Apartment living is great, but if there’s one thing I miss about living in a house, it’s the garden space.
I used to live in Richmond years ago with an old boyfriend of mine and we were able to partially live off the land. He had an apple tree, pear tree, tomato plant, chives, wild mint, blackberry bush, rhubarb, potatoes, green beans, oregano… I loved living there. I really miss growing my own fruits and vegetables but when you live in Vancouver, having that yard space can be a bit of a luxury!
I do appreciate fresh produce though and will purchase from farmers markets whenever I can. Or, even better, be gifted fresh vegetables from my family and friends’ gardens! Such is the case when I visited my aunt and uncle in New Westminster for a late summer BBQ. I not only was fed the most delicious food, but was also left with a parting gift of vegetables from their garden. I was gifted with wild thyme, rosemary, golden zucchini, green zucchini, hand-picked cherry tomatoes, basil and kale. Immediately, my mind was spinning in regards to making something delicious and flavourful for lunch that week. I decided to go with a filling quinoa harvest bowl.
I was pretty much a slug that week with no motivation to cook. I had just come back from a relaxing weekend on the Sunshine Coast and didn’t want anything to do with cooking. Yes, I get those days, surprisingly! But because that weekend was especially indulgent, my body was craving for something healthy. I woke up just a tad bit earlier, threw on a pot of quinoa, started roasting some zucchini and began chopping and massaging the rest of the veg. The result? A light and refreshing salad that is filling enough to sustain you in under 30 minutes. Fresh and tasty, sometimes the simplest of foods are the best.
QUINOA HARVEST BOWL - serves 4
1 cup tricolor quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1 large yellow zucchini, sliced into rounds, ½” thick
1 small, green zucchini, sliced thinly
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 stalks kale, leaves only and ripped into bite-size pieces
3 sprigs of basil, leaves only
1 garlic clove
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper
2 avocados, pitted and sliced
toasted sesame seeds, sprinkling
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Bring 1 cup of quinoa and the 2 cups of water to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer until the quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a non-stick Silpat mat. Toss the large yellow zucchini rounds in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
In a small food processor, place 1 roasted zucchini round, basil leaves, garlic cloves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Process on low until well-blended and you end with a puree. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, massage the kale with olive oil until all leaves are covered foil in oil. Add in the cooled quinoa, tomatoes, green raw zucchini slices, and halved cherry tomatoes. Add in the zucchini, basil and garlic puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss together until well-mixed. Spoon into bowls and top with roasted zucchini, toasted almonds and sesame seeds and sliced avocado.