Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Themed Stack Salad

So, Thanksgiving is next week, as everyone knows, and the blog-o-sphere has erupted with holiday themed recipes.  We are spending the weekend with my parents, so I won't actually have to do a lot of cooking.  Mama V is very excited about what she's making her vegan 1st born, so I'll probably just get to stand back, drink wine, and take pictures.

I still wanted to make something that had a Thanksgiving feel to it, so Sunday, I set off to make Thanksgiving Stacked Salads.  For me, the meal is not complete without brussels sprouts, so I kind of built the whole salad around that.  Now, as a critique on the recipe I haven't even given you yet, I think this salad would be amazing if there was some sort of cranberry salad dressing that went on top.  Live and learn.  Maybe next year I will improve.

Thanksgiving Stack Salad

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock + additional 1/4 cup
Roughly 4 cups uncooked brussels sprouts
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (sub walnuts if you want)
1 lemon
2 cups mini portabello mushrooms
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 yellow onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
4 cups raw baby spinach
1 cup chopped raw carrot
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme


  1. Cook quinoa and vegetable stock per package instructions.  (I cooked mine in my rice cooker)
  2. Chop ends off sprouts, cut in half, put in 9x11 baking dish with pine nuts.  Drizzle over olive oil.  Cover in aluminum foil and cook at 400 dF for 25 minutes.
  3. While that is cooking, sautee mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, and onion in a pain with the remaining 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or use more olive oil if you aren't watching calories).  Add salt, pepper and thyme.  Cooked until vegetables are tender and the stock is absorbed.
  4. Remove sprouts from the oven, take off foil, squeeze juice from the lemon, add salt and pepper as desired and put back in the oven.  Bake another 15 minutes, or until sprouts begin to brown.  Desired crispiness varies.
  5. Let all ingredients cool.
  6. Assemble salads!  1/2 cup quinoa at the bottom, the 1/4 of the brussels sprout mixture, then 1/4 mushrooms, then spinach, then carrots!
  7. Store in the fridge up to a week.

I may not be at my physically best, but this week my eating has been spot on.  I'm just focusing on eating high quality foods in portions that will fuel me but not over fill me, and I'm not mindlessly snacking.  That's definitely my biggest problem.

I was pretty hungry when I woke up, so I went for the vitamix.  For this smoothie, I used hemp milk, avocado, banana, spinach and ice.

I added a lot of ice to the smoothie, which made it nice and frothy.  I had enough to put away for tomorrow.  It was really yummy.  I hit the gym at lunch and did some arm and ab work, which made me feel really good.  There was some negative chatter going on in my head, because the gym is new to me and I'm not as strong as I want to be, but I know if I stick with it, I will get more comfortable and that will go away.  The key is to not get bogged down and give up when you're uncomfortable.

When I got back, I got to try my stack salad, and it was great.  I really do think that a cranberry sauce would just set this over the top!

I was pretty sad when I realized I didn't pack a clementine for an after lunch treat, but I still had almonds for a mid-afternoon snack.

For dinner, Josh and I were hungry when we got home, and we still had a ton of work to do.  So, we pulled together some lasagna and a salad.  This dish gets better every time you re-heat it.  I'm mulling in my head some kind of tempeh dish to make tomorrow night.

Overall, I'm stressed, but I didn't let it change my healthy eating path.  I really need to always remember how much better I feel when I'm eating right.  So, I'm going to keep it up!

How is your week going?  Are you stressed or excited about the holidays?  Or both?


  1. I'm loving that salad! I bought some tall containers so I can start making these salads sometime soon - they always look so delicious! Which model of the Vitamix do you have? Do you love it?

    1. I have kind of the bare bones vitamix, as in it doesn't have the dial on it to vary the speed, which I would have liked to have sprung for, but I get along just fine without it. i LOVE my vitamix. it's a wonderful device.

      Stack salads are the best!!!

  2. [ Smiles ] That vegan recipe of yours gets my stamp of approval!

  3. I need to try the whole stacked salad thing! I always bring salads to work with everything in separate containers, but I don't really know why I do it that way.

    1. it's soooo easy, and i like making layers and shaking it. i just keep dressing at work


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