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.

A stack o’ quesadillas with black beans and sweet potato


So this happened in my kitchen the other night. Someone had told me, quite definitively, that quesadillas must have cheese and could not have beans. “Oh yeah,” I thought to myself. Let’s see about that.

I created a stack of beany, cheesy, creamy quesadillas and baked them all together. Black beans and sweet potato give the dish an incredible creaminess. The result is , if not authentically Mexican, still a fiesta in your mouth!


3 large tortillas or even flat bread

1 cup of shredded vegan cheese – I used Daiya pepperjack flavour cheese

1 cup of bottled salsa

1 cup of unsweetened, unflavoured plant-based milk

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ cups cooked black beans (a 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

1 red pepper diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 onion diced

1 sweet potato

1-2 Tbsp chipotle adobo sauce (optional but mmm… the spice!) or a jalapeno, deseeded and minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)

1 cup fresh spinach finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil


Wash but do not peel the sweet potato. Dice it and either microwave it or bake it until it’s soft. If you’re baking it – 350F for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Mix the milk and the salsa together and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until the onion is softened. Add the chili powder, cumin, basil and oregano and heat through. Add the chipotle adobo sauce or jalapeno if using and heat through. Switch off heat. Add the beans, sweet potato, spinach and cilantro and mix together.

Oil a 9” pie plate or other casserole dish. If you’re not using a round dish, you will have to cut the tortillas to fit the dish. Line the bottom with one of the tortillas. Add half of the black bean mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Spoon 1/3 of the salsa/milk mixture over top. Repeat with another tortilla, the remaining bean mixture, 1/3 cup of the cheese and 1/3 of the salsa/milk mixture. Place the last tortilla on top. Pour the remaining salsa/milk mixture over then the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Let the dish stand for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!



Make room for muhummara – a tangy red pepper and walnut dip



Move over hummus and make room for muhummara – a savory, almost meaty dip with a slightly sweet tang that makes it gorgeous to eat on endive leaves..

This dish does require a bit of planning. The peppers need time to roast and cool.

2 red peppers

1 cup walnut pieces – toasted

3 cloves garlic

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes

The juice from one lemon

2 ½ Tbsp pomegranate molasses (find it in the foreign food section of larger supermarkets or in markets specializing in Middle Eastern and/or Halal foods).

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp salt

½ cup bread crumbs (I used panko crumbs because vegan bread crumbs can be hard to find…Ryvita crackers can also be turned into excellent, vegan bread crumbs)

¼ cup tomato paste (TIP: buy a large can of tomato paste and dole it out into 2-tablespoon portions onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Place it in the freezer and let the tomato paste dollops freeze ’til solid. Store the frozen dollops in a container and you’ll have tomato paste when you need it with no waste. I/4 cup is 4 tablespoons).

To toast the walnuts: Do this either in a dry frying pan on high heat, shaking constantly because the walnuts will burn in a flash. I prefer to toast my nuts and seeds in a toaster oven at 430F for 5 minutes.

To roast the peppers: remove the stems, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the peppers cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast at 450 for 10-15 minutes. They should be charred on the outside. Place the still-hot peppers in a paper bag. Roll the bag’s rim to seal it and let the peppers steam. When they’ve cooled down, their charred skins will slide right off. Gosh, doesn’t that sound so evil?

Once you have toasted walnuts and roasted peppers, everything comes together in mere minutes.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend on high until you have a thick dip. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl once or twice. You can enjoy the dip immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days. I find the muhummara is even better the next day.

Enjoy with endive leaves or crackers or pita bread. SO GOOD and something a little different!