Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jazzy Quinoa Salad w/Tempeh Cubes

What do I do when I have fresh pineapple and the weather is still warm? I make a jazzy Cuban inspired quinoa salad with a little smoky tempeh on the side.

This recipe is one I altered, from one that was adapted from another one, etc  I don't think it resembles the original fried rice recipe much.

I love the mixture of flavors and it was especially good leftover the next day.


1 cup Quinoa
1.5 cups Water
1 tsp No Chicken Bouillon
2 cups chopped fresh Pineapple (peeled and cored of course)
1 Green or Red Pepper, diced
1 - 15 oz can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp minced Garlic
6 Green Onions, white and green parts sliced thin
1 Jalapeno Pepper, remove seeds and mince

1 - 8 oz pkg Tempeh, cut into 1/2 - 1 inch cubes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp gluten free Tamari (or soy sauce)


1.  In small bowl whisk together all tempeh marinade ingredients.  In a shallow glass dish or Ziploc bag mix the cubed tempeh with the marinade.  Let marinade for at least one hour, turning to coat as needed.

2.  Mix quinoa, water, and bouillon and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let set for 5 minutes.  Place quinoa in a large mixing bowl and spread up the sides to cool.

3.  If you haven't already done so, chop all of your veggies and the pineapple and set aside.  Drain and rinse beans and set aside.

4.  Turn on your BBQ or grill to medium-high heat.  You can either grill the tempeh on skewers or in a grill pan so the cubes don't slide between the grates.  Place the tempeh on the grill prior to assembling salad, reserving marinade. Grill tempeh until brown on all sides and slightly dry.

5.  Mix the veggies, black beans, and pineapple into the cooled quinoa.  Stir from the bottom to incorporate.  A slightly warm salad tastes just as good as a cool one.  If you want a cold salad, make the quinoa up in the morning and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

6.  Once the tempeh is grilled.  Serve the salad with the tempeh on the side. Dip the grilled tempeh in the reserved marinade or drizzle a little on the salad and a little on top the tempeh for an extra kick. You can even stir a tablespoon or two of the marinade into the whole salad for a flavor boost.

- Bon Appetit

" You can do a lot for your diet by eliminating foods that have mascots." - Ted Spiker

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sweet & Savory Israeli Couscous Salad

If you are looking for a simple, but different summer salad, this is it.  A little sweet, a little savory, and it packs well for a picnic, potluck, or serving for lunch the next day.

I found a recipe for an Israeli couscous salad many years ago and slowly over the years I have adjusted this and that, and it has evolved to this recipe.

Israeli couscous is a large couscous that resembles large tapioca and is also called pearl couscous.  It is not gluten free.  For a gluten free option substitute hearty brown rice or even quinoa.



2 cups uncooked Israeli Couscous
1 large Cucumber, quartered and sliced
1 cup sliced Celery
1/4 cup minced Red Onion
2-3 Plums or Apricots, pitted, quartered, and sliced
1 large yellow or white Nectarine, pitted, sliced, and diced
8 oz Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/4 cup fresh Dill, minced
8-10 fresh Basil leaves, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Sprinkle of Salt & Pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the couscous and cook at a simmer until al dente, approximately 8 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Be sure to use a small strainer or colander so the couscous doesn't run out the slots.

(Cooked, drained, and rinsed Israeli Couscous)
2.  Chop all of the vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

3.  In large bowl combine drained couscous and the veggie/fruit/herb mixture.  Use a large spatula to make sure ingredients are well incorporated.

4.  In small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar.

5.  Combine dressing with couscous mixture and stir to coat well.

6.  Serve or store covered in the refrigerator.

- Bon Appetit

" We don't need a melting pot in this country folks.  We need a salad bowl.  In a salad bowl, you put in the different things.  You want the vegetables - the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers - to maintain their identity.  You appreciate differences." - Jane Elliot

Monday, September 1, 2014

Simple Bruschetta

This is another of my favorite recipes and works really well in the summer when tomatoes and basil are in season and you can grill the bread outdoors instead of toasting in the oven.  My Aunt taught me how to make it about 8 years ago. Very simple with only a few ingredients and so good.

You can pair it with grilled tofu, or have it as a side dish / appetizer with pasta.  

**Notes: The riper the tomatoes the better the results with this recipe.  Do not omit a sprinkle of sea salt as it will help release the juices of the tomatoes.  Adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste.  Everyone enjoys a little different ratio of tomatoes to basil, etc.


2 large regular Tomatoes or 4-5 Roma Tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
4-6 large Basil leaves, finely chopped
Sprinkle of Sea Salt
1 Baguette, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices


1.  Chop tomatoes, green onions, and basil and place in a glass or ceramic mixing bowl.  Do not use a metal bowl because it can react to the acid in the tomatoes.

2.  Mix the three ingredients together and sprinkle with sea salt. Stir and sprinkle again.

3.  Remove spoon, loosely cover, and let the mixture rest for at least 1/2 an hour or more.  

4.  When you are almost ready to serve, spray your baguette slices on each side with a little olive oil and grill for a few minutes on each side until crispy and golden.

5.  It is best to serve the bowl of bruschetta and basket of toasted baguette in separate containers on the table.  Use a spoon to scoop the bruschetta (making sure to include some juice) onto a baguette slice.  Crunch and enjoy.

Yes, it is a little messy to eat, but so good.  If you scoop a few at a time the bread can get a little soggy even though the toasted baguette seems to hold up well.  Hubby likes to dip the bread in the juice too.

- Bon Appetit

" If you've got a plot the size of a car or a tiny yard in Italy, you're going to be growing tomatoes and basil and celery and carrots, and everybody is still connected to the land." - Frances Mayes