Tag Archives: pepitas

Simple summer salad with a harissa vinaigrette…

Everything about life has been on vacation mode until this week.  We have been slow to rise, late to bed, seeing the world, tasting the world, beach time, pool time, splash time, snuggle time, books, and baking.  Recently we have been spending a lot of time in our new garden, tending to our seedlings, but mostly just watering and staring at our plants.  We have been pruning our herb garden in hopes of bigger, thicker bushes…and I am hoping “green thumbing” runs in the blood. My father is a plant whisperer.  I have many memories of walking through my hometown woods with my father as a kid. He pointed to plants and gave me both their botanical and common names, taught me how to identify poison oak in all four seasons, and explained the differences between lichen and moss.  We have beautiful oak trees dripping in Spanish Moss (which is neither a moss nor a lichen) of an almost earthy teal if that makes any sense, and a salty fog that feels like home in those woods.  So…I am hoping that gardening, like cooking, and be heritable.  Happy bleated father’s day dad, I love you so.

This salad is dressed with the herbs from our garden, and I will hopefully make it again with our own peppers and cucumbers.  It is super easy to make and tastes like summer.  I might add this tastes super with a cold, Mexican beer out of the bottle.

I apologize for the quick phone photos!


Simple summer salad with a harissa dressing…


1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (or 1 can of black beans, rinsed)

two ears corn, grilled and kernels removed (or Trader Joes sells a nice frozen roasted corn)

2 cups dry quinoa, cooked and tossed

1 cup toasted pepitas

2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

two small cucumbers, diced

handful of fresh cilantro, minced

handful of fresh parsley, minced

cumin, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients together.


equal parts olive oil and lime juice, amount will vary, just go little by little.

Harissa (homemade or bought) or harissa powder (you can also use a mixture of Cayenne Pepper and chili powder if you don’t have easy access to harissa)

Salt and pepper

Whisk ingredients together adjusting the spices as you like, and pour over salad, and toss. 

Serve salad with some crumbled queso fresco over the top.


Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Coconut and orange granola, with dried papaya and cranberries…

As I am sitting down to write this entry, the ground is slowly getting covered with snow, a fire is roaring in the fireplace, the baby…snoozing in her bed, and me…crunching on warm granola for dinner. I decided that I am going to make this granola a holiday tradition for a couple of reasons. First, it is very therapeutic to bake as it makes the whole house smell like coconut and orange essence…and that, for some reason makes me feel calm. Second, the end result is warmly toasted oats with jewels of diced, dried, papaya and cranberry. They look beautiful all packed up, for…spoiler alert…holiday gifts. I am also suddenly taken back to my childhood when I used beg my mom to let me scoop out the granola in bulk from the bins at The Granary market in my hometown…a beautiful market that was sadly bought out by a large natural foods chain.  Do any other Pac Grovians remember The Granary smelling like toasted oats and orange? As a side note, I will always crave their carob chip cookies.

In this recipe, I used a raw coconut oil instead of a vegetable oil to enhance the nuttiness of the oats, as well as adding pepitas, pecans, and shredded coconut for texture. Plus, the mixture boasts timely tones of green and red. If I had carob chips I would add them, believe me, but this recipe certainly does want for more.

Coconut and orange granola, with dried papaya and cranberries…

8 cups rolled oats

3 cups coarsely chopped pecans

2 cups pepitas

1 1/2 cup dried papaya

1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup shredded coconut

zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup raw coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

2 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, heat up coconut oil until it turns to liquid.  This coconut oil usually comes in a jar and is solid and of a waxy consistency.  Add honey and brown sugar. Mix until combined.  Cool. Add vanilla.  Set aside.  Mix together oats, pepitas, pecans, and shredded coconut. Add orange zest, combine. Pour coconut oil mixture over the oats and mix. In batches, spread evenly over an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until lightly toasted, approximately 10-12 minutes, tossing regularly for an even toast.  Caution, it is very easy to overcook and even burn the granola.  Remove from oven, cool, then add dried fruit. Delicious as a cereal, or even over vanilla ice cream.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!

quinoa salad with green goddess dressing…

Simple and satisfying.  I believe that quinoa just happens to be mother nature’s perfect creation; the Inca had cultivated this seed and referred to it as “chisaya mama” or “the mother of all grains”.   Quinoa is a seed but is also a complete protein, hearty with a nutty essence, wholesome but exotic. This salad balances the light texture of the quinoa with the crunch of the snap peas and pop of the pepitas.  The pickled carrots are inspired by a lovely family dinner we had in Utah…some how they just kept appearing and reappearing on my plate…and I ate every last one of them. And nothing says earthy goodness like a good goddess dressing. If you want to save on time and rather not make a dressing, Annie’s goddess dressing is delightful with this salad.

quinoa salad with green goddess dressing…


1 ½ cup Inca red quinoa

3 cups water/or broth (if not serving with dressing)

1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly cut on bias

½  cup opal basil (regular basil works just fine)

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup pepitas, toasted

½ cup dried cherries

pickled carrots:

2 small carrots, cut into matchsticks

½ cup distilled white vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

¼ cup sugar


1 avocado

2 heaping tbs tahini

¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

1-2 tbs freshly chopped parsley

juice of ½ lemon (plus more for finishing if needed)

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

For pickling liquid, mix together vinegar, salt, and sugar, stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Marinate carrots in pickling liquid for at least ½ hour. For dressing, put all ingredients into blender and keep adding more lemon juice and/or cider vinegar until you create a nice thick liquid. Add salt and pepper last to taste. Prepare quinoa per package directions.  Or, if you bought in bulk, the ration is usually 2:1 water/broth to quinoa. Let cool.  Rinse and prep vegetables.  Mix in peas, basil, green onion, and cherries.  Top with toasted pepitas and pickled carrots.  Serve with a dollop of dressing.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!