Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad:

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad:

Q is for…Quinoa!

Could it really be anything else?! Even if there were other ingredients that began with “Q” I’m almost certain quinoa would have beaten them all.

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad

I’m pretty sure quinoa was something I’d never had before vegan days. It’s amazing how many foods I didn’t even know existed before I went vegan. People have no idea what they’re talking about if they think a vegan diet is limiting!

It’s become a staple in my kitchen and I eat it probably several times a week now.

It cooks and looks like a grain, and I generally treat it a bit like one, even though it’s actually a seed.

I’m happy eating it plain as a side-dish to a saucy curry or stew or the base of an all-in-one bowl meal. It can be ground into a gluten-free flour and used in baked goods. I used it as a binder in my Kidney Bean, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Patties. It’s also delicious cooked in nondairy milk and served as a porridge with your favourite toppings….the list is endless!

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad

I thought about doing something more unusual today, but in the end fell back on an old favourite- the quinoa salad. I often make a large grain/bean salad and eat it over a few days as they tend to keep well in the fridge. Quinoa seems to absorb the flavours of the other ingredients and dressing you add, making your salad just get better over time.

I’m a big fan of adding fruit to salads but I know a few people aren’t into the sweet/savoury combination so sorry but today’s recipe isn’t for you :(

Starting with a base of quinoa, I added some chopped celery and green onions for crunch, chickpeas for more substance, a generous handful of raisins and large chunks of sweet mango. Coated it all in a mild curry dressing and finally stirred through some toasted almonds.

I was so happy to eat leftovers today!

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad
Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad:

2C Cooked + cooled quinoa (approx 1/2C dry)
3/4C Chopped celery
1/2C Raisins
4 Green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2C/1 Can Cooked chickpeas
1 Medium mango, cubed
1/3C Chopped, toasted almonds


2T Lemon juice
1t Maple syrup
1 1/2T Olive oil
1/2t Salt
1 1/2t Mild curry powder
1/2t Ground cumin
Several grinds of black pepper

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad

Combine all salad ingredients, except for almonds in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a jar. Add dressing to the bowl and toss well. Add almonds just before serving to retain crunch.

This salad is best if made a few hours (or a day) before serving to allow the flavours to mingle.

Serves 4


I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog hops, Wellness Weekends and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Curried Chickpea, Mango & Quinoa Salad

If I haven’t yet convinced you to add quinoa to your diet or eat it even more than you already are, maybe its amazing nutritional profile will!

What’s typically highlighted is that quinoa contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, unlike any other plant food. It is a particularly concentrated source of calcium as well as having high levels of other minerals such as iron, magnesium, magnesium and copper. It’s rich in fibre and is of course gluten-free, so ideal for those with gluten sensitivities too.

Now tell me…can anyone name another ingredient beginning with “Q”?! As per my self-imposed rules this month, it has to be a pantry ingredient, so no fresh fruits and vegetables allowed.


Grilled Peach, Courgette & Walnut Salad

Grilled Peach, Courgette + Walnut Salad

Grilled Peach, Courgette & Walnut Salad |

Last week in Edinburgh was probably the first time in weeks that I’d eaten an apple. During the summer I try to eat as much seasonal produce as I can and since it will be back to apples before long there’s no room for them in my diet right now!

Peaches are one of my favourite summer fruits and I tend to enjoy them on their own, best eaten standing over the kitchen sink with juice running down your chin, but I have started trying them in different ways more recently.

I loved the nectarine/peach salad with blackberry dressing, basil, and hazelnuts I made last month and decided on anothe- a Grilled Peach, Courgette & Walnut Salad.

Grilled Peach, Courgette + Walnut Salad

I’m still struggling to keep on top of the supply of courgettes from the garden. Although initially I was cross when I discovered the muntjac deer were sneakily munching our vegetables during the night, I ended up grateful for some help in eating them!

As well as being very tasty, this grilled salad used 3 courgettes, a nice bonus, for me at least.

It would make a lovely side dish or starter salad, or enjoy it for lunch just as is. Grilling the fruit and vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and some fresh herbs and nuts finish it off nicely. I loved walnuts in this and don’t use them enough, but if you’d prefer another kind just swap them in.

Grilled Peach, Courgette + Walnut Salad

Grilled Peach, Courgette & Walnut Salad

Yield: 2 Servings

Grilled Peach, Courgette & Walnut Salad


  • 3 Medium-sized courgettes
  • 2 Peaches
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped mint
  • Salt + pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)


  1. Slice courgettes into thin slices vertically using a sharp knife, discarding the very outside slices.
  2. Peel, remove stone, and quarter peaches.  Preheat a stove-top grill pan (or use an outdoor grill) and brush courgette slices and peaches with the olive oil. In batches, grill the courgettes for approx 3-4 minutes on both sides. Try not to move them while they cook so they get nice dark grill marks. Set aside in a bowl while you grill the peach quarters.These are obviously more delicate and only need about 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Season courgettes well and toss with red wine vinegar and fresh herbs. Transfer to a serving dish, place grilled peach quarters on the top, sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with extra olive oil if using.


I grilled an extra peach while I was at it and it was fantastic with non-dairy yogurt and a little drizzle of maple syrup for dessert.


If you’re growing vegetables this year or get a veg box/csa delivery are you being overwhelmed by an abundance of any in particular?

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Book Review: Let Them Eat Vegan

Hempanana Smoothie- Let Them Eat Vegan

I’d been doing so well on resisting buying any more cookbooks. I seem to have amassed a rather large number over the recent years since I’ve developed an interest in cooking, and as much as I love to have them, I don’t use them nearly enough, tending to get my inspiration from other blogs or restaurant menus.

All the same, I’ve been following Dreena’s blog, Plant-Powered Kitchen, where she’s been sharing recipes from her book “Let Them Eat Vegan”,  and reading write-ups elsewhere, and knew I couldn’t resist. I don’t feel one bit guilty about this purchase either, I only wish I’d got it sooner (it was published over a year ago in May 2012) as I know it’s going to be a book I come back to time and time again. There are a whopping 200 recipes to work through as well!

This is actually my first of Dreena’s books, although she has written 3 previously- The Everyday Vegan, Vive le Vegan! and Eat Drink & Be Vegan, all of which have been big hits. If you don’t know Dreena’s recipes they’re creative and satisfying, vegan of course, and based on wholefoods (no processed ingredients).

I’ve only made a few recipes so far but was keen to share my thoughts and encourage anyone who doesn’t have the book to get it! Even if you’re not vegan or even vegetarian this is a good book for you as there’s tonnes of advice and tips on how to get started on a vegan diet and a good range of easy, everyday recipes and more complicated, time-consuming ones.

Mediterranean Bean Burgers (Let Them Eat Vegan) Mediterranean Bean Burgers

These were very tasty indeed. I’ve not had much luck with veg burgers in the past. They either seem to crumble to pieces when I cook them or else they’re mushy in the middle. These have the perfect texture, based on kidney beans and oats, and are packed with Mediterranean flavour- oregano, olives and red pepper.

Oh, and I was pretty proud of myself for making my own burger buns too. It seems impossible to buy buns or wraps which aren’t full of chemical preservatives around these parts. I used this recipe from Holy Cow Vegan and they turned out really well, nice and fluffy with a good rise. Now I’ve learnt how easy it is to make my own burger buns I’m sure I’ll soon be trying all Dreena’s other burger recipes- there’s a whole chapter devoted to them!

Raw Strawberry Pie (Let Them Eat Vegan)

Raw Strawberry Pie

In the interest of a comprehensive review….I of course had to delve into the dessert chapter. These pretty little tarts are a mini version of Dreena’s Raw Strawberry Pie. I just divided the recipe to make a smaller amount and used tartlet shells.

I’m very familiar with raw desserts already and this one’s very simple. It’s also delicious and a bit lighter than most which can use a lot of nuts in the filling.

Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing (Let Them Eat Vegan)

Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing

This salad had been getting rave reviews and after trying it I could definitely see why. With kale as the base ingredient you can really add any other vegetables you like, although the apples and raisins listed really added to this I thought. The sweet curried almond dressing is what makes this really special though- I cleaned out my blender as best I could so as not to waste any of it. I did change it a little bit just because maple syrup is very expensive here so I usually save it for on pancakes/waffles! Instead I used dates which I can buy very cheaply in the international stores near me.

Here is my version if you’re interested:

Curried Almond Date Dressing:

1/4C Dates
3/4C Water
1/2C Almonds, soaked
2 1/2T Apple cider vinegar
1t Fresh grated ginger
1 Small clove of garlic
1/2 (heaping) t Salt
1/4t Curry powder
Black pepper
First blend together the dates and water in a high-power blender, until smooth and creamy. Add in all the other ingredients and blend again until very smooth. You may prefer a thinner dressing, if so, add more water.

I didn’t need all this for my salad but loved the leftovers as a dip (yes again….) for raw veggies.

Apple Hemp Pancakes (Let Them Eat Vegan)

Apple Hemp Pancakes

I adore pancakes and these are very yummy. They are made from spelt flour and are packed with nutritious hemp seeds and diced apples so you can feel good about eating them too.  With my new morning routine I can see I’ll be working my way through the “Breakfast Bites and Smoothies” chapter.

I’m particularly excited to get stuck into the “Proud to be Saucy and Dippy” chapter. You know how much I love a good dip! And the main dishes, including warming soups and stews, casseroles, tarts, one-pots and pasta are all going to make the move towards colder weather that bit more welcome.

As I mentioned, Dreena writes the blog plant-powered kitchen where she generously shares some of the recipes from her cookbooks as well as an abundance of useful information and cooking, nutrition and vegan parenting advice.

Do you have a copy of “Let Them Eat Vegan” or any of Dreena’s other books?  Which are your favourite recipes?

Radish, White Bean & Avocado Quinoa Salad

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

Poor radishes are definitely an under used vegetable in my kitchen. I’ve tended to think of them as Peter Rabbit food and un-enthusiastically eaten the few puny things I pulled out of the ground when I tried to grow them last year.  Seeing this beautiful bunch though, I immediately knew I needed to rethink my opinion on these baby roots, and certainly show them more respect than I had previously. Aren’t they pretty with their bright pink and little white tips? Especially when they’re still in a bunch with their leaves on.

Bunch of Radishes

It was one of those evenings when all ambitions to be good with meal-planning have gone out the window,  I’m sure familiar to everyone reading (or else you’re much more organized then me….). 7pm has rolled around already and you’ve done nothing about dinner preparations. Actually, I had already decided that I wanted something with white beans, soaked them overnight, set them to simmer earlier in the day…only to forget about them and end up with a pot of burned beans! Canned beans are perfect for such emergency situations!

I put on some quinoa to cook while I chopped up my radishes, washed and dried the radish tops, drained and rinsed the canned beans, quickly cooked up a few frozen green peas and whisked together a simple dressing. I spread out the quinoa to cool a little while finishing up watering the garden, picking up some fresh dill en route, then back to my kitchen where I mixed everything together, sliced some avocado for topping and voilà! A beautiful, no-fuss dinner was served- Radish, White Bean & Avocado Quinoa Salad.

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

Radish, White Bean & Avocado Quinoa Salad
Serves 2
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For the salad
  1. 1/2 C Quinoa, uncooked OR 1 1/2 C Cooked quinoa
  2. 1/2 Can white beans, drained and rinsed OR 3/4 C Cooked beans
  3. 1 C Sliced radishes
  4. 1/2 C Frozen peas (optional)
  5. 4-5 Sprigs of dill, roughly chopped
For the dressing
  1. 1-2 Shallots, thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  4. 1/2 tsp Agave nectar
  5. 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  6. 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  7. Salt and Pepper, to taste
To serve
  1. Radish tops, julienned OR mild salad greens e.g. watercress/pea shoots
  2. 1 Medium Avocado, sliced thick
  1. If you need to cook your quinoa, rinse well and drain. Place in a pot with 1 C water and a large pinch of salt, bring to the boil, and let simmer 10-15 minutes, tightly covered, until water is all evaporated. When done, leave to sit for a few minutes, covered, until completely dry. To cool, spread it out onto a plate or a flat dish while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Cook frozen peas if using, boil 2-3 minutes then rinse with cold water to keep them fresh. Set aside.
  3. While quinoa is cooking/cooling, put the sliced shallots in a little bowl with the apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes (this soaking them takes a little of the bite out of them). Whisk together remaining dressing ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl mix together, quinoa, white beans, peas, dill and radishes. Pour over dressing, including shallots and their soaking vinegar and toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of salad greens and top with sliced avocado.
Coconut and Berries
Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

This kind of grain, bean, vegetable type of salad is ideal for quick meals and something I often make a larger quantity of and store in the fridge for lunches throughout the week. Add the avocado and salad greens fresh when serving.

How do you eat your radishes, if you like them?

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Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts


Nectarines & Blackberries

Stone fruit has got to be one of the best things about summer. Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and cherries, I love them all.

They bring back fond memories of my 6 months living in Barcelona. I’d get sackfuls of peaches from my local “mercat”, dirt cheap, and at weekends I’d often head to the great Boqueria market and explore the stalls with a paper bag of cherries in hand.

They usually just go straight from the fruit bowl to my mouth, but my Mum recently bought at least a dozen peaches and nectarines, knowing what a fruit fiend I am, enough that I felt I could allow a few to end up in an actual recipe.


 Along with all this fresh fruit on my kitchen counter, my freezer is still stuffed with berries from last year’s extreme picking sessions! I’m planning on heading to the local farm to pick strawberries soon too but need to clear some space for the incoming fruit! I finished off the last of the raspberries in this recipe, but still have an abundance of blackberries to get through. We made a lot of blackberry and apple compote and crumble over the winter but those hot desserts aren’t seeming too appropriate in this unexpected heat wave we’re having right now.

Something fresh and light sounded just the ticket, and so this “Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts” was born!

Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts |

Blackberries were whizzed up with sweet balsamic vinegar to make a tangy dressing which I used to top a bed of just-picked salad greens from the garden, along with my nectarines, cut into slivers, and finally a smattering of whole berries, a generous handful of basil leaves and some toasted hazelnuts for crunch.

I was surprised at how intact the berries were even after defrosting. A little tip if you’re going berry-picking and want to freeze them without them sticking together in a giant ice block: spread them in an even layer on parchment paper lined baking trays and freeze like that. When they’re completely frozen you can just pour them into bags and then you can easily use the amount you want over the months to come.

This salad is really just a basic formula and I’m sure other fruits, herbs and nuts would make delicious combinations as well: Perhaps peaches or plums with raspberry dressing and toasted almonds? Or how about apricots, strawberry dressing,  mint and pecans? Have fun experimenting!

Salad Ingredients: Nectarine, Salad Leaves, Blackberry Dressing, Basil, Hazelnuts

Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts

Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts


  • For the Salad:
  • 2 Big handfuls salad greens
  • 1 Nectarine, stone removed and fruit cut into thin slivers
  • 2-3 Tbsp Blackberries
  • 1/4 C Basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (for a completely raw salad just skip toasting step)
  • Blackberry Dressing, a few tablespoons
  • For the Blackberry Dressing:
  • 1/3 C Blackberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • 2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Agave nectar (optional- probably not necessary if you’re using sweeter berries like strawberries)
  • 1 Tbsp Water


  1. Prepare the dressing first. Whiz listed ingredients up in a blender ( I use a Tribest personal blender), pour into a jar or bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the salad.
  2. To toast hazelnuts, lay on a baking try and place in a hot (350F/180C) oven for 5-10 minutes, until skins are blistered. Watch closely so they don’t burn. Tip onto a kitchen towel, wrap them up and rub vigorously to remove loose skins. Don’t worry if they don’t come off completely.
  3. Place a handful of salad greens on individual plates or in a large bowl, add a layer of nectarine slices and whole berries, scatter over the basil and toasted nuts and finish with a generous drizzle of the dressing.
  4. Serves 1 (or 2 starter-size salads)

I’m submitting this salad to the weekly blog hops Wellness Weekends and Healthy Vegan Fridays

What have you been making with the bounty of summer fruit recently? Do any whole foods bring back particular memories for you?

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on FacebookPinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!

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