Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This is a wonderful Southwestern style salad that is quick and easy to make. It makes a healthy side with quinoa, black beans, corn, peppers, red onion, and cilantro. It also is a great lunch. Best of all, it’s tasty. You can adjust ingredients and spices for your family. The recipe is vegetarian but can be modified to meet vegan needs as noted in the recipe.

Don’t like cilantro? Add Romaine lettuce instead. You can make this salad with white or red quinoa. All quinoa has a nutty, earthy flavor. This flavor is stronger in red quinoa and milder in white quinoa. Red quinoa also has a chewier, almost crunchy texture. Quinoa is a great base for salads because it’s nutritious, and it soaks up the flavors of the dressing and seasonings. Quinoa is gluten-free, rich in fiber and a great source of protein. The longer the salad chills in the fridge, the more flavor it will have. The dressing soaks into the quinoa and makes it super flavorful and delicious. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours for optimal flavor. Try making a bowl on Sunday, and package lunches for several days.

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Savory Zucchini Muffins

Several years ago I shared a traditional sweet zucchini bread. As much as I like that, sometimes I want something different. Today’s recipe is a moist, savory muffin that’s perfect at breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. The muffins are filled with zucchini, onion, garlic, roasted red pepper, ground Parmesan. and sun-dried tomatoes. They’re vegetarian.

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Easy Cold Cucumber Soup

Summer heat and humidity makes it hard to turn on the stove and heat up the house. Today’s recipe is perfect for hot August days but is easy and tasty enough for any day. Cold cucumber soup is a quick-to-make, refreshing, and flavorful cold soup. and it helps use all those fresh cucumbers from the garden.. Perfect to serve as an appetizer, side dish, or for a light, healthy main dish. I’m using Greek yogurt low fat but you can certainly use regular Greek yogurt too. Add lemon juice, minced shallots and fresh herbs and blend. Refrigerate at least 4 hours up to overnight for a wonderful mouthful of cold goodness.

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Summer Nectarine Salad With Cucumbers & Tomatoes

For gardeners, summer can be a time of never-ending cucumbers and tomatoes. Even if you don’t grow your own, the supermarkets and farmer’s markets are loaded with summer produce.  Here’s a tasty salad  that goes great with grilled chicken or fish and is oh so easy to make. Use cucumbers with heirloom tomatoes,  but even grape or cherry tomatoes work well too.

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Savory Watermelon Pizza

Most of us have seen fruit pizzas that have no grain. Whether you are avoiding gluten or grain, today I’m talking about watermelon pizza. A thick slice of watermelon cut into wedges is the ‘crust’ of this summery pizza. Top with fresh fruits and veggies for refreshing flavor and crisp texture. You may prefer the sweet fruity versions that add more fruit to the slice of watermelon. I think of these as a dessert. Try adding strawberry slices and bueberries.

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Start The Day With Lemon Blueberry Quinoa

A tasty and healthy alternative to oatmeal, Lemon Blueberry Quinoa is high in protein and fiber. The classic combination of blueberries and lemon with a touch of maple syrup is a wonderful sweet tart mix in flavor. Rinse the quinoa well before cooking to remove bitterness. For vegan, use your favorite milk substitute like soy, almond, etc., or try a vanilla milk for even more flavor.

Quinoa cooked in milk with fruit can be adapted with other fruit such as strawberries, mixed berries, and blackberries. Your family can start the day with a warm tasty bowl of fruit quinoa any time of the year. If you cook it ahead, store in a bowl with a lid in the refrigerator. I even know someone who likes it better cold and takes it for lunch to work.

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Black Bean Hummus

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip, spread, or savory dish traditionally made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. I’ve shared various versions of hummus before in all kinds of flavors. Today my twist is a spicy version based on black beans not chickpeas. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Taste your hummus and adjust spices as needed for your family. I’ve added jalapeño pepper, garlic, and lime juice for a pop of flavor.

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