Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quinoa, Pear & Spinach Salad with Moroccan Spiced Lemon Dressing

Here's a quick and easy recipe that I've been asked for a few times, and instead of giving it just to those who've asked, I'm sharing it with everyone! (Good things should be shared, right?)
It's chock-full of healthy, seasonal fruits and veggies and tastes fresh and delicious!
And since I forgot to take pictures I'm including some factoids on some of the super-foods that are included in the recipe. Enjoy!

Moroccan spiced lemon dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about half a large lemon) and zest, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (if using water or unsalted chicken broth)
  • Moroccan spiced lemon dressing
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted
  1. Prepare quinoa. Bring stock to a boil (with salt) and add quinoa, stir to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. 
  2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare dressing: whisk lemon juice, yogurt, honey, cumin, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl until blended. Slowly whisk in oil so the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with ½ of the prepared dressing. Let cool.
  4.  Just before serving, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and top with quinoa, pear, tomatoes, onion, and pepitas. Toss to combine and serve.
  •   Make Ahead Tip: This recipe makes 2/3 cup dressing (Step 2). Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the quinoa, salad and remaining dressing separately for up to 2 days.
Buen Provecho!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tom Kha Gai ~ Thai Coconut Soup

Last night I hosted our Amazing Race night and was told by one of our racers, Sarah, that "this is the best soup I have ever tasted, and I'm not even exaggerating!". Well, after a long lapse in posts, I thought that a comment like that deserved its own blog post. She also made the pottery in the pictures; doesn't she sound like a lovely friend to have?
This one's for you, Sarah!

Tom Kha Gai

½ Tbsp coconut oil
½ white onion, thinly sliced
1 hot Thai chili pepper (or more, depending on your spice preference), minced

2 cans coconut milk (full fat makes for a richer, creamier soup)
1 cup chicken stock
2 inch piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemon grass, slightly bruised/flattened with a mallet or cleaver and chopped diagonally into 4 pieces

8 kaffir lime leaves
4 Tbsp fish sauce

1 or 2 chicken breasts, very thinly sliced
½ cup fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
juice of ½ a lime (approx. 2 Tbsp)
½ Tbsp coconut sugar or honey
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh spinach
fresh cilantro, scallions/green onions and 
coconut rice for serving

Melt the coconut oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute then add the chili and stir 1-2 minutes more until fragrant.

Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening to redistribute the separated cream and milk. Pour into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, fish sauce and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Then add the shrimp, bell pepper, mushrooms, lime juice, coconut sugar, tomatoes and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not mushy and the shrimp is bright pink.

To serve, place a scoop of coconut rice in the bottom of a bowl, spoon soup overtop and garnish with fresh cilantro and scallions.

Serves 4

Buen Provecho!