Sweet ‘n’ Savory Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Once again, dear readers, I owe you my apologies for a lack of posts.  My excuse this time? I was out of the country. Thanks for bearing with me. I owe you another round of apologies because this recipe is one I made at the end of the summer when those luscious stonefruits were still abundant. This recipe would work well though with frozen mango and peaches, thawed and drained.

But when dealing with food this delicious, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. 🙂 I’ve never like black bean quinoa salads particularly. I found them boring. This flavor combination, though will win over just about anyone, if I do say so myself.


Total time: about 20-25 minutes

Serves 2-3

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or use water and add 1/8 tsp salt)
  • 1 tbs orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbs lime juice
  • 1/2 medium mango, diced (fresh, or about 1/2 cup frozen chunks, thawed and drained)
  • 1 small ripe peach, diced (or about 1/2 cup frozen chunks, thawed and drained)
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 15-0z can black beans (or 1.5-2 cups cooked)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Dash of cumin, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine quinoa and water or broth, and bring to  boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the mango, peach, avocado, and shallot. Combine the orange juice concentrate, red wine vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. When the quinoa is done, combine all ingredients (quinoa, beans, chopped fruits, and dressing) in a bowl and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

This is great served with tortilla chips, or as a burrito/taco filling, or over a bed of greens for a different take on a taco salad!





Lunchbox Salad: Apple, Cheddar, and Kale Salad for One

This made a quick and lovely lunch the other day, and it was too good not to share. It’s the perfect combination of earthy, salty, tangy, and sweet.

The apple and cheddar combination remind me of something you would pack in a grade schooler’s lunchbox, for some reason…hence the title. Also, kale magically stays crispy even after being dressed, so I often pack kale as a tupperware lunch salad. The lemon juice or vinegar keeps the apple from turning brown — an added bonus.


Makes 1 entree-size salad

  • 2 cups kale, cut into strips or bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 red delicious red delicious, grated
  • 2 tbs sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or more, if you like)
  • 2 tbs toasted or raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs toasted or raw almonds, chopped
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste (don’t be shy, this really makes the salad)


After you grate the apple and cheese, and chopped the kale and almonds, combine all three in a tupperware. Add the lemon juice/vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Close the tupperware lid, and give it a shake to evenly distribute the dressing. Great with a ziplock full of homemade crackers, like my favorite spelt and flax crackers!


Secret Ingredient Creamy Artichoke and White Bean Dip

White bean and artichoke dips are such a classic. My version is heavy on the garlic, tangy from the lemon, and is super creamy and protein-dense thanks to……tah dah! You guessed it – your favorite coagulated soybean curd! Is there anything tofu can’t do?

If you aren’t particularly a fan of that characteristic tofu flavor, not to worry. You can’t taste it at all. It just lends a thick creamy texture and amped-up nutritional profile to this dip.



Note: I recommend using MoriNu tofu because it has a milder aftertaste. I have also made this dip with other tofus, including extra firm and firm ones, and it works fine! You just have to up the salt and garlic a little to cover the taste. Make sure you drain and press if you’re not using MoriNu brand, and only use about 2/3 to 3/4 of the package.


Makes about 2 cups (it goes fast!)

  • 1 can white beans (or 1.5-2 cups cooked)
  • 1 12.3-oz package MoriNu tofu, lite or regular, firm or silken (see note above)
  • 1 6.5-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts (I like Cara Mia and International Passport Specialties brands)
  • 3 plump cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp coarse sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (or juice from artichoke hearts jar)
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • optional: zest of one small lemon or a drop of lemon oil


In a food processor, add the beans, tofu, artichoke hearts and garlic, and give it a whirl!


When smooth, add the spices and lemon juice. Pulse to incorporate and adjust to taste.

Serve with fresh cut veggies, chips, crackers, etc. Also great as a sandwich spread!

Peach, Coconut, and Greens Smoothie

It all began when I was out of almond milk (gasp!), but remembered the sale on coconut milk last week at the corner store. Thank goodness for properly stocked pantries!

About the greens: I usually use spinach, or a spinach/kale combo, because spinach’s flavor blends in really well (so you can squeeze more in before the flavor starts to change). If you have a high-powered blender, kale will do wonderfully; if not, you might end up having to chew your smoothie. I’ve recently started using fresh rainbow or swiss chard, and it works great! I also found a bag of packaged “power greens” in the packaged salads section at the grocery store, containing baby bok choy, baby red/green chard, collard greens, mustard greens, and red spinach. Greens like that are a lot more flavorful (read: bitter) so I either use more banana or less greens. Play around with the amounts to suit your tastes.


Makes 2 medium-sized smoothies

  • 2-3 cups greens of your choice (see note above)
  • 1 15-0z can coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 1-2 medium ripe bananas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup peach slices (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbs orange juice concentrate (or 1/2 cup orange juice)
  • optional: 1 tbs chia seeds
  • optional: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • optional: shredded coconut for topping


Add all ingredients in a blender, with the greens first. Blend until smooth. Adjust ingredient amounts to suit your tastes. Top with shredded coconut if desired.

3 Minute Pumpkin Spice Fudge

Oh boy am I excited to share this one with you! I am fairly obsessed with all things pumpkin, and with Mexican chocolate, so this seemed like a match made in heaven. Could it get any better than a fudge recipe with less than 5 ingredients, less than 5 minutes to prepare, healthy (well, at least healthier than other fudges), and free of butter/cream/dairy, added sugar, and artificial ingredients?

Some exciting serving ideas:

  • Pumpkin Spice Fudge Frosting: increase the pumpkin puree, decrease the chocolate chips, and add a little liquid sweetener. Perfect with a vanilla spice cake!
  • Pumpkin Spice Fudge Pie: Double or tripe the recipe and use it to fill a pie crust. Top with whipped cream of course!
  • Pumpkin Spice Fudgepops: Fill popsicle molds with this recipe and freeze


Makes about 12 1-cubic inch pieces

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (to taste) and a dash of nutmeg (can substitute pumpkin pie seasoning)
  • optional topping: coconut, chopped nuts, extra cinnamon, or mini chocolate chips.


Melt the chocolate chips. [Note: It’s best to use a double boiler on a stovetop, but I usually use the microwave, which works fine as long as you’re very careful not to scorch the chocolate. My method: Heat the chips for 1 minute on high. Stir. Heat at 20 second intervals, stirring between each. After the 3rd or4th interval, the chips will be entirely melted after you stir.]

In a food processor, combine pumpkin, melted chocolate, spices, and cocoa powder. Process until smooth.

Pour into a glass dish or onto wax paper, and shape as you’d prefer. Sprinkle on any toppings you’d like.

You can enjoy it immediately, or refrigerate for a while (30 minutes or more) to allow it to firm up a bit.

I hope you like this! It turned out way better than I would have guessed. Also note, you can make a half or quarter recipe for just enough for 1 😉