Category Archives: Side Dish

Warm Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas, and Cranberries

The hubs and I just returned home from a quick weekend trip to New Orleans.  Before moving to Denver, I was a NOLA girl and am still very much a Louisiana girl at heart.  A visit to the south in springtime really does wonders for the soul.  Even though it was pretty humid this trip, we spent a lot of time outside…walking through the quarter, Audubon Park, up and down Magazine Street, and we spent some quality time people watching on a balcony in the FQ.  Good friends, good food, and good drinks made it a wonderful weekend.  And, spending time with my brother and his pup is always lovely.

French Quarter Festival was going on, so we got to sample some of NOLA’s finest from the various food tents at the festival, including one of my favorite festival foods—crawfish and goat cheese crepes. And, I had to eat at all of my favorite restaurants.  I think I came back a good five pounds heavier.  Well worth it.

Now we are back in Colorado (and winter decided to show up again…in the middle of April) and it’s time for a bit of a food cleanse…at least for a day or so.  One of the best ways to eat healthy and still get a delicious meal is quinoa.  It is high in fiber and protein and so very versatile.  Making a quinoa salad is one of our go-to side dishes or lunchtime meals, but quinoa stuffed peppers and quinoa burgers are great ways to incorporate quinoa into your meals.

But, this warm quinoa salad with brussels sprouts, chickpeas, and cranberries is definitely one of our favorite meals.  It is perfect to bring for lunch throughout the week and is very filling.


  • 1-1/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned and tender, tossing once.

While brussels sprouts are roasting, cook quinoa. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.  Let quinoa simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit an additional 5-10 minutes, covered.  Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.  The quinoa should have absorbed all the water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Taste and adjust depending on preference.  Don’t be afraid to use more maple syrup. J

Toss the quinoa, brussels sprouts, walnuts, cranberries, chickpeas, and dressing together in a large bowl.  Serve warm.

Source: Vegetarian Times via Once Upon a Cutting Board

1 Comment

Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Lunch, Side Dish


Tags: ,

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

I have a confession to make—I don’t really like side dishes all that much.  Sure, I like to eat vegetables, salads, macaroni and cheese, but when it comes to preparing an extra dish, I don’t always have the time and energy for cooking something else each night.

In an effort to eat more balanced meals each night, I’m trying to find easy (yet delicious) side dishes.  My first side dish experiment turned out great—almost.  The main dish, Honey Garlic Balsamic chicken, was not very good.  I’m not sure what happened, but there will most definitely not be a blog post on that…

But, the asparagus stole the show anyway.  The chicken didn’t stand a chance.  Asparagus, tomatoes, and goat cheese?  Yes, please.  Who am I kidding?  Add goat cheese to anything and I am a happy camper.  Plus, the dish didn’t take long to prepare.  Maybe this whole balanced meal thing isn’t so bad after all.  I just need to work on the main dish part for next time.

A photo of asparagus with balsamic tomatoes and goat cheese.

1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons soft goat cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add asparagus and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain the asparagus and set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add garlic and tomatoes to skillet.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until tomatoes soften.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the skillet.  Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Tomato mixture should be thick and slightly syrupy.  Stir in salt.

Place asparagus on serving dish and top with tomato mixture and goat cheese.  Season with pepper and serve.

Source: The Well-Fed Newlyweds, originally from Cooking Light

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Side Dish


Tags: , , ,

Guacamole Salad

Who doesn’t like avocados?  It is one of those perfect foods – healthy, versatile, and so good.  Tim made guacamole salad as a side dish for our chicken soft tacos and it was the perfect side dish, even with red bell peppers (this might be the only recipe you ever see on this blog with red bell peppers).  The salad was fresh and flavorful.  We actually ate most of the guacamole salad as a dip with tortilla chips and as a topping for our soft tacos, but it’s good with a fork, too!

I think this guacamole salad will be a great side dish for days at the park this summer or backyard barbeques. Spring is barely even here, but I’m ready for summer!  I’m already dreaming of lawn games, baseball at Coors Field, rooftop happy hours…and more guacamole salad.

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper, seeded (1/2-1 jalapeno)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2 inch dice

Combine the tomatoes, peppers, black beans, red onion, jalapeno, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over vegetables. Toss well.  Add in the avocados just before serving.

From Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home via Josie at Pink Parsley

1 Comment

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Side Dish


Tags: ,