Festive Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Nothing beats a delicious and healthy side dish that is easy to prepare and is full of fall flavours!

This simple and elegant quinoa salad makes a great main dish or served along side chicken, fish or a holiday roasted turkey!

In this quick video below, I show you how to easily prepare this dish!




  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 bunch chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cups dried cranberries
  • Mustard greens
  • Chopped parsley

Dressing Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbp olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • Herbs of choice (I used oregano)

Add all ingredients to cooled and cooked quinoa. Add dressing and mix well.


Health & Abundance,

Samantha 🙂

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Cheesy, Gooey, Delicious Gluten Free Mac n’ Cheese for Meatless Monday

I love the food network! If you’re a foodie like me I’m sure you love it too! The other day I caught an episode of Eat St; a show dedicated to fun and hip food trucks preparing out of this world food, like Mac Genie. A food truck serving up unique mac n’ cheese dishes that everyone swoons to during their lunch hour in Indianapolis! So being the nutritionista that I am, I had to find a way to healthify the mac n cheese! I’ve managed to healthify this dish before, serving it up with creamy butternut squash, recipe here. But this time, I wanted a quick version. A stove top version! So here it is, a cheesy gooey mac n’cheese that is quick to prepare and will have your whole family asking for seconds!

Nutritionista Rant – dairy is not a part of my daily ‘diet’ and it is truly a cheat for me. I must admit, I love cheese. I grew up eating cheese! But now, I have a hard time digesting it and so I eat it sparingly. When I do opt for cheese, I choose a top quality organic local cheese. I’m not a fan of vegan cheeses, as I’ve had some really bad reactions to most brands and I would much rather eat the real deal. I always take a digestive enzyme before eating cheese or ‘heavier’ meals to help breakdown carbs, fats and proteins and aid in digestion.

ImageMac n’ Cheese


1 package (227g) gluten free macaroni from GoGo Quinoa, cooked al dente
1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (organic soy, coconut or almond will work)
1 cup organic gruyere, shredded
1 cup organic cheddar, shredded
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp smoked hot paprika
sea salt and pepper

Breadcrumb Topping


1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (or panko-not gluten free, or brown rice flakes pulsed in a food processor)
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves
sea salt and pepper


Add all breadcrumb toppings into a food processor. Pulse until combined. Set aside.

Cook pasta al dente (semifirm), approximately 10-12 mins. While pasta is cooking, heat milk on a stove top pan on low heat. Add in thyme and bay leaf, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes. Add in additional spices, half the cheese and stir frequently until cheese is almost completely melted. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Once pasta is cooked, drain, rinse under cold water and pour into a baking dish (I used an 8×8 brownie pan as I did not have a small enough baking pan. It worked great! I oiled it up with olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking). Pour milk and cheese mixture over pasta. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and broil under low for approximately 5-6 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

And there you have it! A simple, tasty and quick mac n’ cheese that is great served along side a mixed green salad.

Happy Meatless Monday!

Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂 xoxo




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Sweet Potato and Kale Quinoa Patties for Meatless Monday!

Powerhouse ingredients make up this incredible recipe! Actually, 3 of my most favourite foods, sweet potato, kale and quinoa! These hearty patties are filling and make a great substitute for a traditional burger. Their great as a breakfast pattie, a side for lunch, or a main at dinner- absolutely versatile. Next time I think I’ll try more savoury herbs instead of a curry kick, such as oregano, rosemary or thyme. Feel free to experiment with different spices and herbs and come up with your own concoction! Enjoy!

IMG_3221 Quinoa Patties


1 tsp coconut or olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 carrot, shredded

2 cups kale, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup cooked sweet potato

1 cup organic canned adzuki beans, rinsed

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp curry powder

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and kale, sauté for an additional 4 minutes.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree beans and yam.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Measure into 1/3 cup portions and press into patties*.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

* Make into bigger patties for a burger substitute


Health & Abundance,

Samantha xoxo

Recipe adapted from – http://myvega.com/blog/2013/celebrate-international-year-quinoa



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Super Food Quinoa Porridge and Curried Butternut Squash Soup to Start off Your Week!

Nothing beats starting your day with an incredibly nourishing bowl of goodness! Now I know most people like a “quick” breakfast in the morning before rushing out the door to work, but I can’t stress the importance of eating a nutritious and healthy breakfast to fuel your cells and energize your body! You can pre cook the quinoa in this recipe below the night before to get a head start in the morning and simply warm up the remaining ingredients in the am and nosh down this superfood porridge before heading off to work! Served with an antioxidant rich green tea, you’ll be super charged to start your day! Enjoy!

Superfood Quinoa Porridge


1 cup cooked quinoa (use only ½ cup when serving this recipe and the rest for leftovers)
1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp goji berries
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tsp sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped almonds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut butter
ground cinnamon


Heat blueberries over medium heat in coconut oil and butter. Add remaining ingredients, top with cinnamon and stir. Serve over cooked quinoa.




Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Notice how I’m all about warming foods as the weather gets a little chilly? Well this soup will warm you to the core! Loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants, this soup is perfect for the cold winter months.


1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder (use less or more, depending on preference)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp coconut oil
vegetable broth and/or water
sea salt and pepper
walnuts, chopped, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, saute onion in coconut oil for a few minutes. Once onion has softened, add garlic, spices, salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 1 minute. Add butternut squash and cover with vegetable broth or water. Add just enough liquid to cover the squash. Cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is soft and cooked through. Transfer to a blender and puree soup. Transfer back to pot. Time to taste test! Feel free to add additional spices if necessary. I always tend to add more cinnamon at the end. Serve with chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Happy Monday Everyone!
Hope your Monday is off to a healthy start!

Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂



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Kale and Quinoa Salad and Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes for Meatless Monday

Quinoa is truly one of my all time favourite ‘grains’ and pretty much the only grain that I eat regularly. I know I’ve posted many quinoa recipes on my site, but I just can’t get enough of this super nutritious protein packed goodness! Quinoa is so versatile; you can make it sweet or savoury, serve it hot or cold or make an incredible vitamin packed salad, like I did today! It’s a perfect salad to go along side any dish, and is packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and of course flavour! Best part, it takes no time to make! Enjoy!

Kale and Quinoa Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 large kale leaves, sliced into ribbons
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients together in a large salad bowl and serve with dressing recipe below.

3-4 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, mashed
Herbamare, to season


Combine all ingredients together in a mason jar. Shake and let sit for 20 mins to infuse oil with garlic and herbs. Pour over salad.

Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes
This is a simple and delicious side dish and a perfect way to spice up sweet potato!

1 large sweet potato or garnet yam (1 1/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
herbamare, to season
1 lime, halved
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potato and onion on baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, chili flakes and herbamare. Roast 45 minutes or until desired texture is reached. Be sure to toss halfway through cooking time. Remove vegetables from oven; squeeze juice lime juice over top, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Happy Meatless Monday Everyone!

Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂



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Black Bean Quinoa Burgers and Chocolate Raspberry Almond Smoothie for Meatless Monday

I got so excited when I saw this black bean burger recipe from Vegetarian Times land in my inbox, I just had to try it! It’s not often that I make veggie burgers but since I had all ingredients on hand, I couldn’t resist. They turned out delicious…and best part is, I made a second dish with them the following day! One recipe, two dishes! Can’t go wrong with that! Hope you enjoy!

Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers
I topped these burgers with hummus, dijon mustard, red onion and kale. It was the perfect combo!

½ cup quinoa
1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)
1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. dried steak seasoning, or any seasoning you prefer
8 gluten free hamburger buns


1. Stir together quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in small saucepan, and season with sea salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in 3/4 cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer 10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining 3/4 cup quinoa and remaining 3/4 cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (1/2 cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.


Black Bean & Quinoa Bowl
I decided to mix these burgers with some leftover quinoa and kale for a delicious lunch the following day! It was delicious. In a large non stick pan, I sautéed 2 cups chopped kale, with 1 black bean burger, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, and 1 tbsp pesto.
Chocolate Raspberry Almond Smoothie

I was craving something chocolatey and so I decided to blend together some raw cacao with raspberries, almond butter and other goodness for this delicious treat! Feel free to add fresh strawberries as well!

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 tsp maca powder
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp organic ground vanilla
3-4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender. Enjoy!

Happy Meatless Monday!

Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂

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Spinach & Quinoa Soup & Flu Busting Juice for Meatless Monday!

I’ve been hit by the flu bug! And nothing cures a flu better than soup…and lots of supplements and rest, which I did plenty of! I have a list of soups that I love to cook, and considering this cold weather is dragging on longer than I’d like, I just may have to cook up some soup a little more frequently these next few weeks! Below is a recipe I scored from Chatelaine magazine that is loaded with nutrients and plant based protein. And if you’re trying to get rid of some sniffles, add some cayenne, chill flakes or tabasco to your soup for some extra “clear your sinuses” zing! Enjoy!

Picture from Chatelaine magazine

Spinach & Quinoa Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/3 cup dry quinoa
2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth
1 425g can eden organic white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cups baby spinach

Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add oil, then onion. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 min. Add carrot, garlic, cumin, coriander and quinoa. Cook for 2 more min. Pour in broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, until quinoa is cooked, about 15 more min. Stir in beans and spinach. Cook until beans are hot and spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 more min. Serve immediately. No need to chop the spinach . Just toss it into the simmering soup and it wilts perfectly.

Vitamin C Flu Busting Juice
This juice is loaded with vitamin C which is great for colds and flus! You’ll also get an amazing dose of nutritive phytonutrients, such as lycopene and glucarates, thanks to the oh-so-tart grapefruit! These phytonutrients help fight cancer and various diseases, so drink up!




1 grapefruit
1 orange
half a lemon
1-2 inch piece ginger root

Press all ingredients through a juicer in the order listed above.

Happy Meatless Monday!

Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂



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My Belated Meatless Monday Recipe- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

OK quinoa lovers, I’ve got another easy and delicious quinoa recipe for you!! I brought this dish to a BBQ the other day and it was quite the hit! It’s super easy to make and is definitely a crowd pleaser; and let’s not forget, it’s healthy too!


1 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups quinoa
Half cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 of medium sized red onion, diced
2 stems green onion, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives
1 cup goat’s feta, crumbled (optional)


1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Dried oregano and mint ( use according to preference)
Dash of herbamare (optional)

Mix all ingredients into a glass jar, shake and leave in fridge for 1 hr


Bring vegetable broth and water to a boil. Add quinoa, turn heat to medium- low and boil for 12-15 minutes, until quinoa is translucent in color.
Meanwhile, chop and dice all vegetables and add to a bowl. Once quinoa is cooled, add quinoa to veggies and stir. Garnish with olives and cheese, pour in dressing, mix and serve.

**Note- I used approx 1 1/2 cup of quinoa for this recipe and used the remaining for breakfast! I mixed chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, chopped dried apricot, sprinkled some cinnamon and drizzled maple syrup over the quinoa to make a delicious Quinoatmeal! Yum!!


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Meatless Mondays Week 6!!

6 weeks into Meatless Mondays……..are you still hanging in there?? Meatless Monday’s have actually become second nature to me and writing my Monday blogs helps me to prepare for my meatless feast. I tend to overcook on Monday and so I end up eating vegetarian all day Tuesday as well! I’m not complaining! Especially around this time of year, I gravitate towards more vegetables anyhow. So…let’s get on with a delicious meatless recipe using one of my favorite ingredients, Quinoa!

Southwestern Quinoa
This recipe has the right amount of heat and great texture! Quinoa is truly a nutritional powerhouse, containing potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber and a balance of essential amino acids making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods! Best of all, this super grain is Gluten Free!! Yippeee!


1/2 poblano pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 small crookneck squash
4 large garlic cloves
1 cup boiling water
6 sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 cup cooked blacked beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup minced cilantro leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


Roast the poblano and bell peppers, squash, and garlic on a baking sheet at 350 for 20 minutes, then peel and finely chop them (you don’t need to peel the squash). Pour the boiling water over the sun-dried tomatoes and soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain and finely chop after rehydrating.
Place the quinoa in an ultra-fine strainer and run under water. (If the strainer isn’t fine enough, the quinoa may slip through the holes.)
In a medium saucepan, mix together the quinoa, vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, and oregano (rub between fingers to release flavor); bring to a boil over high heat, then turn to low heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the grain has soaked up the broth. Meanwhile, place pine nuts on a roast pan and slightly toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 300. Remove quinoa from the burner and place in an appropriate-sized bowl; toss with olive oil. Immediately add all other ingredients, including the roasted vegetables, and pine nuts, and toss. Serve warm.


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