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 recipe 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 brownie 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)?