Amanda’s goddess-power bowl – eat, love and thrive


amanda's goddess power bowl.jpg

My friend, Amanda, is an amazing woman and a goddess-in-waiting. She runs a healthy, whole-foods meal delivery service – MVP meals – as well as a food stand at our local farmers’ market. This week, I helped her put on a set vegan menu for a special event. For my lunch break she whipped up one of her Zen Buddha Bowls for me. Because the original Buddha bowl isn’t vegan, Amanda had to make some substitutions and deletions for me.

So I’ve created a vegan version of the dish and it’s colourful, nourishing, satisfying, and amazing… a lot like spending time with Amanda.

orange tahini dressing

Ingredients to make 2 big bowls

For the power bowl

3-4 cups spinach leaves, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 cup blueberries washed and dried

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa or 3/4 cup cooked quinoa

¾ cup cooked chickpeas (about ½ can drained and rinsed)

1 carrot cleaned and made into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

OR use one raw beet, peeled and grated

1 large navel orange washed but not peeled

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

For the dressing

1 Tablespoon orange zest (from the navel orange)

1/3 cup tahini

1/3 cup plain vegan yogurt

2 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dijon mustard

Pinch sea salt

Juice of ½ lemon


For the power bowls

Rinse the quinoa and put it in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then let the quinoa simmer covered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool down to at least room temperature.

Use a knife to peel the orange you grated for its zest. Peel the orange so that all the bitter, white pith is removed and cut the orange into bite-sized segments.

Place half the spinach in one large bowl and the other half of the spinach in a second large bowl.

Divide the remaining power bowl ingredients between the two large bowls.

For the dressing

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and serve drizzled over the power bowls.

Eat, enjoy! Go forth and be amazing!




Millet and quinoa porridge with fruit

milletporridgeblueberry.jpgYou are looking at a photo of a happy accident. Last week I meant to cook up a big pot of quinoa. I accidentally mixed millet with the quinoa and ended up with a big pot of rather bland porridge. A few spices and some fruit and the porridge was easily rejuvenated into a delicious, nutritious and energizing breakfast.

If you haven’t tried millet, I strongly encourage you to do so. Yes, it’s essentially birdseed, but it’s also a delicious, mild-tasting nutrition powerhouse packed with fibre, protein, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6.


½ cup quinoa – rinsed but not cooked

½ cup millet

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup plant-based milk (sweetened or unsweetened, even vanilla flavour, as you prefer)

1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar (or more to taste)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

A pinch of cardamom

½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Cook the quinoa and millet in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.

You can eat this porridge hot or cold and it’ll last for a few days in the fridge.

I topped my porridge with diced peaches, a drizzle of warmed blueberries (heat them in the microwave until they’re soft or in a small pan with a squeeze of lemon over low heat) and walnuts.

Here are some other combos to consider:


  • Mango, kiwi, coconut and macadamia nuts
  • Pears, a dash of cloves and pecans
  • Bananas, apricots and pistachios
  • Plums, cherries and hazelnuts
  • Pureed pumpkin, raisins, pumpkin seeds and walnuts and a sprinkle of nutmeg



Mango coconut quinoa


This dish is so simple and easy yet tasty beyond belief. It has it all – chewy, crunchy, savoury, sweet and loaded with nutrients to fuel you through the day. It’s also one of my favourite lunches to tote to work.


1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 mango – peeled and diced

1 red pepper – diced

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup fresh or frozen edamame (let the edamame thaw if you use frozen)

1/3 cup almond slivers toasted

1/3 cup diced onion (red onion makes for a prettier salad)

The zest of two limes

¼ cup balsamic vinegar*

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Rinse and cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. When the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork and let it cool. You can do this step ahead of time – even the day before.

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. I like to let the dish sit for an hour in the fridge to let the flavours blend before serving.

Makes 4 meal-size servings.

*I have a coconut balsamic vinegar that I used in this recipe. If you’re into flavoured vinegars, this is a great dish to experiment with some of the different flavours.

Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa pilaf


I love this dish. It’s simultaneously elegant enough for company dinners but comforting and easy. Funny thing, I’m not a huge fan of squash, but by this time of the year, I’m craving it. There must be something in it that does a body good.

This makes 4 servings (1/2 squash per person).


2 acorn squash

1 cup uncooked quinoa

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup chestnuts (already cooked and peeled) – optional

1 cup kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 onion – diced

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp coconut oil

A pinch of chili seeds

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 – 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste


Set the oven to 350. Wash the acorn squash and cut in half around the equator (i.e. not lengthwise). Scoop out the seeds and place the squash cut side up on a cookie sheet. You may want to cut off a bit of the bottom of each squash half so they sit upright. Drizzle each half with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes. When they’re done, the squash will be soft when pierced with a fork.

Rinse the quinoa and put it in a pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. If you want to be super fancy, you could boil the quinoa in vegetable broth or half broth and half water.

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, place in a large bowl with the kale, chestnuts (if using) and apricots. The hot quinoa is enough to “cook” the kale.

In a medium-sized, non-stick skillet sauté the onion in the remaining olive oil and the coconut oil, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chopped pecans, the chili seeds, nutmeg, mustard and maple syrup. Stir together and heat through and then add to the bowl with the quinoa and fruit and kale. Stir together.

Spoon ¼ of the quinoa into each of the squash halves and enjoy!!

If you want to make something much simpler and more casserole-like, cube the cooked squash and toss it with the quinoa mix.

TIP: This dish is also excellent with dried cherries and walnuts instead of apricots and pecans. Replace the nutmeg, mustard and chili seeds with ¼ tsp cumin and 1 tsp dried crumbled sage. Omit the maple syrup.


Asian quinoa salad


Here’s what I’m having for lunch today. My version is very closely based on the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. This salad is super delicious, satisfying and sustaining.

Funny, up until this year I hated quinoa. It was bitter. Then my lovely neighbor, Marion, who is also a retired a Home Ec teacher, told me to rinse it. Et voila! I love quinoa… though I do still think it looks like tiny rolled up condoms.

This salad would be great topped with a few crunchy chow mein noodles or some chopped cashews.
I’ve added comments in the recipe indicating what changes I made. Let me know if you make this dish and how you riff on it.

Asian quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup chopped red cabbage (I used green because that’s what I had, though red cabbage would look prettier)
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame (get a bag in your freezer section, already shelled. Let thaw in your salad bowl)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
1 cup diced cucumber
For the dressing:
1/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (one very luscious green stalk plus the white part)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (totally optional, I added, but found it did nothing for or against the dressing)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I toasted mine)
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used about ½ teaspoon chili paste)
Salt and black pepper, to taste (I didn’t bother, soy sauce is salty enough)
1. Rinse your quinoa to remove the bitter coating. Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
4. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.

Note-Make sure you use tamari for a gluten-free salad, not all soy sauce is gluten-free. This salad is good served at room temperature or chilled.