Tag: how to cook quinoa

Butternut Squash & Quinoa Harvest Salad {Gluten-Free}

One of the coolest concepts I learned about in my health coach training was food energetics.

Steve Gagne, an expert on the topic and author of the book Food Energetics: The Spiritual, Emotional, and Nutrition Power of What We Eat, taught us about the energetic properties of certain foods.

Now before you start thinking I’m going a little out there on you, listen up!

You may have already noticed this without even thinking about it based on how your food preferences change seasonally.

In the warmer months, we often crave lighter foods – salads, smoothies, raw fruits and vegetables, and chilled soups like gazpacho.¬†These foods are naturally cooling, support¬†our body’s detoxification processes and¬†keep us feeling light during the hot and humid months.

As the fall approaches, we naturally turn to more warming comfort foods Рthings like hot soups, stews, chilis and squashes. We crave warming spices like cinnamon and ginger. We look forward to holding a piping hot mug of cocoa or tea.


In other words, during the warmer months we crave lighter, cooling foods. During the colder months, we naturally go for grounding, warming foods and drinks.

Squash is one of those grounding fall foods and happens to be one of my favorites. There are so many varieties of squash that you could have a different one every day for weeks and not get bored!

Today’s recipe pulls in one of my absolute favorite squash and the one most of us are familiar with and have tried before – butternut squash.

In case you want a little how-to about how to cut up this vegetable, check out the guide below. I find that it helps to peel it with a good quality vegetable peeler BEFORE cutting it up, but it works either way. Once you’ve cut it up, then dice it into cubes for this dish.¬†

Butternut squash how to

I made this recipe for my Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy workshop in October and it was one of the most liked dishes I served all night!

We combine the roasted butternut squash with my #1 herb of all time Рrosemary Рand toss it with some dried tart cherries, toasted pecans, and a simple apple cider vinegar Dijon dressing. To add some lightness and a bit of peppery spice, we mix in a bunch of arugula, one of the tastiest salad greens out there.

We’ve since made it multiple times, so it’s quickly become one of our fall staples. It would make the perfect side for Thanksgiving dinner or for any fall or winter meal.

When we were on a trip to Upstate New York last month, we even served it with a (slightly overcooked!) fried egg on top. This one is a keeper ūüôā

egg with quinoa salad

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Butternut Squash, Quinoa & Arugula Harvest Salad

This salad makes for a hearty side dish to a fall meal and combines some of our favorite fall ingredients – squash, pecans, and cranberries. You can serve it with a side of chicken or fish or add some chickpeas to up the protein content.


  • 1 large butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or tart cherries
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2/3 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)


  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

  2. In a large bowl, combine squash, rosemary, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 12-15 minutes, until squash is tender. Let cool completely.

  3. While squash is cooking, cook quinoa. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Fill medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water and add quinoa. Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and reduce heat to simmer for 12-15 minutes. Once water is just barely absorbed, remove pan from heat and leave covered for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Spread quinoa on a parchment lined baking sheet to cool and prevent it from clumping together. This last step is optional but really helps!

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients in the order listed.

  5. In a large bowl, combine roasted squash, quinoa and dried fruit. Pour dressing over mixture and gently toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add arugula and pecans, gently tossing to coat.

Refreshing Quinoa, Apple & Almond Potluck Salad

In the springtime, our bodies naturally want to start detoxing¬†to “clean out” all of the gunk that we’ve stored up over the winter (which was pretty brutal this year!).

Wastes and toxins build up in our bodies from stress, processed and refined foods, sugar, fried foods, chemical additives, and pesticides.¬†¬†That is just one¬†of the reasons we often feel¬†tired and sluggish, hold on to extra weight (toxic tissue is a fat storage hog!), and don’t radiate health in the way we look.

Fortunately, this salad contains a bunch of ingredients that naturally promote the elimination of wastes and toxins. Check out all of the detoxifying ingredients!

  • Scallions (also a GBOMBS food!)
  • Celery
  • Lemon Juice
  • Parsley

This is a great dish to bring to a potluck or cookout. You can even make it the night before and store it in the fridge to let all of the flavors come together!

I went to one of my best friend’s birthday parties a few weeks ago¬†(yay for turning 30!) and brought this salad with me. I doubled the recipe for the party, and it made enough for a group of 50 people. It was a HIT!

Refreshing Quinoa Salad with Apples & Almonds

Bring this to your next potluck or make it for your family!

Bring this to your next potluck or cookout or make it for your family!


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (here’s how to cook perfect quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used raw honey)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup peeled, diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (you can use regular raisins if you can’t find golden ones :))
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions*
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • Coarse salt and pepper

*I added about 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions to the original salad recipe, since they are in season and add another dimension of flavor. They are also detoxifying and an anti-cancer GBOMBS food!

Click here for the full recipe!

The Secrets to Cooking Perfect Quinoa…Revealed!

Quinoa is everywhere these days.

Popping up in funny¬†Miller Lite commercials¬†in the form of “queen-o” burgers.

Receiving props worldwide with 2013 being deemed “The International Year of Quinoa.” (Seriously, there is such a thing!)

And showing up on grocery store shelves in everything from cereals to snack foods.

All the while driving people crazy with its less than phonetic spelling!

Here are some fun facts about this hearty little seed:

  • It’s pronounced “KEEN-wah.”
  • It’s technically a seed¬†or pseudocereal and is¬†harvested from a plant related to beets and spinach.
  • It comes in a variety of colors (red, white, black, orange, brown, pink, pale yellow).
  • It’s a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids) and is¬†packed with nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
  • There is a naturally occurring, bitter outer coating on quinoa called saponin that needs to be rinsed off prior to eating, otherwise it will be bitter.
  • It doesn’t contain gluten, the sticky protein found in barley, rye, wheat, and a few other grains, so it is safe for people with gluten sensitivities or intolerances.
  • Swap it out to replace rice or couscous to change up your recipes.


Where do you buy quinoa?

I buy a big 4 pound bag for $10-$15 at BJs Wholesale Club, and it lasts for months. You can find it cheap at Trader Joe’s¬†and in the bulk section of grocery stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods¬†as well as in natural food stores like MOMs and Roots Market. All major grocery stores sell it these days, but it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk at the stores above or wholesale clubs than in a box at Safeway.

Want to know the secrets to cooking perfect quinoa every time? Follow these steps!

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock (some people find using a little less liquid – 1.75 cups – works well, too, but I’ve always used two!)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Optional ingredient: Instead of sea salt, use a thumb-size piece of kombu (you find this seaweed online or at any of the stores listed above). When you add kombu to grains (and beans) while cooking them, it infuses them with minerals, makes the grain more digestible, and reduces acidity and gas!

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. This gets rid of the bitter coating, so it is an important step!
  2. Put the rinsed quinoa, water and salt (or kombu, if using) in a pot.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. DO NOT STIR THE QUINOA WHILE IT IS COOKING.¬†It will not cook properly if you do.¬†If you want to check on it, just remove the lid and tilt the pot a little – if the water hasn’t been absorbed, keep simmering.
  5. When all the water is absorbed and the curly white tail¬†“pops” off the quinoa, you know it’s done!
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, and discard the kombu (if using).
  7. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Let it cool slightly (10-15 minutes) before serving.

For the more visual learners, check out this one-minute video that shows you how to cook quinoa!

Unfortunately, many people’s first experience with this nutrient-packed seed is eating it plain, and they are often so scarred by that experience that they never to try it again.

I love quinoa, but¬†I don’t like plain quinoa it’s boring and bland!

In my next post, I’ll be sharing my favorite way to prepare this super seed along with a few other delicious recipes, so stay tuned! Hooray for no more boring quinoa! ūüôā

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