Friday, October 30, 2015

Spice Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds, and Lime Vinaigrette


Towards the end of grape harvest I spent a lot of time in Sonoma, which gave me time to eat at one of my favorite gourmet delis, the Dry Creek General Store. I'm still avoiding wheat, so sandwiches were out (however they do offer gluten free bread). But it wasn't a problem, because they always have fantastic salads. One of the salads I enjoyed many times was a roasted carrot salad with arugula, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and lime dressing. The flavor and textures together worked so well. I decided to re-invent my own version at home, and I think it's pretty close to the original.

Before I get into the recipe, it's also important to mention: I'm doing the 21 Day Fix! Two questions to answer: what is the 21 Day Fix and why am I doing it?


The 21 Day Fix in an exercise and eating program through Beach Body (of P90X fame). It appealed to me because it seems like the perfect program for busy people. Color-coded containers that tell you how much to eat and one 30 minute workout a day. I can do that! Workouts range from cardio, upper body, lower body, pilates, and yoga.


Now the why: I'm doing this because now that the field season is winding down I want to get into a new routine. I'm not going to be tromping in the field for some time, which means I need to replace my daily activity with something new! I also have a friend who is a beach body consultant and I felt inspired to join her fall group on Facebook so I wouldn't have to do this alone. Camaraderie helps! Another good thing about the program is that it focuses on whole foods, which I feel like I already have a grasp of. Also, I think it's important to remember to take care of ourselves. 30 min/day is only 2% of your day, so there's plenty of time to fit one of the workouts in. I've been testing out am vs. pm workout times. While my body is a little more stiff in the morning and it feels difficult to get going, at least it's over with and I won't have to think about it for the rest of the day!

I used my 21 Day Fix containers to figure out this recipe for 4 servings. For each serving it's 1 green (half carrots and half arugula), 1/2 yellow (quinoa), and 1 orange (half dressing and half pumpkin seeds). You can adjust the amount of each component of the salad according to your needs. You can omit the quinoa if you want to make this Paleo. I've been eating quinoa from time-to-time because three yellow containers of sweet potatoes becomes monotonous. I also don't have a problem with eating this pseudo-cereal. Here's a tip: rinse the quinoa well before cooking to remove any bitterness.

Since Halloween is just days away, I think this salad would be perfect on the table for a grown-up Halloween party!

Spice Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds, and Lime Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into slices on the bias
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
coconut oil spray
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
2 cups arugula
4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa
salt, pepper, and stevia, to taste
coconut oil spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the carrots on a foil-lined baking tray sprayed with coconut oil spray. Toss with the cumin, coriander, and some salt and pepper. Roast 25-30 min, tossing halfway through, or until tender.
2. Blend the lime juice with the oil and salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Toss the roasted carrots with the arugula, quinoa, and dressing. Serve, garnished with the pumpkin seeds.

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Dip


Happy Halloween! Halloween is my favorite holiday, so for the potluck party at work today, I went all out on my recipe. This recipe was a throwback to the Halloween parties I had when I was a kid. My mom used a plastic candy pail as a dip bowl so the table would look festive, and I wanted to re-create my own version. I planned to fill a pumpkin with dip, but when I went to the store all the little sugar pumpkins were gone, so I got a kabocha squash instead (one of my new favorite foods...can't wait to cook it up later!). Actually the green rind of the squash looked really good next to the orange dip. I served it with multi-color baby carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, plantain chips, and gluten free crackers.

There are a lot of possibilities with this recipe. I think this dip would also make a fantastic sauce to drizzle over white fish or chicken. The smoked paprika and cumin lend a subtle smokiness that is a change of pace from the standard old ranch dip.

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Printable Recipe

1 clove garlic
1 cup walnuts
1 12-oz jar roasted red pepper, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or Paleo, whichever you prefer)
6 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: 1 tbsp walnuts and 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, extra paprika

1. Add the garlic and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they make a coarse meal.
2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until the mixture is well combined. Taste for seasoning. Chill until you're ready to serve. Top with walnuts and pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of paprika.

This dip made enough to perfectly fill a re-purposed 16-oz cottage cheese container. I just used the widest end of the container as a template and then chipped away at the inside of the squash until the container fit.
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