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By the time this post goes live I will be back in Arizona after 2 1/2 weeks in California. It was part work part play.

As is everything in my life. Balance right? When making a recipe to post on the blog I always keep you guys in mind and find a balance between taste/health/accessability.


I'll ask myself the following questions: Will the ingredients be easy to get at the grocery store, is it easy to make and to scale up or down? Is the recipe easy to color outside the lines with and sub in or out different ingredients based on what you franz might have on hand? Are the flavors and textures balanced? Is it healthy, will it taste great AND will it photograph nicely (lol- I worry about that last one a lot)?

These are all the things I think about when I'm cooking for someone other than for myself which is more than half of the time. I'm eating for one or cooking for the blog/instagram, a workshop, friends/family, and soon (hopefully) a couple personal chef/health coach clients.

This salad hits each piece of criteria to a T. Lets explore shall we?

  • easy to make - check

  • easy to find ingredients- check

  • easy to scale- check

  • easy to substitue different ingredients- check

  • balanced flavor- check

  • textures- check

  • healthy- check

  • tastes GREAT- check check

  • photogenic- check

I love this salad for picnics, meal planning/prep, potlucks, not boring lunches at work, healthy dinner with a girl friend served with a cold glass of Sav Blanc. You name it. I'm feelin it.

Go make this.



2 Cups dry quinoa

4 Cups vegetable broth

1-15 Ounce can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas

2 cucumber, chopped in 1/2 cubes (about 4 cups)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 2 cups)

1 Cup black or kalamata olives, halved

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 small onion (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 Cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts

1 Cup flat leaf parsley, chopped, loosely packed

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

2-4 Tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil

4-6 Tablespoons feta or almond/tofu feta cheese


2 Teaspoons cumin

2 Teaspoons turmeric powder

2 Teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon

1 Teaspoon black pepper

pink salt to taste


  1. Cook the quinoa. Add vegetable broth and quinoa to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook until tender and water is absorbed. about 7-10 minutes. once cooked turn of heat and set aside.

  2. Prep onion and garlic: dice onion, minced garlic, set aside. Toast sunflower seeds or pine nuts: heat a large dry frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot add the seeds or nuts and toast for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently to prevent burning. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

  3. Open and strain the chickepeas. Pat dry with a paper down and remove as much liquid as possible. Be sure to remove excess water to prevent oil from splattering when added to the pan. Heat 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil to the same pan used for the nuts over medium high heat. Once hot add the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.

  4. Add another 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil to the pan with the chickpeas if necessary. Add in the onion and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium low. Add in the garlic and all the Shawarma Seasoning. cook 8-10 minutes or until chickpeas are slightly crispy, stiring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

  5. Prep the olives and veggies: slice olives in half. Halve or quater the tomatoes. Cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds with a spoon, then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Remove the stems and chop the parsley.

Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and quinoa to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and white wine vinegar. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the quinoa veggie mix amongst plates, top with chickpea shawarma, spinkle with seeds or nuts and top with feta if using. Dig in and enjoy!

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