You know you’re doing alright with healthy eating when you open the fridge and your leftovers consist of cooked quinoa, chickpeas, and extra batter from these sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes. I’m lucky enough to naturally enjoy eating (and taking the time to cook) all these foods over the processed, fried and fast foods inundating our supermarkets and restaurants. But where I don’t have such an easy time is my unrelenting sweet tooth…. will it ever go away?!
Healthy eating is also much easier when you already have prepared foods on hand – like leftover quinoa, chickpeas, and veggies that are ready to be tossed into a salad the minute you decide you are starving for lunch. Sounds a bit like me today! Sometimes my leftover concoctions turn out to be not as appetizing as I’d hoped, but this was one that magically combined so nicely that I had to write up the recipe to share with you – and so that I can make it again!
Sometimes I find it hard to eat salads as often in the winter. Cold and crunchy just doesn’t do it for me when it’s 14 degrees out! This salad was nice because I put a warm pan-fried veggie cake on top of spinach and arugula (rather than lettuce which does not stand up well under something hot) along with reheated quinoa and chickpeas and some fresh veggies. A warm, hearty and filling wintertime salad – perfect.
Another leftover often found in our fridge is my most favorite sweet chili cilantro yogurt dip / sauce / dressing. It’s so simple to put together and so very versatile. We often use it as a dip for sweet potato fries, crab cakes or salmon burgers, veggie burgers, falafel, kebobs, fried plantains… it goes deliciously with anything! And if you’re one who needs more chili in your sweet chili sauce, just dump some sriracha into the mix. I honestly don’t ever measure out the ingredients so it’s ok to estimate or go with your own taste. For the salad dressing, I made it thinner by using a higher ratio of sweet chili sauce to yogurt and used some leftover cilantro-lime pesto in place of chopped cilantro. You can’t go wrong with this sauce, so experiment and enjoy :)
Sweet Chili Cilantro Yogurt Dip (/sauce/dressing)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, any % fat
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- a few squirts of sriracha, optional
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Add more sweet chili sauce to make thinner for dressing. Keep in air-tight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Warm Winter (Leftovers) Salad
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 1 handful baby arugula
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
- few slices bell pepper
- few slices red onion
- 1 or 2 curried sweet potato-carrot-apple cakes, recipe here
- lemon wedge
- sweet chili cilantro yogurt sauce, recipe above
Pan fry your veggie cake over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, combine spinach, arugula, bell pepper and onion in a salad bowl. Reheat quinoa and chickpeas (optional) and place on top of veggies. Squeeze lemon wedge over salad, place cooked veggie cake on top, and top with yogurt sauce. ¡Buen provecho!
Please excuse the half-eaten salad photos. I had to hold these guys back from eating the rest before I got a picture…
Enjoy! Here’s to lots of healthy eating in 2014 :)