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Quinoa Salad with Walnuts and Currants

Quinoa Salad with Walnuts and Currants (1)

Once the temperature starts going above 30C and there is a heat and humidity warning, we mostly eat raw or cold foods, even for dinner. I love making a variety of salads using anything from chicken to roasted red peppers to quinoa and we never get bored.

Quinoa salads are the perfect hot weather food because it takes very little time to cook the quinoa and the salad can be prepared early in the morning when it’s still cool and enjoyed for dinner; the leftovers make for a great lunch to bring to work too.

I am always inspired when I visit other blogs and when I came across this bulgur salad, I knew I had to make it right away; I tried both bulgur and quinoa versions and we loved them. Here is my version of this fragrant, refreshing, healthy and delicious salad. 

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • 2 ¼ cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup currants
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup mint leaves

  • ¼ cup walnut oil or olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt to taste
Wash the quinoa and drain, place in a medium sauce pan with water and bay leaf, season with salt and bring it to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, add the currants, fluff with a fork and let it cool to room temperature, discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing in a large bowl by mixing the juice and zest of a lemon, walnut oil and a little salt. Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl, mix in the walnuts, scallions and finally the chopped mint leaves.

Serve at room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Double Coconut Granola

Double Coconut Granola

This is by far the easiest and quickest granola recipe I’ve ever made. It has shredded coconut, oats, coconut oil and some agave nectar to sweeten it. I normally use all sorts of different grains and seeds, soak them, substitute pureed pumpkin or apple sauce for the oil and I also like to use sweet baking spices such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves but this time I kept it very simple and I am so glad I did. You really get to taste the coconut and not a blend of strong sweet spices and since there is very little liquid added to the mixture, it bakes relatively quickly.

It’s important to stir the oat mixture so it bakes evenly and once it looks done, let it set in baking tray until it has cooled completely, store in a jar or airtight container.

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 tbsp agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
  • Dried fruits (optional)

Double Coconut Granola

Preheat the oven to 300F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet, bake the granola stirring every once or twice for about 20 minutes or until the mixture looks almost dry and golden brown.

Let the granola cool in the baking sheet and transfer to a jar until ready to serve.

Serve with yogurt, milk or coconut milk and dried fruits of choice.

Double Coconut Granola


Sprouted Green Pea Salad

Sprouted Green Pea Salad (1)

I love grocery shopping; I can spend hours in a health food store. I also love to buy new ingredients and experiment. What I find interesting is that people come up and talk to me when I grocery shop, they give me recipes, recommend products and I love that. Often my husband will ask me if I know the person and my answer is usually ‘no’.

A few months ago, I was getting seeds to sprout and a very nice lady approached me and told me about these green peas, so I got a little package and gave it a try. She was right, they are great. The small dry peas double in size when they are soaked and turn bright green. The sprouting takes about two days and because they are sprouted, they cook very quickly.

I like to sprout the peas but the salad can be made with soaked and cooked peas as well. I try to sprout most of our seeds, beans, grains and nuts, if you are interested, you can find everything there is to know about sprouting here.

  • 1 cup dried green peas
  • ½ small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt
  • ½ -1 cup mint leaves
  • 3-4 scallions, finely chopped

Sprouted Green Pea Salad (2)

Wash the peas in cold water, soak them overnight, drain and rinse, transfer to a jar or the sprouter of your choice. If you are using a jar, make sure it’s large enough to hold about twice the amount of peas. Place a piece of plastic or cloth mesh screens and secure it with a mason jar lid or a rubber band.

Rinse the peas thoroughly every 12 hours, drain them and place the jar in a large bowl that still allows air circulation but drains off the excess water, store the jar in a dark place. It takes 3-4 wash and drain cycles to sprout peas, depending on the temperature of the room.

Once the peas have sprouted, transfer them to a medium pot; add a bay leaf and the onion. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the peas are very tender.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing in a large bowl by mixing the lemon juice, sea salt and the olive oil, set aside. Check the peas for doneness, most of the skins will rise to the top, remove those with a slotted spoon, drain the peas, remove the bay leaf and the onion quarters and toss in the dressing while they are still hot, let them cool a little, tear the mint leaves with your fingers and add to the peas along with the chopped scallions, serve at room temperature or cold.

Sprouted Green Pea Salad (3)


Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

My friend Ellie from Home Cooking in Montana told me about gluten-free quinoa chocolate cake recipe and I knew I had to try it right away as it is the case with all of her recipes and suggestions. Ellie is an amazing cook and baker; I strongly recommend you visit her blog.

Now, about the cake, the batter has the usual cake ingredients but doesn’t include any grain or nut flour, instead, cooked quinoa is used and surprisingly the taste or the texture of the quinoa cannot be detected.

I made quite a few changes to the recipe; I also took Ellie’s advice and reduced the amount of butter, sugar and cocoa. I started by reducing the amount of butter and substituting it with virgin coconut oil, I omitted the milk and used agave nectar instead of the sugar and baked it in a 9 inch cake pan and served it with toasted shaved coconut instead of frosting it.

Even after reducing the cocoa from 1 cup to 2/3 of a cup, the cocoa flavour still dominates the cake, so I recommend using a high quality cocoa.

One last thing, although this step is definitely optional and does not change the taste or the texture of the cake, if you have time, soak the quinoa overnight, the little grains will start to sprout and that significantly increases its nutritional profile.

Adapted from Patricia Green via Babble

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil or melted butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F; line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper, grease the sides with coconut oil or butter, set aside.

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, reduce to heat to a simmer and cook until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, fluff with a fork and set it aside.

In a blender or food processor mix 2 cups of cooked quinoa, eggs, agave nectar and coconut oil for 10-15 seconds; add the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, process for another 20-25 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, frost if desired.

Refrigerate the cake for up to a week or freeze. I sliced the cake and froze, it tasted delicious when defrosted.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake


Beef and Chestnut Stew

Beef and Chestnut Stew

The weather dictates our menus. Living in Montreal, we can only survive the winter with lots of soups, stews and slow cooked meals on the stove or in the oven while over the hot and terribly humid days of summer require lots of salad and refreshing dairy or fruit based cool desserts.

Spring and fall can be tricky though, just last week, the temperatures started rising and I started making my classic spring dishes and a few short days later, it felt like winter was right back. Cold, windy, dark and rainy days are perfect for a hearty stew. I was planning on making a simple meat stew but then the roasted, peeled and packaged chestnuts sitting in the pantry caught my attention. Chestnuts are one of my favorite ingredients both for sweet and savoury dishes and not having to wash, cut, roast and peel them makes weeknight dinner preparation a lot easier.

  • 1 ½ lbs. steaks cut into cubes or stewing beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cups pearl onions, peeled (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups roasted, peeled chestnuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, brown the meat on all sides, transfer to a plate, add the onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, add the bell pepper and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, return the meat to the pot, add the tomatoes and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, simmer over medium low heat until the meat is tender, add the pearl onions and chestnuts, continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve piping hot with crusty sourdough bread and a salad.