Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

I cannot believe it has been a week since Melbourne Cup, as the year goes on time just seems fly by! To celebrate Melbourne Cup at work we all brought in a dish to enjoy for lunch whilst watching the race. I hope you backed a winner!

I made this roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto as it caters for almost all dietary requirements as it’s gluten free, vegan, dairy free and can be made nut free by swapping the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds in the pesto.

Basil pesto

My very first post was a quinoa salad (actually, very similar to this one) and remembered how delicious it was. It’s really the perfect dish as it feeds a lot of people, it’s very tasty and you can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

I added lemon juice to the pesto as it lends a freshness to this otherwise heavier salad due to the roasted vegetables.

Salad ready to be served!

This salad will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetables (I used carrot, sweet potato, red and green capsicum, potato, pumpkin and zucchini), all thoroughly washed and diced*
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2 cups basil, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup macadamia oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place vegetables onto baking paper and coat with just enough coconut oil.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.
  4. Place basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and garlic in the food processor. Process until everything is combined. Slowly add macadamia oil (you may not need 1/8 cup) and continue to process until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix together the cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables and spinach leaves in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Fold through the pesto and mix until the quinoa and vegetables have all been coated. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If you like to keep the skin on your vegetables (like me) ensure they are washed thoroughly to remove all the dirt
  • This is delicious when topped with hummus and sliced avocado!
  • I doubled the recipe for Melbourne Cup and it served 10 people easily
  • If you don’t use all the pesto, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days!

What’s your favourite dish to bring to a friend’s party/work function?

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Since Sunday I have been down in Melbourne as I am completing an internship for three weeks as part of my university studies! As I’m a self-confessed foodie I have already been sampling the delicious food Melbourne has to offer. So, I thought I’d share some meals with you..

Vegan shepherd’s pie with salad and chutney!

I enjoyed this gluten free vegan shepherd’s pie from The Organic Food and Wine Deli in Degraves St Melbourne CBD, for lunch on my first day. It was absolutely delicious and really reasonably priced!

Delicious dinner at Mamasita’s!

I caught up with a good friend at Mamasita’s, Collins St Melbourne CBD, last night for dinner. Although there was about a 30 minute wait to be seated, I believe it was well worth it. We enjoyed their signature corn, a taco each (I chose the fish) and their chickpea fritters – these were my favourite of the night! The entire restaurant is gluten free, yet the most surprising part was the bill. All of this only cost us $20 each – such great value! I highly recommend eating here, but do be prepared to queue!

So now onto the recipe…

As I’m working 9-5 days I’m experiencing what it really is like having to cook after a busy day at work. I believe the words ‘simpler is better’ are very appropriate to use here!

Chopped vegetables

This salad is very simple and you can basically use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Cooking away

The quinoa and chickpeas add an element of protein to this filling salad.

A little tip – cook a lot of quinoa on Sunday and store it in a sealed container so you can add it to dishes throughout the first part of the week!

Simple, healthy dinner

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days – perfect to take for lunch the next day!

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 eggplant, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 3 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup rocket, washed
  • 3 TBSP hummus
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place a large frypan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
  2. Add in carrot, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, broccoli and mushrooms, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add cooked quinoa, cumin and chickpeas to vegetables. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Stir through rocket, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with hummus.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: goat cheese would work really well with this salad!

As I’m down in Melbourne for three weeks, I welcome any suggestions from you for healthy cafes/restaurants for me to try!

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

I often draw inspiration from looking into the fridge to see what ingredients have to be used up. Today it was zucchinis so I decided to make fritters for lunch.

These fritters can be enjoyed for breakfast with poached eggs, for lunch with a fresh salad or even as a light snack.

Making ‘flax eggs’

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that a flax egg is what vegans use as a substitute for eggs. It’s also a great source of omega 3s and acts as a binding agent. If you don’t have flaxseed meal, you can use 3 eggs instead for the fritters.

One bowl wonder!

I try to keep my cooking as simple as possible by using only one mixing bowl and mixing all the ingredients at once. This also cuts down on the amount of washing up!

All well combined

Once mixed, the ingredients all come together to create a fairly wet mixture. Don’t be alarmed by this as it helps to keep the fritters moist.

Frying away…

To make sure the fritters stayed together when cooking, I rolled them into balls then flattened them in the frypan. Once cooked they take on a beautiful golden colour.

Cumin coconut yoghurt

The cumin coconut yoghurt really adds a contrasting flavour to the fritters. I love how the earthiness of the cumin really brings out the freshness of the mint. If you don’t have coconut yoghurt, you can use full fat natural yoghurt instead.

All stacked up!

These fritters will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

Makes 20 small fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis, washed and grated
  • 3 TBSP flaxseed meal
  • 9 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped
  • 6 TBSP buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • Coconut oil for frying

Method:

  1. Place flaxseed meal and water in a bowl and set aside to thicken for 5-7 minutes to make a ‘flax egg’.
  2. Mix grated zucchinis, ‘flax egg’, chia seeds, mint, buckwheat flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of coconut oil.
  4. Form mixture into small balls and flatten in the frying pan.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all mixture is cooked.
  6. Mix coconut yoghurt and cumin together.
  7. Serve fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt and enjoy!

What do you like to eat with zucchini fritters?

Vegan spelt pizza

I love having pizza nights. There’s something so enjoyable about getting friends together, making pizzas and watching movies.

This spelt pizza is a healthy, vegan alternative to the traditional pizzas. Please don’t let the term ‘vegan’ deter you from making it. Vegan basically means it does not contain any animal products e.g. eggs, honey, chicken, goat cheese, etc. However, feel free to add some chicken or lamb as toppings if you’d like some animal protein!

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients

What I really like about spelt flour is it’s very filling, but surprisingly doesn’t make you feel heavy.

Finished kneading, ready for rolling!

It’s important to knead the dough as this helps it to come together and makes it easier to roll out.

Ready to be baked

I baked this before adding the toppings as this ensured it was properly cooked.

All toppings on

I love the combination of earthy basil pesto and zesty cashew cheese – they really complement each other.

Dinner is served!

This pizza will keep in the fridge for up to four days in a sealed container. Reheat in the oven at 180C/350F for 10 minutes or enjoy cold!

Spelt pizza

Makes 1 large pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour, extra for flouring surface
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia oil
Toppings (feel free to adapt to suit your tastebuds)
  • Basil pesto
  • Cashew nut cheese – place in a ziplock bag, cut off one corner and squeeze to pipe the cheese on top
  • Red onion, washed and chopped
  • Zucchini, washed and chopped
  • Spinach leaves, washed
  • Asparagus, washed and chopped
  • Pumpkin, washed and chopped
  • Mushroom, washed and sliced
  • Broccolini, washed and chopped
  • Red capsicum, washed and chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line baking tray or pizza tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the spelt flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Combine ingredients gradually, be careful not to over mix.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes, until smooth.
  5. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness and place on prepared tray and into oven.
  6. Bake spelt base for 10 minutes then removed from oven.
  7. Place pesto, then toppings of your choice, finishing with cashew nut cheese.
  8. Place into oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top.
  9. Slice to serve and enjoy!

What are your favourite pizza toppings?