think summer, I think tomatoes. I think crazy tie-dyed tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and textures. The way tomatoes should be. And when I think tomatoes I tend to think two things...

Bacon and Chips.

Last week I helped a friend harvest tomatoes, kale and beans at a farm. I swear, every time I plucked one of those juicy red tomatoes from the vine I imagined crusty bread and big slabs of bacon in-between. You better believe the moment I came home Matthew and I ran to the store and bought the staples - bread, cheese and bacon.

It. was. glorious.

Moving on to chips.

My family are snackers. If you come over and sit at our table, chances are it'll feel like happy hour - salsa and chips, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip. We like to snack - a lot. Matt's not a snacker. I still don't really understand this about him.

I would never put my nose up to store bought salsa but there is something incredible about fresh garden salsa made with tomatoes that look super funky. I didn't follow a recipe on this one or measure [that might go against food blogging etiquette entirely] but it's like, when you have good news to share you have to tell it right away.

Particularly when you currently have chips stuffed in your face.

So here's how it went down.

Grab a bunch of tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors - sun golds, cherry's, heirlooms, whatever. Let's say it averaged about 3-4 cups [don't quote me on this]. Roughly chop big tomatoes and throw smaller ones right into your food processor or blender.

Grab an onion. Again, any kind of onion will do here. Roughly chop and throw it in there too.

Give it a few pulses.

Grab some cilantro [I was overjoyed we had some leftover in the fridge, a few leaves were goners but the rest was fine]. Take a handful, stems and all, roughly chop. And, you guessed it, throw it in the processor.

Throw in some garlic. A clove or two?

Sprinkle some salt in there too. Squeeze a lime if you have it.

Here's the game changer. I grew up in a house where pepper was considered spicy. So you could say, I am little sensitive to spicy food. Plus, I always start sweating profusely at the tops of my cheeks, right under my eyes. A nice summer glow with the right crowd though a tad embarrassing with folks I don't know so well.

This salsa was going over to the tribe, our people, so I felt totally comfortable with a little sweat.

Throw two [three if you like it hot] chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, seeds and all, in the processor.

Give it all a good mix. Taste, adjust salt and seasonings, and enjoy with some chips.



Last but not least - zucchini bread. Summer is about more than tomatoes, it's also about squash - LOTS of squash. You could say I was a little weary when more zucchini and squash showed up in our weekly CSA basket.

Don't get me wrong. I love squash. I've just been a little squashed out. So, I figured it was time for some bread.

We're giving Joy the Baker another shout out here because her almost vegan zucchini bread is on point. You probably noticed by all the bacon talk that I am not vegan but I love recipes for all diets.

Since I'm not one to run to the store between cooking and baking - I made a few changes.

*Few changes I made: I used ground nutmeg instead of grated, and allspice instead of cloves. I didn't have buttermilk/didn't feel like making it and was really curious if it would still taste good without it so I used almond milk instead. Making it completely vegan, I believe? Again, I cut both sugars in half but did sprinkle some cane sugar on top of the loaves before putting them into the oven. It added a nice sweet crunch on top and a pretty shimmer. Lastly, no nuts - didn't have them so I didn't add them.

Oh and the biggest change here - I used yellow squash instead of zucchini. I have to admit, I was worried about this one - thinking maybe it would go against every rule of baking. But I did my research and found you can swap the two just fine. I peeled the squash before grating it since the peel tends to be thicker than zucchini.

I baked mine in three small loaf pans because I love small things. I also like the idea of keeping one, sharing another and giving one to your neighbor. They took longer to bake than just one large loaf, I'd say around 40-50 minutes in my oven. 

Phew. Thanks for sticking with me on this one. I love sharing my kitchen adventures with you. And, I love hearing back. Tell me, what recipes are you loving and why?

Here's to making happy messes in the kitchen!