Have you ever found the perfect recipe for what your inner body craves? I am not talking about chocolate or a glass of wine, although that would be quite nice. I am referring to nourishing your inner body and soul with what it “really” needs.
In our daily lives we crave certain foods. We don’t know why, but it is our bodies way to try to restore balance. Maybe when you crave that chocolate, what your body really needs is magnesium or comfort. Maybe when you are craving those carbohydrates, what your body really needs is sleep.
My body has had an inner craving for roasted vegetables, warming spices and legumes. I made a nourishing vegan roasted veggie, garbanzo beans and quinoa salad with lots of warming spices and fresh herbs to warm your heart, strengthen your inner soul and to keep your qi flowing freely. My Chinese medicine doctor told me that I need to work on strengthening my blood and my spleen qi. I also needed to eat plenty of warming spices, half of my total calories should come from grains and legumes and eat lots of nourishing vegetables.
Warmed spiced quinoa with roasted autumn vegetables has so many dimensions of flavor and it is packed with healthy ingredients. The flavors are very subtle but perfectly balanced. You will love the freshness of the herbs and the aromatic spices that tantalize your taste buds. You can taste the gentle sweetness from the raisins and the roasted autumn vegetables. You will love the nutty flavor of the red quinoa, garbanzo beans and the added crunchy pumpkin seeds on top. I had to keep going back to refill my bowl as each time I tasted it I began to fall in love with the flavors more and my soul was finally nourished.
For over 2000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using many forms of care such as acupuncture, herbal medication, Tui na (massage), qigong and dietary therapy to keep health in balance. I completely understand if you do not believe in TCM but when it comes to dietary therapy you should give it a second chance or at least give it a try as I think you will be pleasantly surprised how good you can feel with a couple of dietary changes.
My Chinese medicine doctor said that for my spleen qi deficieincy I need to eat more cooked whole grains, rice, oats, roasted barley, sweet rice, spelt, millet pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, corn, parsnips, yams, peas, stewed fruit, onions, leeks, garlic, turnip, mushroooms including oyster & shitake chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, fava beans, walnuts, etc… He also said that I needed to add some of these warming spices and fruits to my diet such as black pepper, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel, molasses, barley malt, dates, figs, and cherries.
Oh lucky me as I love everything on his list. I had made some red quinoa in the morning in anticipation of a friend visiting for lunch. Then I began to brainstorm by looking in my refrigerator and pantry for ideas.
My Chinese medicine doctor also mentioned for my blood deficiency I need to eat dark green (purple/red) leafy vegetables, seaweeds, spirulina, sprouts, legumes and whole grains. Richly coloured foods (often red) are valued for building the blood including goji berries (Chinese wolf berries), dried apricots, dark grapes, blackberries, raspberries and black strap molasses. I should support my digestive system with lightly cooked and warm foods and add some spices to aid in digestion such as ginger, cumin, fennel and cardamom.
During my kitchen foraging efforts I found carrots, butternut squash, onions, Asian eggplant, broccolini. I tossed them in a little olive oil, fresh garlic and seasonings and baked them in the oven until they were tender and golden. I added my toasted vegetables to my cooked quinoa, added a tin of garbanzo beans and added a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. ( I decided to save some of my carrots and my butternut squash for a delicious butternut and carrot ginger soup that will be knock your socks off and is coming to a monitor your way soon)
I have a lot of spices from my international travel. I grabbed some warming turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and some fragrant cardamom and fennel off the shelf and added it to my quinoa mixture and gave it a taste. Not bad, but it needed something fresh so I added some freshly chopped coriander, garlic chives and some fresh lemon juice. It needed a little spunk so I added some paprika.
My Chinese medicine doctor also told me I needed more dried fruits. I just used the last Chinese dates and gogi berries in my tea but I added some raisins (sultans) for a little sweetness. Now it just needed a little something crunchy so I roasted some pumpkin seeds and topped off my dish.
My Chinese medicine doctor also told me I needed to eat things at room temperature or warmed so I ate my dish at room temperature but I think it would also be quite nice warm or even chilled like a salad for a potluck. I think the flavors are even better the next day when the flavors have time to mingle.
You can use any vegetables you like in this dish but I think the autumn vegetable family such as sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins, yams, beets, onions and so on taste really nice with all the warming spices and a perfect way to greet the cooler fall weather upon us.
Nourishing roasted vegetables, garbanzo beans and quinoa salad with lots of warming spices and fresh herbs to warm your heart, strengthen your inner soul and to keep your qi flowing.
- quinoa - 3/4 cup red dry (cooked per instructions)
- water - 1 and 1/4 cup
- Asian Eggplant - 1 washed and chopped
- Carrot - 2 washed peeled and sliced
- broccolini - 1 bunch (washed and chopped)
- garbanzo beans - 1 cup
- raisins - 1/2 cup
- fresh garlic - 2 cloves chopped
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Warmed Spiced Dressing
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- lemon juice - 1.5 fresh lemons
- turmeric - 1 teaspoon
- paprika - 1 teaspoon ground
- cinnamen - 1 teaspoon ground
- cardamom - 1 teaspoon ground
- cumin - 1 teaspoon ground
- fennel - 1/2 teaspoon ground
- ginger - 1 teaspoon ground
- cilantro - handful chopped
- garlic chives - 1/4 cup chopped
- onion - 1/4 cup chopped
- pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup toasted (optional)
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (392 degrees F)
Step 2: Chop vegetables (eggplants, carrots and broccolini) and toss with olive oil, fresh garlic and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until fork tender. Toss vegetables at the 15 minute mark and return back to the oven.
Step 3: Cook the quinoa per instructions on your package (I used red quinoa but can also use white quinoa or even brown rice) Set aside.
Step 4: Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan until lightly toasty and slightly golden. Remove from pan. Set aside.
Step 5: In a large bowl mix the cooked quinoa with the roasted vegetables, garbanzo beans, raisins, garlic chives, onions, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice and toss to mix. Then add the paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, fennel and ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Serve either at room temperature or cold as a salad and top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy