First of all let me express my excitement and honour in being able to share my thoughts and recipes through such an amazing outlet. Thank you Sarafino!
Just a quick little introduction – my name is Adriana, I am a wife and a mother to two wonderful and mostly-lacto-ovo-vegetarian children. I write a blog (The Family Standard Blog) and also make custom baked goods for trusting friends and family in my spare time (Good to the Last Crumb). In April 2012, my family and I became weekday vegetarians, and we haven’t looked back. We now also eat a lot of vegan meals (often by accident). I believe very strongly in sitting down every night to eat together as a family, and I also believe that my children should eat what I make. In short, we don’t have a freezer full of “chicken” fingers. While I stick to this belief, it doesn’t always make for an easy dinner time, but I hope that by introducing them to different ingredients, strong cheeses, and all sorts of vegan and now gluten-free baking, that I am opening their minds and their palettes to the limitless possibilities of food.
My children used to complain that they wanted meat all the time. But lately, there haven’t been any complaints about wanting meat, and there has been a drastic decline in how much they eat it when they are allowed to. I knew vegetarianism was clicking with them when they passed on chicken wings which I will admit were delicious. There are few things I still can’t resist (the occasional piece of bacon for example or a chicken wing here and there), but it makes me happy to see that even on a Saturday and Sunday, my children no longer feel the need to eat meat to feel satisfied. They prefer cheese pizza to pepperoni, small steps for them, but to me, huge victories. They are opening themselves up to new and stronger flavours, like those in the salad I made this past week.
Roasted vegetable quinoa salad – inspired by a lunch date I had with my mom a few weeks ago. I knew the second the dish arrived to my seat that this was going to be a good lunch, something I would want to try at home. I am constantly on the look out for new ideas for dishes to cook at home. I frequent the library, write frantically while watching America’s Test Kitchen, and am forever on the internet searching for interesting vegan and vegetarian recipes. But sometimes my best inspiration comes from the dish I’m about to dig into in a new restaurant. The recipes don’t always turn out exactly like the original, but it often gets me thinking outside of my normal flavour combinations and using new ingredients and almost always results in something remarkable.
Roasting the vegetables with a little bit of cinnamon makes them delightfully savoury and your house will smell amazing.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 turnip, peeled and cup into 1 cm cubes
Sprinkling of salt and pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1-2 radishes sliced as thin as you can (almost so they are transparent)
1/2 cucumber, sliced into quarters
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
1/3 cup dried cherries
1 Tbsp honey
Juice of a half a lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Hummus and Plain Greek Yogurt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the cubed vegetables on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until nicely tender without being dark. Allow to cool.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast the quinoa for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cooled roasted vegetables and quinoa to a large bowl, and add the radishes, cucumber, green onions, toasted almonds and dried cherries. Season with the dressing and then add a dollop of hummus and plain greek yogurt on top. A few days in the fridge will help the flavours of this salad meld nicely together.