Sunday Salads-Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Black Beans and Feta, with a Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

The internet has a funny way of throwing things at you. You know, you see something once and think “hmm, that doesn’t look bad” and then you see it another 40 times and at that point you just have to make it because you’ve seen it so many times and you need to get up on the trend? Even if at this point it’s far from trendy?

Well, the quinoa burrito bowl has been doing the rounds on social media lately. First I saw it on tastespotting, and then I noticed it on twitter, and by the 54th time I saw it on Pinterest I had to make it. It’s a simple thing really, quinoa, refried beans, salsa, and a little cheese on top. It took less than half an hour to make and was a very tasty simple dinner, except that Jordan all but refused to eat it.

See, Jordan likes healthy food, he does. He even likes quinoa, but he doesn’t like pretending unhealthy foods are good for you. It’s actually something we both have in common- you know, the “sugar-free-gluten-free-soya-free-vegan-cupcakes-that-totally-taste-like-they-have-nothing-delicious-in-them-and-are-trying-so-hard-to-be-something-they-aren’t” kind of things.

I tried to explain that I was simply substituting one ancient grain common in Central America for another ancient grain common in South America but he was having none of it. But men are fickle creatures.

So the next day I added all the ingredients together, made a salad with it and he ate seconds.

Like I said.


Turns out this is even better, because you can keep eating it out of the big bowl in the fridge standing up and not feel guilty about it.

This is that salad, I put a poached egg on top, because I am nearly always wanted to put a poached on top of salads but that is optional.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Tomatoes, and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette and Feta

2 cups Cooked Quinoa

1/2 cup Chopped Cherry Tomatoes

1 small can Black Beans, rinsed carefully.

1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

1 bunch Green Onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Crumbled Feta

1 Lime, zested and juiced

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika

Salt and Pepper

In medium sized bowl mix the zest, juice, paprika and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In the same bowl add in all the other ingredients and mix.

Poach an egg if that’s your style. It might be. It’s my style.  

Sunday Salads- Thai Style Coleslaw with Lime and Peanuts

Here’s the thing of it: I work almost all the time, and always at weird hours. It’s just the way my life is these days. Somedays I start at 5am and some days I finish work at midnight, which has lead me to some very strange eating patterns. Most of them involve a whole lot more sugar than I will ever admit to on this very public forum because, if we’re being real here, I’m totally unwilling to admit it to myself.

But I struggle, as I know a lot of people do, with working long hours and trying to eat vegetables at the same time. Some people, like my sister, buy their veggies pre-cut because it saves time. But you get totally subpar vegetables if they were cut 5 days ago, so I’ve resisted this, and instead, I’m getting into salads and things that aren’t full of delicate greens, but instead are full of hearty veg that stay crisp even when you dress them. The sort of salads that you can make in a big bowl and continue eating for a couple days. The kind of salad that eat with dinner on Sunday night and eat left overs for Tuesday lunch in between your baking shift and your serving shift when your too exhausted to much of anything but eat and sleep.

And if you’re that tired, as I seem to be an awful lot lately, I figure it’s better to eat coleslaw than it is to eat left over meringues. Especially if said coleslaw isn’t the Southern mayo kind, but the Asian sort, dressed in nothing but lime, soy, and peanut oil.

Thai-Style Coleslaw

1/2 head Purple Cabbage

1 bunch Green Onions

1/4 cup Cilantro

1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts, peeled

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp Peanut Oil, or other neutral oil, like Canola

1 tbsp Soy

Fish Sauce, optional, to taste.

Mix together the lime, soy, and fish sauce if using in a large bowl. Add in the oil and taste to check the seasoning. Adjust if you need it (I used a bit more soy, but I am a salt fiend…)

Thinly slice the cabbage by hand, using a mandolin, or the slicing attachment of a food processor.

Add it into the bowl with the dressing.

Thinly slice the green onions on a bias and mix them in too.

Chop the cilantro and the peanuts and put them on the top.

C’est finis, so simple, and so delicious, and it will keep getting better for about 3-4 days in the fridge.  

Sunday Salads- Squash, Black Bean and Kale Salad with Cilantro and Lime Dressing


I’m not so big on New Years resolutions. I get that they almost never work out, that they make you feel better after a December of spending too much money and eating too much food. But for the most part they are don’t stick. I understand that.

There is something though, about trying to do better. About trying to start off the year fresh, and put your best foot forward. And who am I to say that that’s for naught.

I will say though that the “I’m going to cut out sugar” or “No more gluten” are, for most of us weak willed dieters at least, not so effective. So instead of declaring something I know won’t stick I’m just saying I’m going to eat more veggies. More raw veggies to be exact.

So with that comes a new Sunday column, after all the fun I had with the Stocking Stuffer Sundays in December, that may only last through January, but who knows. Maybe my resolutions will stick this time round and Sunday Salads will stay. I’m just not quite willing to commit yet. Which might just be my problem!

Cumin Roasted Squash, Black Bean, and and Kale Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 Small firm fleshed Squash, like butternut or acorn.

1 Avacado

1 cup Black Beans, soaked and cooked or canned and drained.

1 Onion

1/3 cup Pecans

1/2 Bunch Kale

1/2 head Butter Lettuce

1 tbsp Ground Cumin


1/2 bunch Cilantro

1/2 bunch Green Onions

1 Lime

1/2 cup Neutral Oil, like Canola or Grapeseed

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425F

Thinly slice the onion and mix it with the vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt. Set aside.

Peel and cut the squash into big chunks.

Toss with the cumin, a good glug of olive oil and some salt. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until they are completely cooked through, about 45 minutes.

In a food processor, a blender, or a boil with a hand blender mix together the cilantro, onions, lime juice, mustard and oil. It will all blend into a thick and creamy sauce. If you don’t have a food processor don’t worry, you can chop the cilantro and onions and mix in the liquid ingredients. The dressing won’t be creamy but it will still be delicious. I promise! Taste and check the seasoning and add more lime or salt if you’d like.

Gently pull the kale leaves off of the stem, you want the frilly edges without the tough fibrous veins. Wash these lovely leaves with the butter lettuce.

When the squash is finished cooking put it on a large plate. Mix the dressing with the kale, butter lettuce, black beans, and onion.

Slice the avocado and place on the top and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.

Grilled Spot Prawns with a Thai Mango Salad

In Italy they celebrate the first asparagus with festivals all over the country (though I’m told especially in Veneto), ringing in the first of the local produce after a long winter of root vegetables and grains. I remember being told that in cooking school and feeling a little left out, a little cast to the side that we didn’t have these traditions, that my deep and very self important 19 year old self had missed something important. That some deep rooted cultural practise that I believed in had just passed me by because I lived in Canada.

And while that was many things, self indulgent definitely among them, it’s also not true. We may not have the long standing history of it, but Vancouver has spot prawns. And with them the Spot Prawn Festival.

I didn’t really realize before I moved to Vancouver that seafood is just as seasonal as produce, but it makes sense once you think about it. If you want the best salmon in BC you wait until mid-late summer, you’ll catch the fattiest trout in the fall, but of all seafood nothing is as seasonal as the spot prawn.

They are the first things out of the water in the Spring, big prawns that are bright coral and marked with two namesake white dots on their tails. They are tender beyond any shrimp or prawn I’ve ever had and they have an unmistakably sweet flavour. You have probably seen them in Asian supermarkets swimming around, or on Japanese menus as “ama-ebi” or sweet shrimp, but the taste of them fresh from the water is a completely different experience.

They are also one of the only sustainable shrimp/prawn fisheries in the world, and we are incredibly lucky not only to have these glorious little guys swimming around our local waters but also to have a sustainable fish shop 2 blocks away from our apartment.

Now, spot prawns are not cheap, they cost a pretty penny, so these are not for everyday, at least not on my budget (they average around $15 a pound!) but they are worth buying a few every Spring to celebrate.

I made a light dinner of them the other day, with a simple Thai inspired mango salad and grilled the prawns until just they are just barely cooked. With a cold beer, you’d be hard pressed to find a better summer meal!

Grilled Spot Prawns with Thai Mango Salad

*If you can’t get spot prawns you can make this with any shrimp, but fresh and local will make a difference in the taste if you can get them. 

Thai Mango Salad

1 philipine Mango (you can use Chinese mangos too, but the Phillipine ones are less fibrous, and often cheaper!)

1/2 a Cucumber

1/4 Red Onion

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp Sambal Olek or other Asian chili garlic oil

2 tbsp Peanut or Canola Oil

Handful of cilantro and mint.

Spot Prawns

10 Prawns, head off

Zest of 1 Lime

1 tbsp Sambal Olek or other Asian chili garlic oil

1 tbsp Peanut or Canola Oil

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and marinade for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile make the salad.

Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sambal and oil in a bowl. On a rasp grate the ginger and garlic and mix it in. Check for seasoning, it should be quite strong- the lime, sambal and fish sauce should jump out at you!

Thinly slice the onion and add to the dressing.

Peel the mango with a peeler. Throw out the peel, then continue to use the peeler to get nice thin strips of the fruit. Add to the bowl.

Cut the cucumber in half and use the peeler to make thin strips of it. You could use a mandoline here if you wanted to, but then you’d have to wash it after, so I just use the peeler.

Mix this all together- this can sit for about an hour like this, but don’t add the herbs until your just about to serve it.

For the prawns- Heat your BBQ, grill pan, or saute pan until it’s blazing hot. Your only going to cook the prawns for about a minute each side, and your going to be taking the shells off, so you want to impart as much flavour into the meat as possible. If the edges get a little black it’s a good thing.

Once your surface is scorching hot put the prawns out in a single layer and let them cook for 1 minute each side and then flip. Once they’re starting to curl up, the edges are getting colored and they have turned bright coral your in business, take them off right away.

Mix your herbs into the salad, place half of it on each plate and put 5 prawns per plate. Poor yourself a beer and dig in!