green apple tahini quinoa.

PJ_Amy-5Plate Joy makes everything look beautiful! 

If you’ve ever needed an excuse to combine some of the most delicious whole foods in one dish – tahini, ginger, quinoa, garlic, apple, maple syrup – here it is.

This is quickly becoming a favorite in our house, as it’s easy to throw together with things already on hand or prepped in the fridge.

To break it down into several do-in-advance steps to make for a quick weeknight dinner:

1/ Precook quinoa.
This takes about 15 minutes [2 minutes active time] and you can prep this while you do other things in the kitchen, like making tea or a snack or dinner for another night.

2/ Make sauce in advance.
Combine the tahini, ginger, lemon juice, maple syrup and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Store in an airtight container. Eat on everything.

3/ Pre-wash/pre-chop spinach and apples.
Spinach is best when stored dry, and apples may brown if left in the fridge for more than a day, but a splash of lemon juice will help prevent their turning color (and frozen or pre-washed, clamshell-packed spinach solves the former problem).

Do any of these in advance and you’ll save 5-15 minutes when you want to put dinner together. This recipe, too, makes for a great lunch option on the fly.

Here’s why I love it:

1/ Balanced!
Low-sugar fruit, green veggies, plant-protein, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory + digestion-promoting roots all in one dish. Huzzah.

2/ Cleansing!
The bright citrusy flavor from the lemon juice isn’t just delicious, it’s also packed with vitamins AND helps work toxins from the liver and kidneys. Nice.

3/ Filling!
A great combo of protein (quinoa) and fat (tahini) helps the body register fullness more easily – which means you can walk away from lunch feeling nourished, not snacky.

As far as the sugar content goes, green apple is one of the lowest sugar fruits available (compared to say, a tropical fruit like pineapple or mango) and maple syrup is a great low-glycemic, fructose-free sweetener. If your body doesn’t dig either one, no worries: swap in zucchini or cubed butternut squash for the apple (just up your cook time by ~5-6 minutes) and omit the syrup from the sauce. You may wish to add more garlic instead: it’ll change the flavor of the dish, but in a deliciously savory way.

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You can also mix up the grain (amaranth, teff, brown rice, barley (if you’re not gluten-intolerant) would work well here, meaning more flexibility if you happen to have a different grain prepped for your week. The version pictured above, photographed by the fabulous folks at Plate Joy, uses farro -- a variety of wheat that is toothsome and very filling, but not a good option if you can't have gluten. 

So in the name of balance, nourishment and your tastebuds, go forth and make this for dinner!



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green apple tahini quinoa.
Serves 1
balanced, energizing and packed with nutrients: grain salad at its best!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. ½ cup quinoa
  2. ½ tsp fresh ginger
  3. ½ lemon
  4. 1 tbsp tahini
  5. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 1 ½ tsp minced garlic, divided
  7. ½ green apple, cubed (skin on or off, depending on your preference)
  8. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  9. 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Bring quinoa and 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Leave covered and remove from heat.
  2. In the meantime, grate fresh ginger. Combine ginger with tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup and 1 tsp minced garlic in a small bowl and stir thoroughly until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a deep saute pan or skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil until glistening. Add remaining minced garlic cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add spinach and apple to the saute pan and cook about 2 minutes until spinach is wilted, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  5. Add quinoa and tahini dressing to the saute pan. Stir to combine, season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
From The Ground Up Wellness
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Posted in dinner, gluten-free recipes, health coaching info, homepage featured, lunch, recipes, side dishes

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