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Salads are Not Just Lettuce!

I get really frustrated when I go to a restaurant and order a salad — knowing it will be gluten free and vegan — and the waitress comes back with a plate full of lettuce and maybe a carrot or cucumber on the side!  That is NOT a salad!!  How come no one tells them that Salads are Not Just Lettuce??

I am the Salad Queen — I love salads!!  I’ve incorporated dozens of ways to make a salad with LOTS of different ingredients.  Check out some of my salad recipes here:

Salads can be made with lots of different ingredients that most people just don’t think of using.  Most of my salads are a meal within themselves!  Just by adding a few ‘extras’ you can have a satisfying meal too!  Check out the following tips to round out your salads:

  • Add beans:  My favorite is black beans, but you can use chickpeas or any of your favorite beans.  I have even added a can of Amy’s Black Bean Chili to my salads for a Mexi-Tex flavor.
  • Add grains:  My Quinoa Tabouli Salad is a perfect example of a grain salad — but you can also use rice or any whole grain in your salad.
  • Add starches:  White potatoes come to mind  — you can also try sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and red potatoes.
  • Add fruit:  I frequently add raisins to my salads, but craisins, apples, pears, grapes …. or your favorite fruit will work well.
  • Add pasta:  Gluten free pasta is a good filler for any salad. Just makes sure you have plenty of veggies so the pasta does not overpower the veggies.

Last, but not least, your salad dressing can make a big different in the tastes of your salad.  I am pretty plain, myself, as use one basic dressing — but there are a number of good salad dressings and dressing recipes out there to chose from.  Here are my two favorites: Gluten Free Vegan Salad Dressings

What ‘secret’ ingredient to you use in your salads??  Share with us!!



My Pantry — Grains and Legumes

Grains and Legumes are the staples of a Gluten Free Vegan Pantry — at least in my house, they are!  Although most of my meals are full of veggies (fresh when I can get them, frozen next and canned as a last resort!), I complement dishes with grains and legumes.

Here is a list of the Grains and Legumes I keep in My Pantry:

  • Rice — There are lots of different rices to chose from.  Right now, we have short grain brown rice because we got a good deal on a large package.  Some of my other favorites are Jasmine and Basmati which are a sweeter white rice.
  • Popping corn — Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.  I pop it on the stove in coconut oil and add seasoning salt!  Don’t forget to buy organic popping corn so it is free of GMO.
  • Quinoa –One of my favorites for breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes.
  • Rolled Oats — Not just for breakfast as it is good in granolas, meatless dishes and cookies.
  • Teff, Buckwheat, Millet and Amaranth — I keep small amounts of those just for some variety.  I have mostly eaten those cooked for a breakfast dish, but occasionally, I find an interesting recipe that calls for one or the other.

My favorite is a grains mix by TruRoots called Sprouted Rice & Quinoa Blend.  The blend consists of organic sprouted brown and red rice along with organic quinoa and wild rice.  I absolutely love the stuff and use it in soups and casseroles.

NOTE:  If you are interested in more information on grains, check out my Squidoo page:  Gluten Free Grains.

For legumes, we have a variety of different types of bean and lentils that we use interchangeable in some dishes.  I use to eat lots of beans until I found out that my uric acid level was unusually high.  I still eat beans, but I need to limit the amount to a couple times of week instead eating them everyday.

  • Black Beans –King of the beans in my opinion.  I use these as a base for many of my Mexican dishes (I am allergic to pinto beans).  They are very flavorful and taste much better than pinto beans.
  • Garbanzo or Chickpeas — Wonderful in minestrone soup, salads, and as a base for my husband’s hummus recipe.
  • Red/Orange Lentils (Red Chief?) — Quick cooking lentils to eat alone or with veggies
  • Sprouting Mung Beans — we sprout and put in our salads and stir fry dishes.
  • Great Northern White Beans — I like these in salads, mock ‘chicken’ salad and in our white chili recipe.  They are a mild bean that does not overpower the taste of the ingredients you add to them.
  • Red and Pink Beans — we have a limited quantity of these beans for variety.

I also have a favorite Bean mix from TruRoots called Sprouted Bean Trio.  The mix includes organic sprouted mung beans, green lentils and adzuki beans.  This quick cooking mix takes only 15 minutes to prepare.  I have mixed it with the TruRoots grain mix and added veggies for an interesting soup.  Last night I cooked up a batch, added sauteed onions, celery and mushrooms and poured diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the mix.  Delicious!

TruRoots makes lots of other nutritious sprouted mixes.  Check them out below:


What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is my favorite grain.  Before I discovered I was gluten intolerant, I had never heard of Quinoa or knew it was Gluten Free.  What is Quinoa?  Since then, I have become a avid promoter and consumer of Quinoa.  This little grain has so many uses.  I add raisins and coconut milk to Quinoa for breakfast; mix it with veggies, lemon juice and oil for a nutritious salad;  and add it to soups and stir fries for dinner!  Do you know of any other food you can use for all three meals?

The article below tells about Quinoa and some ways to use Quinoa.  The article is not written by a vegan, but the information is still pertinent!

Quinoa: It’s the old/new gluten-free super grain!

a plant food source like quinoa is neither fish nor fowl, making it a ticklish task to label its status. This supergrain is like a combo plate with various quantities of both protein and carbs. So you have to look at your overall carb and protein intake throughout the day to decide whether you want to convert quinoa into a carb side or a main-dish protein.

Embrace its multitasking attributes — toss it in pilafs, stews, salads, stir-fries, turkey burgers or meatloaves or anywhere you want to swap out pasty, empty carbs like white flour and Styrofoam white rice for the nutritional powerhouse busting with nutty and grassy nuances. Quinoa pairs well with legumes making a fine vegan or vegetarian meal or grilled deep-sea scallops or chicken breasts for die-hard pescavores or pollitarians.


Do you have some good recipes to share with us using Quinoa?  Or have you tried some the different types of Quinoa:  red or black?  Personally, I love them all.