Cranberry and Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

After a lengthy absence…I’m back! Between school and a new job I was so busy I barely had time to breathe, let alone blog. This semester I will try to balance a little better so I can blog at least more than one every few months…I promise ūüôā

Despite the lack of posts, I was still whipping up some new recipes! This one was a favorite of mine – the combination of flavors is delicious and it is super filling. It can either be served warm (heat the quinoa and squash before putting all ingredients together) or as a cold salad. Top with your favorite salad dressing (I used balsamic vinegar and olive oil) and enjoy!



Cranberry and Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2.5 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/3 cup¬†dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup¬†roasted,¬†unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese


1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Lay out cubed squash on a greased baking pan or cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings desired. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until squash is soft.

2.) While squash is baking, cook quinoa according to package instructions.

3.) In each bowl layer quinoa, spinach, and squash and top with cranberries, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and feta. Drizzle with your favorite dressing!


BBQ Chickpea Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

I love my salads, and while I do have a favorite (hello, feta and avocado), I still¬†like to switch things up every now and then. So since summer is right around the corner, I decided a BBQ salad would be perfect for the hot days ahead. I’ve also been trying to cut down my meat intake, so I liked that this was a meatless twist on the usual meat-centered BBQ dishes. The chickpeas take on the smoky flavor of the BBQ sauce, and the avocado dressing adds a fresh taste to the salad. I didn’t do a good job of stretching the dressing (oops) so it only made enough for 5 salads, while the chickpeas made 6 servings. But you can use more or less dressing as you please, or double the batch! I bet it would make a yummy veggie dip as well. I am including the recipe for the BBQ chickpeas and avocado ranch dressing, but I’m leaving the salad part to you – make it with whatever your favorite ingredients are!











BBQ Chickpeas

  • Servings: 6 servings
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Adapted from: The Garden Grazer


  • 2 cans chickpeas (15 oz each)
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce

1.)¬†Drain and rinse chickpeas. In a saucepan over medium-low heat,simmer the chickpeas with the BBQ sauce, stirring frequently. Add any spices you’d like, or more BBQ sauce!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 165
Fat 2 g (0 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 31 g
Sodium 473 mg
Protein 7 g

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Garden Grazer


  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp¬†Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste (I used about a tsp)

1.) In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more seasonings to taste. Will last about 3-5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 58
Fat 5 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 1 g
Carbs 2 g
Sodium 233 mg
Protein 1 g

Mexican Fiesta Salad

We all know how much I love Mexican food. Basically an obsession. If I were to ever turn down a taco (or a margarita),¬†be worried, because the world may be ending. So when I needed to switch up my salad routine, I naturally decided to add some Mexican flair. Nothing is better than the combination of avocado, salsa, corn, black beans, cumin…yum! I bet some ground turkey or chicken with taco seasoning would have stepped this salad up a notch, but since it was my first week in the apartment and I didn’t have a lot of time to cook, I made¬†it meat-free. That’s what I love about salads – so versatile, yet such a great way to get your veggies in! This is an entree-sized salad, so it’s enough to keep you full for a meal, but you could also make it as a side dish to go along with other Mexican favorites. Enjoy this colorful and delicious salad, margarita optional¬†ūüėČ



Mexican Fiesta Salad

  • Servings: 6 entree servings or 12 side salads
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  • 1¬†lb spring mix
  • 1¬†can reduced sodium black beans, drained
  • 1 can¬†roasted corn, drained
  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp ¬†ground cumin
  • 3 small avocados, sliced
  • 4.5 tbsp cilantro lime ranch (found it¬†at Walmart!)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.) Top spring mix with black beans, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, sunflower seeds, and cumin. If serving the salad right away, top with rest of ingredients and toss. If eating one serving at a time, top each serving with 1/2 an avocado, 2 tbsp salsa, 3/4 tbsp cilantro lime ranch, and 1/2 tbsp oil. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 466
Fat 31 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 14 g
Carbs 39 g
Sodium 555 mg
Protein 14 g