…. or whoever happens to be reading this. If you have some cooked quinoa lying around and you want to eat something healthy and tasty (so often those are mutually exclusive, at least in my mind…) you could throw a couple handfuls of shredded kale (or any salady green, really) and carrots into a bowl, then heat some coconut oil in a pan and toss in the cooked quinoa, just to warm it up. Once it's warm, scrape it right from the pan into the bowl with the kale and carrots. I threw some raw sunflower seeds and coconut flakes into the pan and toasted them in the coconut oil, and added them into the bowl. I chopped up the half an apple that was in my fridge and added a good heap of goat cheese. Finally, I squeezed copious (always) amounts of lemon and drizzled some olive oil and a little fish sauce (yep) over the whole thing and tossed it all together. Finished it off with a little squeeze of orange for some sweetness (you could definitely do without, I just happened to have it). This went - completely unplanned - from a vague idea for a salad to a bona fide meal in a bowl that is totally healthy (because I just went for my first run in 3 weeks) and light-ish so you won't feel like you need to lie down for the next two hours (not that that ever happens to me).
To be honest, I have not been eating all that well lately. I mean, I eat salad as a meal at least once a week, sometimes more - but I have also been eating pizza at least once a week, sometimes more. There are days when I struggle to think of a vegetable I have consumed in the last 24 hours. Sometimes it's exhaustion (which accounted for both the Chipotle and pizza delivery that I ordered last week), and sometimes it's just circumstantial - I'm out for drinks and end up ordering chips, guacamole, queso fundido (purely hypothetical…) and suddenly that becomes dinner. I believe everything in life ebbs and flows, including my own eating habits, and I'm not one for extremes nor do I think it's productive to rake oneself over the coals for not eating well. I find eating poorly is often a byproduct of something else in my life that is out of balance or requiring attention. But the simple fact is that I FEEL better when I eat better. So I figured I would jot down this little quinoa bowl so I can refer back to it when inspiration is lacking. Really, if you have these things in the refrigerator already, it comes together in about five minutes. Which is a lot quicker than waiting for pizza delivery.
If you wanted to follow this salad with some Jasper Hill Farm Willoughby cheese on warm baguette, that would not be a bad idea at all….
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa but any kind is fine)
1 tbsp coconut oil
small handful raw sunflower seeds (or any other seed or nut you like)
small handful raw coconut chips
1/2 apple, chopped
juicy piece of goat cheese
couple handfuls of any salad green (I used green kale)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
lemon and/or orange (I used both)
Optional: maple syrup and/or minced ginger
Toss the carrots, apple, and salad greens in a bowl. Heat coconut oil in a skillet and toss in the cooked quinoa. Fry it in the coconut oil just until it is warm. Toss it into the bowl with the greens and carrots. Put sunflower seeds or nuts and coconut into skillet and heat just until lightly toasted. Add into bowl. Add the juicy piece of goat cheese and dress with lemon and/or orange (using all orange will make a sweeter dressing), olive oil, and if you wish, a drizzle of maple syrup (for a sweeter dressing) and/or some minced ginger. Dress it immediately so the goat cheese will melt a little bit from the hot quinoa and seeds and the greens will wilt a tiny bit.
Note: Adding ginger to the dressing will give it a delicious spicy kick. I also added fish sauce for a bit of depth (and because I am a weirdo and add fish sauce to most things) but you certainly need not.