Buffalo Quinoa Salad (new and improved!)

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August 31, 2014 By

If you care about something, you want to improve it and make yourself better, right? For me, this blog is a constant reminder of that. I get to see how far I’ve come with not only vegan cooking, but cooking in general. In fact, some of my earlier posts are a bit embarrassing for me to look at.

On that note, here is a specific recipe in particular that I’ve made slight improvements to over the past year, and that’s the Buffalo Quinoa Salad recipe. This is a staple recipe in our household, as it’s one of Matt’s favorites. This version is less processed, less work, and more delicious. You can’t argue with that!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes (mostly completed during cook time)

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the Tempeh Tenders

  • 1 8oz package of tempeh, diced
  • 4 tbs Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup GF vegan breadcrumbs

Other Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • your favorite hummus
  • Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (for drizzling and such)

 

Step 1: Prepare and roast chickpeas.

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain the chickpeas and pat them dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 1 tbs of olive oil. The ONE TABLESPOON is crucial, people. If you add more, your chickpeas will turn out either too mushy or burnt. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas until every chickpea is coated with a bit of oil.

Now, you’re ready to place them in the oven for about 50 minutes. Your result should be crunchy, roasted chickpeas. It’s a great GF crouton, and way more nutritious!

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The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It's the perfect GF crouton!

The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It’s the perfect GF crouton!

Step 2: Prepare and cook tempeh tenders.

Here is a step that I’ve changed about the previous recipe that will save you lots of time, is less messy, and produces better-quality results. Plus, it’s more fun this way, as dancing with food is involved.

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The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

Take your diced tempeh and place it in a tupperware container. Next, pour in the buffalo wing sauce and GF bread crumbs. Put the top on the tupperware container and shake it up! Dance and have fun with your tenders.

When you open up your container, perfectly-coated nuggets will be revealed, without getting a single finger messy!

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Perfection.

Grease a baking sheet, pour the tempeh tenders on top, and place in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s okay to share the oven with the chickpeas. I do it all the time.

Step 3: Cook the quinoa.

Two cups of water and one cup of quinoa will go into a pot. Bring the pot to a bowl, lower the heat to simmer, and cover the pot for 15 minutes.

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Step 4: Cut the vegetables.

With three things cooking at once, you’ll have one more task: cutting the vegetables. CHEF STATUS! Lol, just kidding. Real chefs start prepping their food at 8am.

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Step 5: Combine ingredients in a big bowl.

As things start finishing up, start placing them in a big bowl. Mix it all together.

I like to save the hummus for “garnish” in my own bowl. I like to use Publix’s Jalapeño Cilantro hummus in this dish, as it amps up the kick. However, I’m sure every hummus, store-bought or homemade, works just fine here. Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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I hope you all give this improved version a try!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Rasta Pasta Salad

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January 12, 2014 By

Happy New Year, everyone! I officially went vegan on January 1, 2013, so here’s to 1 full year of veganism!

Pasta salad is an easy go-to for anyone. It’s perfect for big groups and entertaining. You can arrive with a vegan pasta salad to an event and no one will bat an eye. It’s a wonderful “clear the fridge” dish, too, as it is so versatile. Every time I make pasta salad, different veggies go into it, depending on what’s chilling (literally and figuratively) in my fridge.

For a long time, I was going through a trial-and-error period with my pasta salad recipe, particularly the dressing. In the past, I’ve tried to make the dressing from scratch, but something always went wrong. Too lemony. Too tart. Way too much balsamic. Too creamy. Too salty. Too bland. For someone who loves pasta salad so much, I couldn’t seem to get it right. It was a dark place.

Then, my sister and I decided to cook it together one day, and it was PERFECT. Who knew that the answer to my pasta problems was someone so close to home?

Cooking with others is so fun. I always come out of it feeling like I’ve learned something new. So here is the product of collaboration and deliciousness.

Oh yeah, and the Rastafarian thing? This is definitely not an authentic Rastafarian dish by any means. It’s only based on the matching flag colors. 😉

 

Rasta Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

Pasta Dressing:

  • 8 tbs EVOO
  • 1 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar (In a pinch, any vinegar will do, really. I used Apple Cider.)
  • 2 heaping tsp Veganaise (or as I like to call it, “goops.” Two goops of Veganaise.)
  • 2-3 tbs Agave Nectar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of Quinoa Pasta (gluten-free deliciousness; so much better than any GF pasta out there)
  • 1-2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 can, or 7.5 ounces, chickpeas
  • salt/pepper as garnish

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STEP 1: Cook the pasta.

Start boiling that water and get the pasta started! When your pasta is finished cooking, strain it and run it under cold water. Pasta salad shouldn’t be hot, so cooling off your pasta right after cooking keeps it cool and firm. Set aside or place in the fridge if you are still working on the meal.

Mmm… I love the Garden Pagodas!

Mmm… I love the Garden Pagodas!

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STEP 2: Create the magic sauce!

There’s a science behind the sauce, so don’t throw in everything at once and mix.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil and balsamic first. Whisk it quickly for about 30 seconds. This will allow the two opposing ingredients to blend. Add the Veganaise next and whisk, but not like a crazy person this time. Just normal whisking. After that, you may add the other pasta sauce ingredients in any manner you’d like.

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STEP 3: Chop up those veggies!

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STEP 4: Mix all ingredients.

The fun part! Get a great, big bowl and mix the pasta, pasta sauce, veggies, and chickpeas all together! Add more salt and pepper as needed.

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RASTA!

 

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Extra pepper on mine, please!

 

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

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July 17, 2013 By

There is a new and improved version of this recipe. To view it, click here!

 

The idea for this recipe developed from two inspirations: my favorite local vegan restaurant & Pinterest.

At Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, FL, they have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. I try to avoid getting in the rut of ordering the same thing every time, so recently, I ordered the Buffalo 66, a quinoa salad with tempeh tenders, veggies, and “blue cheese” dressing. When I tried this dish, my mouth was exploding in a flavor-war between the heat of the buffalo and the chill from the blue cheese. You know the devil & angel on your shoulders, pulling you in either direction? It was like that… but in my mouth, and delicious. The freshness of the veggies and the absorbency of the quinoa really pulled this dish together to make a truly exquisite dish.

Afterward, I told myself, “I have to make this!”

Flash forward to last night. It was time.

 

As for Pinterest, who isn’t inspired by the ideas people bring into this world on a daily basis? It took a bit of research to find a good “blue cheese” dressing. It wasn’t until this popular pin by PETA that I felt like I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

So, with a combination of ideas, as well as specific options that were found in my local grocery store, I created this mouth-watering, scarf-worthy, and heavenly dish! Seriously guys, it might be the best thing I’ve ever made. Oh yeah, and Matt helped, and his help made this dish even more awesome! It’s true that it takes one to have a good idea, but 2+ to make a good idea great!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Prep Time: 30 minutes (can be done during cook time)

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (to boil quinoa in)
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (use as needed)
  • 1 cup GF Seasoned Coating Mix
  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted, drizzle with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce)
  • 1 package of tempeh, sliced (8oz)
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ½ small onion

For Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp agave nectar
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • 1/8 block of firm tofu, drained and pressed

 

 

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain chickpeas and pat dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 3-4 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas and place them in the oven for about 60 minutes.

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A hand model BY NO MEANS.

 

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STEP 2: Tempeh time! After slicing your tempeh, gather 2 bowls and an oiled oven tray to create an assembly line. In the first bowl, pour some buffalo wing sauce. In the second bowl, pour some GF Seasoned Coating Mix. When everything is ready, dip your tempeh into the buffalo wing sauce, followed by the seasoning, and place it on the tray. Place in the oven with the chickpeas. They should cook for about 30-35 minutes.

Atten-TION!

Atten-TION!

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STEP 3: Time to create the dressing! Gather your ingredients and mix them all into a small bowl, except for the tofu. You will drain and press your tofu, then crumble it up (I did this by taking a spoon and flattening out the tofu). Mix in with the dressing, cover, and place into the fridge until ready.

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STEP 4: With 20 minutes left on the chickpeas/tempeh, get your quinoa ready. I used 1 cup of quinoa. Use the 2 cups of water to boil your quinoa, then let it simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.

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STEP 5: You’re cooking 3 things at once, yet you have one more task! Get a big bowl ready, cut up the carrots, celery, and onion, and place them in the bowl.

The perfect medley of freshness!

The perfect medley of freshness!

 

STEP 6: When everything is done cooking, mix the steaming-hot quinoa and chickpeas in the bowl with the veggies. Gather your rather large helping (your stomach won’t let you get a small one, I promise you), place your tempeh tenders on top, and garnish with a little more buffalo sauce and your dressing.

Chickpeas are done!

Chickpeas are done!

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Tempeh tenders are done!

The tempeh tenders were fantastic. In fact, they’re amazing by themselves! I might make them as a finger food one day… hmm, perhaps the Superbowl…

 

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There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

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Anyway, this dish is tantalizing and all-out amazing. Stop what you’re doing and make this today. Your tastebuds, and your audience, will thank you.

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

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Chickpea Salad Sandwich

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July 3, 2013 By

Ever since turning vegan, there are certain foods that I find myself gravitating toward time and time again. For me, that food is the chickpea. Can we agree that chickpeas are the #1 vegan food?

 

I find myself using chickpeas to create a multitude of substitutions. Whether mashed, cooked, or raw, these beans are something I can always count on for good texture.

 

I don’t know about you, but every now and again, I find myself craving a salad sandwich. You know, egg salad or tuna salad.  It’s not an every day craving, but its one I have maybe about once every 2 months or so. Well, leave it to chickpeas – once again – to save the day in a time of a vegan craving crisis.

 

Here’s my take on a chickpea salad sandwich. It’s gluten-free, so Celiacs can use GF bread or GF crackers to make this thing happen for them, too.

 

 

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Yield: 3-4 sandwiches

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, washed, and patted dry
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 5 petite pickles, thinly sliced
  • 8 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ – ½ sweet or white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Veganaise*
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • ½ of a lemon, squeezed for juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • dash of sweetener (if using Veganaise, in order to really make those flavors pop!)
  • fresh spinach (optional)
  • your favorite vegan and/or gluten free bread (make sure it’s thick… this sandwich can get heavy!)

 

 

*SIDE NOTE: I’m visiting my boyfriend in Mississippi, and there was NO Veganaise to be found at the local grocery store! If you are in this predicament as well, I substituted So Delicious Coconut Milk Plain yogurt. It’s a bit on the sweet side, so I used lots of tart spices in the yogurt to even out the taste.

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STEP 1: Have a really cute animal nearby to help you out and brighten your spirit.

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Peeking-around-the-corner boy!

This is my baby Fleegle. He’s a one year-old cockatiel, and he’s my sunshine. He injured his little foot recently, so that’s why his foot is sticking up like that :(. Don’t worry though; with the help of my vet, Fleegle is on the road to recovery!

 

 

STEP 2: Cut chickpeas in half.

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You see why you need an animal to brighten your spirits? It’s because cutting these little chickpeas is tedious and annoying. A whole chickpea is a bit thick, so cutting them in half really helps to spread that taste throughout. This step alone takes about 10 minutes, but I promise you it’s worth it!

 
STEP 3: Cut up the rest of your vegetables.

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STEP 4: Using the spices and vegan mayo, create your Veganaise mixture. Sample the mixture throughout and cater to your own personal taste!

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STEP 5: Mix everything together.

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STEP 6: Place some fresh spinach at the bottom of one of your bread slices. Then, scoop some chickpea salad and place it on top of the spinach layer. Finally, top of your sandwich with your other bread slice.

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MMMMMM! Perfect for summer and outdoor adventures!

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

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Rainbow Salad

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July 1, 2013 By

Quinoa/wild rice bowls are kind of a go-to for my boyfriend and I, as I’m sure it is for most vegans. There are many benefits in preparing a salad like this: it’s either a chance for you to show off your creative side (the possibilities are endless), or you have a ton of random fruits & vegetables that you need to use before they begin to rot.

 

For me, the best thing about a quinoa/wild rice bowl/salad is that I try to make it as nutritious as possible. When I cook for others, I often get complaints that I incorporate TOO MUCH vegetables, but for this dish, it’s perfectly acceptable.

 

One day, I was making a quinoa salad, and I noticed all of the nutritious colors in my bowl. I said, “Hey, it’s like a rainbow in here!” Thus, the Rainbow Salad* was born.

 

*Disclaimer: You may call it the Rainbow Bowl, but you sort of sound like a toddler that hasn’t quite learned to say his/her R’s yet.

 

 

The Rainbow Salad is basically at least one representation of every color of the rainbow, plus black & white (optional). For me, it’s ideal for me to incorporate every color into my day, and this salad makes it easy to do. This salad is extremely nutritious, and it’s difficult to fathom how many combinations you can create.

 

 

Below, I have offered my favorite options to throw into a Rainbow Salad. You will see that lots of common & nutritious fruits and vegetables are not seen here. It’s a personal preference; it’s difficult for me to imagine putting certain fruits/veggies in a salad in combination with all of the other colors:

 

  • red: red bell pepper, tomato, pomegranate seeds, strawberries
  • orange: carrot, orange bell pepper, orange tomato, mangoes, tangerine, oranges, apricot, walnuts
  • yellow: garbanzo beans, pineapple, golden apples, yellow peppers, corn
  • green: asparagus, avocado, celery, edamame, broccoli, kale, kiwi, spinach
  • blue: blueberries, blue grapes
  • violet: organic raisins, grapes, red onions, plums
  • white: quinoa, tofu, onion, mushroom, shallot, white beans
  • black: black beans, black quinoa, wild rice, black flax seed

 

 

 

Rainbow Salad

  • red: 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • orange: 1 mango
  • yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted)
  • green: 1 avocado
  • blue: ½ cup blueberries
  • violet: ½ red onion
  • white: 1 cup quinoa

 

For Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced
  • dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil OR
  • your favorite salad dressing!

 

 

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place garbanzo beans on a pan, dry them off with a paper towel, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Move your fingers on top of the beans to mix the olive oil all the way through. Throw in the oven for 45-60 minutes.

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Halfway through cooking time, take out the beans, shake the pan around to move the beans, and place it back into the oven.

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Halfway there!

 

 

The result is a crunchy bean that is a great addition to the Rainbow Salad. It’s like a gluten-free crouton!

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Mmm mm mm mm mm… crunchy!

 

 

 

STEP 2: While the chickpeas are roasting, begin cutting up all your vegetables and placing them into a giant serving bowl.

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Waiting patiently… Patient Fruit. Get it? Sucky joke? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

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STEP 3: Create your vinaigrette in a small bowl on the side and mix well.

OR

If you got lazy like I did, get a yummy, tangy salad dressing and wait to add it on until the end. I took a chance with this Mango Poppy dressing, and it’s delicious in this salad!

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Mango Poppy, ya’ll!

 

 

STEP 4: With about 20 minutes left on the chickpeas, start making your quinoa. Place 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa into a small sauce pan. When it hits boiling point, cover the sauce pan, turn down the temp to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

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STEP 5: When everything is finished, place quinoa, roasted chickpeas, and vinaigrette into the bowl. Stir up and enjoy! (Enjoy hot or cold!)

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Did anyone else notice that perfect Green Bay Packers symbol on that blueberry? It’s quinoa and it’s perfect.

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

 

P.S. Here are some other Rainbow Salad combinations in the past that I’ve enjoyed:

 

Wild Rainbow Salad

red: 1 red bell pepper

orange: 1 cup orange grape tomatoes, halved

yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted)

green: 1 cup edamame

blue: ½ cup blueberries

violet: ½ cup organic raisins

black & white: 1 cup wild rice blend

 

Rice Prep (this will become part of your vinaigrette later, since brown rice can be a bit watery)

Replace water with:

1 ¾ cup vegetable broth

2 tbs Earth Balance

lemon zest

salt & pepper to taste

 

Remaining Wild Rainbow Salad vinaigrette

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of hot sauce (optional)

 

 

 

 

Mexican Rainbow Salad

red: 1 red bell pepper

orange: 1 orange bell pepper

yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted), drizzle with hot sauce

green: 1 avocado

blue: ½ cup blue grapes or blueberries

violet: ½ red onion

white: 1 cup quinoa

black: 1 15oz can of black beans

 

For Mexican Salad Vinaigrette:

¼ cup lime juice

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of hot sauce (optional)

 

 

 

 

Sweet Rainbow Salad

red: 1 cup strawberries, sliced

orange: ½ cup walnuts

yellow: 1 cup corn

green: 1 cup kale

blue: ½ cup blue grapes or blueberries

violet: ½ red onion

white: 1 cup quinoa

black: 1 15oz can of black beans

 

For Sweet Rainbow Vinaigrette:

¼ cup lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

 

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