We invited guests for dinner and I learned that one was vegan. She told me that she’d bring her own food and it was no big deal. Vegans don’t eat any animal-based food, so meals need to have no eggs or dairy products. I love a good culinary challenge, so I did a little research and talked to co-workers that are both vegetarians and vegans and devised a recipe that is colorful and bursting with flavor and also filling. The key is to read the labels of everything … you’d be surprised how many items that you’d think are purely vegetarian have some form of dairy or meat product or are prepared in facilities that share machinery.
For the mixed greens, I used organic spring mix and added chopped romaine hearts for crunch. I also added radish sprouts because they looked interesting. I imagine it would be good with just about any greens: arugula would add a nice spicy flavor and spinach always pairs nicely with citrus.
Quinoa is quick and easy to cook. I combined 1.5 cups of white quinoa with 3 cups of water, brought to a boil and then simmered for 15 minutes. I let it cool and fluffed with a fork before serving.
Roasting the corn adds a nice flavor. It can be done on the grill, or in the oven as I did. I simply husked the corn, sprayed with water and roasted on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turning the ears halfway through. After cooled, I cut the kernels off the cobs.
- 6-8 cups mixed greens
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (I used white; any type would work)
- 2 ears of fresh corn, roasted in the oven (or frozen or canned corn in a pinch)
- 29 ounces of heated black beans (seasoned with equal pinches of cumin, sea salt and chili powder to taste)
- 1 14-ounce can of mandarin oranges or 1 whole orange, segmented
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 small shallot, diced finely
- 1 small jalapeno, diced finely (optional)
- This can be served three ways: as a buffet where guests can add the ingredients of their choosing, as a tossed salad (with dressing or on the side), or layered on each plate with dressing drizzled on top. I offered it buffet style.
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 2 large limes, juiced (or 6 tablespoons of lime juice)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener such as agave or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon of hot sauce (I used a small drop of Dave’s Insanity Sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Adjust seasonings to your personal preference: more orange juice if you want it less creamy, more hot sauce if you like a bit of a kick. You can also thin it with the juice from the mandarin oranges. If you prefer a vinaigrette, eliminate the avocado and whisk all ingredients together, adjusting seasonings as needed.
This made more dressing than I needed for the dish. I used the leftover dressing for a green salad and also for a dairy-free coleslaw.
Pescatarian Bonus Recipe from leftovers:
Poached Ling Cod over Carrot & Cilantro Quinoa
I made too much quinoa before adjusting the above recipe … that stuff really fluffs up in cooking! Also had leftover carrots from our appetizers and cilantro, shallots, orange juice and limes, plus some fresh lemon thyme. So pulled it all together for a quick dinner after a day of sailing.
- 4 ling cod filets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped lemon thyme (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
- Place filets on a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle the olive olive, orange and lime juice on top, followed by the thyme and tumeric. Wrap foil tightly around filets.
- Place on a hot grill or bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons hot sesame oil (or any oil if you don’t like it spicy)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- Heat the oil in a wok til hot. Add the carrots and shallots and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and stir fry until heated through.
- Toss in the cilantro and remove from heat.
Place quinoa on a plate and top with filets. Yum!
One thought on “Vegan Quinoa Dinner Salad with Creamy Orange Lime Dressing”
That sounds amazing! Though I’ve fallen off the vegan wagon temporarily in Beijing, I really appreciate the thought you put in to accommodating someone with the vegan lifestyle!
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