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Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad

A few weeks back, Hodgson Mill contacted me about a recipe contest they were having and asked if I would be interested in participating. I haven’t really ever done a recipe contest, so I jumped on the opportunity excited about trying something new.

I was so excited when a big box arrived at my doorstep full of a variety of pastas, ranging from Bow Tie to Angel Hair.

What I really love about their pastas was that there wasn’t a bunch of added nonsense ingredients, it was all simple and natural!

Another great thing is that the pasta cooks BEAUTIFULLY! I’ve noticed with many whole wheat pastas that the texture can be somewhat hard and chewy, but this wasn’t at all. A great substitute for a non-wheat pasta without sacrificing the taste.

So when decided what to make with the pasta, I thought about one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Many of you may recognize this Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad:

It’s such a summery dish full of flavor! Not to mention it has veggies, healthy fats, grains, and protein. What’s more to love?! So I decided to take the inspiration from that dish, and transfer it into a pasta salad. Perfect for summer and for BBQ’s!

Lemon Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad

Adapted from: Lemon Quinoa Avocado Salad

Makes: 5-6 cups

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c. dry Hodgsen Mill’s bowtie pasta

2 c. spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 c. onion finely diced 

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 avocados diced

1 can chickpeas (or navy beans) drained and rinsed

1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half

(For the Dressing:)

Juice of 1 med/lg or 2 small lemons

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. agave

2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Fill a pot with water and a sprinkle of salt and bring to a boil. Cook pasta until done, about 7-9 minutes. Once done, drain pasta and set aside and let cool.

2. Using a food processor (or a really good knife), process cilantro and spinach until it becomes chopped, like so:

3. Add greens to a medium bowl and fold in diced garlic and onion. Next fold in tomatoes, avocado, and beans. Toss in cooked pasta, then pour dressing on top and fold into salad until coated.

4. Set in fridge for at least 10-15 minutes to let flavors set. 

*I was not paid to review this product. Any and all opinions are personally mine.

Healthy Living Class, Green Drinks, Sweet Eats, and Salads!

**Editors Note: This post was written in 2011, and the recipes in this post are the most popular recipes on my website! To find the recipes, scroll down to the bottom. If you would like to read how these recipes came about, continue reading below!**

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Last night I taught a healthy living class.

And like always, as the guest were arriving, I was behind on everything…

I had friends making Peanut Butter Pong Balls(made with almond butter instead), made my dad run to McDonalds to get some ‘samples’ (of no-no’s), and I was busy making sure things were set and ready to go…Oh and repeating in my mind the things I was going to say.

I decided to do a display table of ingredients I love that I think everybody should include in their daily eating lifestyle. Each had a little note card with info about the ingredient.

That, and I figured I would most likely forget to talk about them…so they were there for people to look at.

My mom asked why some of the notecards read, “Super Sexy” and “Totally Awesome” in which I basically replied, “That’s how I talk Maaaaoooommm DUH.”

When it came time, everybody crowded around me waiting to hear what I had to say. Pretty much through my whole presentation I was scatterbrained.

(This is a GREAT picture of me!)

“So these are Chia Seeds, they are full of Omega-3’s! Oh wait! Let’s talk about lunches!”

What the?

I’m also pretty sure in the beginning my voice shook like thunder due to nerves, and I sounded like I wanted to cry. I also said the phrase, “I could pound it when it came to eating…”

My grandma that was there had NO idea what I was talking about…

All together though, I had such an amazing time. It meant the world to me to have the people that I loved, look up to, and even leaders who taught me, be there and support me and my passion.

I tried my best to get my message across, and I am praying tonight that people understood more than, “Uh dummm…I like Spinach. It’s tasty…I like to drink it too.”

🙂

Besides that, I wanted everyone to know that this world that God has created for us brings forth so many amazing whole, fresh, and natural foods. We need to stop feeding our bodies packaged, processed, mass produced, and an excess of animal products.  We need to start giving our body the wholesome food that it deserves and needs to survive, which are things like grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes.

I also figured if anything,  I could win over there hearts with samples.

My first sample was a green smoothie, which if you know me is an obvious choice for a sample. 🙂

I really wanted to get across that adding a green smoothie into your every day lifestyle will do wonders in it self. Your giving your body things that you would most likely not eat on its own, especially in its raw state (not cooked, doused with dressing, etc.).

They are great for babies, toddlers, kids, AND adults. Not to mention, they are SO versatile. If you follow me on facebook, you might have heard that a smoothie made with milk, spinach, kale, chard, cocoa powder, cherries, and bananas is like dessert! (Something that NO one would complain about 🙂 )

But I have to say I am kind of mean. I didn’t just do an original green drink. I made it hard core and beefed it up with tons of greens…

I really wanted them to like me.

Everything Green Smoothie

Everything Green Smoothie
 
*This smoothie makes quite a bit and could easily serve two adults. Unless your like me and can eat for two, then you could drink it all on it's own. It could also serve 2-3 kids, one mama and 2 children...etc.. :-)
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 c. non dairy milk, more if needed for thinning out smoothie
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • handful of fresh kale, no stems
  • handful of swiss chard
  • 2 green apple, cold and cit into slices/core removed
  • ½ medium cold cucumber
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1 TB. chia seeds
  • sweetener of choice, stevia is what I used/honey works well too (1-2 tsp.)
  • 1½ c. ice
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy. Drink immediately. Enjoy!

I could tell people were a little worried when it came to try it.

That’s ok, I made sure I shoved one down everyones throat whether they liked it or not. 🙂

Next came a little something sweet:

Peanut Butter Protein and Energy Balls. (I made them with almond butter instead though.)

Everyone really enjoyed these. They were something sweet that you could pop in your mouth if you wanted to satisfy your sweet tooth. OR, if you need a boost during the day, wanted a snack after a workout, or even something for your kiddos after school. Naturally sweetened, full of healthy fats, proteins, and made with….Love…

Awe.

Up next we had a Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad.

Yet again, I was mean and didn’t make their sample with quinoa. I actually was thinking later that night that throwing in some grain would definitely add more “Va Va Voom” to this meal, so the next day I made it again.

You get your protein from the beans and quinoa, some good grains from the quinoa, healthy fats from the avocados, veggies from the spinach and tomatoes, and delicious-ness from the tasty dressing.

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. dry quinoa
  • 1½ c. vegetable broth
  • (OR 1 c. prepared/cooked quinoa)
  • 1 c. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ diced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, bottom stems cut off
  • 2 c. spinach
  • (dressing)
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 juicy lemon, or two not so juicy lemons :)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I like to use a rice cooker on the white rice setting to make it easy!
  2. Once the quinoa is cooked, set it aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, add cilantro and spinach. Process the greens until the are chopped up finely.
  4. In a bowl, add the chickpeas, chopped greens, tomatoes, avocado, onion, and garlic.
  5. In a bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the salad.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Let sit in the fridge until ready to eat! Enjoy!

Salad originally adapted from Oh She Glows, Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad.

I found an unpleasant surprise in my cilantro.

Yuck. Dirt is so disgusting.

This is hands down one of my favorite salads to date!

Everything turned out to be such a success! I am so grateful for those that came out to support me!

And of coarse, none of this would be possible without you guys!! Thanks for coming back each and every day and supporting me…

I know things tend to get a little “Cray Cray” over here some times…

Come back Friday and see what Baby Boo is eating off those beaters. :-)!

Top Posts of 2012

This has been an extremely blessed, successful, and full of happiness kind of year which I am forever grateful for! Of coarse I’m sad it’s coming to an end, and that my littles are growing up faster than beyond my control, but I am excited for the new adventures that next year will bring! (A new job/state/friends/far away from loved ones/etc.)

To add to that, this blog in general has grown beyond my imagination and I can’t even begin to thank and send virtual hugs to those that have been readers, sent kind emails, comments, tweets, etc. my way. I want you to know I read and appreciate every.single.one!

In honor of the blog, I thought I would share and take a look back at some of the ‘Top Posts’ over the coarse of 2012, ranging between foodie to non foodie! Thanks again for all your support and love! Without you guys, none of this would be possible!

1. Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad

2. Homemade Diva Ding Dongs

3. Hearty Whole Grain Basil Bread

4. Peanut Butter Pong Balls

5. S’mores Milkshake

6. Butternut Squash Pizza Crust

7. Crock Pot Indian Spiced Lentils

8. Chickpea Salad Sand Which (2 kinds!)

Strawberry Basil & Regular

9. Cinnamon Rolls

10. Grain Free Sugar Free Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie

11. 15 Minute Lemon Parsley Spinach Salad

12. Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup (Or Chickpea Soup!)

1. All about Green Drinks 101                                           2. The Healthy Grocery List

3. Chia Seeds 101                                                                   4. Toddler Food and Picky Eaters (Pt. 2 is coming!)

1. Magnetic Makeup Board/Brush Holders                    2. Boo’s First Birthday-Vintage Circus

3. Boo’s Second Birthday-Minnie Mouse Themed

4. Introducing Sweet Pea

Also friends, if there is anything new you want to see hear on the Diva Dish I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your input! 🙂 XOXOXO

 

Main Meals

Almond Sesame Tofu

Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Chicken/chickpea Sandwiches

Butternut Squash Pizza Crust-Vegan, Gluten Free

Chickpea Salad Sandwhich-Vegan

Chili Cornbread Casserole-Vegetarian

Colorful Quesadilla-Vegetarian

Crockpot Indian Spiced Lentils-Vegetarian

Crockpot Tempeh Veggie Chili-Vegetarian

Goat Cheese Black Bean Burger-Vegetarian

Grilled Lemony Dill Veggie Sand which-Vegan, Vegetarian, Can be Gluten Free

Hugh Jass Burrito-Vegan

Layered Cous Cous Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole-Vegan

Lemon Parsley Spinach Pasta (15 minutes)-Vegetarian, Vegan

Lemon Pasta Cilantro Avocado Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Nut Butter Coated Sweet Potato Fries-Vegan

Orange Glazed Chickpeas with Sesame Grilled Zucchini-Vegan and Meat eaters options

Pesto Roasted Veggie Nut Pizza-Vegan

Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes-Vegan

Pumpkin Macaroni N’ Goat Cheese-Vegan option

Roasted Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce-Vegan

Roasted Quinoa Bean Burger-Vegan

Simple Roast Chicken-How To

Squash Pockets-Vegetarian

Strawberry Basil Chickpea Salad Sandwich-Vegetarian,

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers-Vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Boats-Vegan, Vegetarian

Swiss Chard Veggie Wrap-Vegan, Vegetarian

Taco Salad-Vegan, Vegetarian

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad-Vegetarian, can be Non-Dairy

Turkey Burger, BEST recipe!!

Turkey Meatballs over Cooked Spaghetti Squash