Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Almond Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

This recipe comes from a place of finding something to do with what I had left in the fridge and pantry. It seems my bulk supply of quinoa is always sticking around... and then what was left fresh was cabbage, carrots, onion and a lemon. So... with those ingredients, and some staples like wheat-free tamari sauce and red pepper paste, and my favorite almond butter...I came up with a little snack to meet my taste buds perfectly.

You really got to get creative when you have a limited diet with restrictions. That doesn't mean you have to eat rice cakes and apples all day. (That is if you can even eat apples and rice cakes all day without getting sick). Although, I have done that too my friend. Seriously, what do you love about food? What do you miss? What are your comfort foods? These are some of the questions I ponder while creating or inventing a recipe. Not really that hard if you know what you want and know what you can eat and then making something up that will meet all of your taste buds and senses. Ultimately our bodies will feel full, satisfied and healthier if we are meeting those needs. That mean you might need to have something a little sweet, salty, bitter and pungent on your plate. Think of these tastes in regards to real plant food, not like sugar, salty chips, and slurpies, but more like sweet potatoes, greens, lemons and tamari sauce. The more you are satisfying your tastes, the more you will not be craving something afterwards. Or at least think of better substitutes for what you are craving and go for the plants over anything. You will be surprised how plants and grains really have powerful tastes and fulfillment.

Ultimately, my friends, food has the power to make you sick or healthy. This could also mean that searching for healthy foods or sticking to a strict diet could lead to a stressful and angry life. Which in turn makes you more sick. I propose to make eating fun again. I rally for eating fresh and happy foods that will make you healthy and happy as well. This means you have to look positively on a "restricted" diet. Or perhaps you need to start looking at your diet with fresh eyes. That you in fact are NOT restricted, but blessed to be able to eat real, fresh and healthy foods instead of the plastic, fake and cloned food crap! Sometimes when I am out with friends, I remind them that I can't really just order a $5 sub or pizza with them, and then those words that they usually describe me after that, "Oh yeah, you are special, I forgot." Well, yes, my friends, I am special. I think it is special to have a body that triggers me to eat real food. This is really a gift! I will react if I put toxic crap in my body, and for that I am thankful! So, for all my friends that haven't found the joy of this journey yet...Keep finding new ways and foods that make you body happy, and I bet in no time at all you will find that there is peace, joy, and love in a nourished life.

Now to a recipe...Inspired for the craving of some fresh spring rolls...

Quinoa Almond Pilaf Recipe
1 small yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
1 TB of olive oil
1 cup of dry quinoa
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of crushed raw almonds
1/4 cup of raisins

In a 4 quart pot, saute olive oil with chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add 2 cups of pure water and a cup of dried quinoa. Stir all together and let the water come to a boil. Once it is boiling turn the heat down and let the quinoa cook for about 15-20 minutes. Once all of the water is gone and the quinoa can be fluffed, turn the heat on low and add the crushed almonds and raisins and tamari. Stir well together and let cook for one more minute together. Then let sit and cool and the flavors meld.
This sauce is a peanut-free version of like a sweet and spicy peanut dipping sauce. You could use peanut butter if you wanted too... I used almond butter because it is what I had and to also be allergen-free friendly.

Sweet and Spicy Almond Sauce:
1 TB of fresh lemon or lime juice
1 TB of agave nectar
1 ts. of red pepper paste (I used Thai Kitchen's brand)
1 TB of almond butter

In a small bowl, whip up the above ingredients to create a sauce for dipping and drizzling over the quinoa cabbage rolls.

Then finally when the quinoa pilaf has cooled just a bit...Spoon a large dollup of the quinoa in freshly peeled and washed cabbage leaves. Either green cabbage leaves, or napa cabbage leaves. Some other toppings would include, pealed carrot pieces, or more cabbage, lettuce, or cucumber. Sprouts made be a good topping as well. Roll the quinoa, toppings and sauce in the cabbage, get a handle on it and then start chowing down. It is a nice little appetizer, or snack, or even lunch or dinner. The quinoa is delicious on it's own, but when you add some fresh cabbage and a tangy sauce you will be in heaven! Be creative and I hope you enjoy!

I hope you find peace and joy today with fresh foods and a life of real food. You are blessed.


  1. Not only is this recipe a good blend of flavors, but the textures are satisfying as well! Sounds awesome.

  2. Yum Yum Yum... just enjoyed these tonight for dinner!