WIAW: The Random Salad Chef

Like a lot of bloggers out there, I love me a good salad. Not just any lame rendition of greens and too much dressing will do, though–it’s gotta be flavorful and unique. There are a couple restaurants that actually make some pretty awesome salads (like Panera and Chipotle) and Whole Foods always has some amazing versions at their hot and cold bars but making my own almost always beats them out because I control what goes in…and I can make them huge to last for several days! Lately I’ve been feeling pretty creative when it comes to salads and I made a couple in big batches so I can enjoy them again and again. And luckily, they’re delicious enough that I want to eat them daily!

Breakfast: peanut flour chocolate chip waffle topped with sunny “raw”nola and honey vanilla agave.

I’ve been on a pancake kick lately but I’ve been wanting to switch it up so I dug out the waffle maker and decided to wing a high protein waffle. I based it off my peanut flour pancake recipeΒ and it actually turned out almost perfect. Sure, it was a little thin and crispy but I loved it, especially with a few dark chocolate chips thrown in there and topped with my sunny “raw”nola and agave.

Lunch: southwestern style pasta salad, baby carrots, half a raw brownie, fresh blueberries.

This pasta salad was not totally thought out, but it worked. It’s been hotter than hell here lately (in the upper 90s, yikes!) so I’ve been wanting chilled dinners. I boiled some quinoa pasta (I love it more than whole wheat pasta and it’s gluten free), cooled it off and mixed it with pinto beans, chopped sweet peppers, cilantro and a homemade dressing made with a little olive oil and chili lime seasoning. It made a huge batch–I had some for dinner on Sunday, lunch on Monday and I still have a ton left. Of course, I topped it with some nooch, aka my obsession and served it with a delicious raw brownieΒ that I froze, baby carrots and blueberries. Perfect summer lunch.

Pool time is where it’s at!

Kiddie pool time, that is!

Speaking of being hot, we just invested in an inflatable pool for our new backyard. My sis and I tried sitting in it for awhile on Monday but the water was a little too freezing. We ended up just settling for putting our feet in it and it helped cool us down, at least for a little while.

Snackplate: kettle corn, sweet potato multigrain chips, frozen pineapple, Chocolove coffee crunch chocolate square, maple macadamias, peanut flour paste.

Nothing crazy or new here, just a different variation on my typical snackplate.

Hopefully I wasn’t a hot mess like I felt I was…

Dinner: Moroccan quinoa salad, unpictured carrot cake smoothie.

This salad was more thought out and actually turned out pretty delicious. I dubbed it the Moroccan salad because the flavors seemed Moroccan-ish but what do I know?!

Moroccan Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup raisins, golden or regular

handful green kale, washed and patted dry

1 medium sweet potato

1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

cinnamon, hot chili powder, curry powder, sea salt (to taste)

sunflower seeds, to garnish

Place chickpeas, raisins and kale in a large bowl or container and set aside. Cook sweet potato in microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until partially cooked but still firm. Slice into thin rounds, brush with a little olive oil and some spices and place on oiled grill (or grill pan) for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato gets grill marks. Make quinoa (boil 1/2 cup of water, add in rinsed quinoa, turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes) and then stir in with chickpea mixture. Once sweet potato is cooked, chop slices into quarters and add in with chickpeas and quinoa. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, apple cider vinegar and spices until it forms a thin paste (add water if needed to thin out). Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for at least half an hour. Top with sunflower seeds. Makes 4-5 servings.

Dessert: peanut butter Puffins in almond milk, sunny “raw”nola, almond peanut cashew butter.

Cereal is the best way to end the day, obviously!

Oh, and before I forget–please keep Colorado in your thoughts and prayers. There have been way too many wildfires here within the past month and a lot of people have been displaced temporarily or even lost their homes. There are large fires burning near both of the cities I call home (my college town and my hometown) and it’s been kinda scary watching the news lately. Thanks for thinking of us!

One of the fires, only 30-ish miles from my house 😦

What’s the most random salad you’ve ever made? How have you been keeping cool (if it’s hot where you are)?

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23 thoughts on “WIAW: The Random Salad Chef

  1. First off,you’ve obviously changed a lot conerning your eating habits and that makes me super happy & proud of you,Ashley,really! πŸ™‚ Of course,you still need to increase your meals and everything,but for a start,this is wonderful already,so keep it up,please!
    I absolutely agree,by the way: When it’s hot outside,nothing beats a good salad! I love pasta salad,but potato salad is also pretty good. πŸ™‚ I usually throw random ingredients in a bowl,add some toppings,and ta-daaa – delicious! πŸ˜€
    Unfortunately,it’s rather cool here and the weather’s anything but nice,so I’m jealous looking at your pictures here… I want summeeeer! 😦

    • Awwwwww I hope the weather warms up for you soon!

      I don’t know if I’ve ever had potato salad, but I love throwing together random salads so maybe I’ll try a potato version next–maybe even sweet potato salad!

  2. Jealous of your epic inflatable pool! I’d kill for that bad boy in this Texas heat haha πŸ˜‰ Lovin the looks of that waffle too mmm
    And I’ve been praying so hard for you guys up there with the fires! A lot of my friends had to evacuate and it made me think of you! Stay safe!!!! <3<3

  3. Your quinoa salad looks delicious and the kiddie pool looks fun. I have a big pool but sometimes the kiddie ones or the cheaper ones are more fun honestly, there’s just a simplicity factor with them, I guess.

    Definitely hoping the fires get resolved soon :(.

  4. Those fires are scary! I hope they go away soon.
    I’m jealous of your food and that you got to go in a pool even if it was a kiddie pool. The weather here still thinks it’s winter.

  5. Emily says:

    Your quinoa salad sounds delicious! I love that you incorporated so many healthy, hearty ingredients. I hate when salads don’t keep me full!
    And Colorado is definitely in my prayers. It’s been warm here in LA too but nothing like that!

    PS: I’m addicted to frozen pineapple! So refreshing.

    • I hate that too, I always try to make salads with something filling so I don’t end up having to eat every hour! I’m thinking of you guys out in LA too, I know it can get so hot and dry there.

  6. I love a good salad too. The bigger the better. Your Moroccan one looks so good. I’m definitely going to have to make that for dinner pretty soon. You don’t look like a hot mess either haha I’m a total hot mess right now bc of school if you need to know what one looks like lol

  7. Ahhh I just heard about those fires today on the radio! How scary and just tragic 😦 I of course hope and pray they die down asap!
    On a happier note, the bigger a salad is the better haha, looks like a great one to me lady!

  8. Aw, I’m sorry about the wildfires! That must be so scary. All your meals sound delish! I’ve been wanting to try quinoa pasta but I’m not the biggest fan of quinoa so I’m not sure about it. I love salads that have so many toppings you don’t need a dressing πŸ™‚

    • I’m a huge quinoa lover but the pasta honestly doesn’t taste at all like quinoa to me! It’s a slightly different texture than regular pasta, but it tastes more like egg noodles from what I remember when I used to eat them!

  9. I live in Michigan and it has been HOT this past week. I like warm weather, but when it hits the 90’s it is no longer desirable. Your Quinoa Salad looks delicious. Although I’ve had Quinoa before, I’ve never cooked it. I’ve never cooked kale before either. Your recipe has encouraged me to try both!

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