Hello from London! For the past pre-holiday week I have been happily visiting one of my favorite cities in the UK – splendid, lovely London. Preparing for the chilly weather, I unearthed my winter gear from the back bin in my closet back in sunny Los Angeles. Goodbye tank tops, flip flops and ballet shoes, hello winter boots, warm socks, long sleeves, long scarves and red noses. Trekking around London in this icy weather requires a warm coat and frequent stops for hot peppermint, lemon-ginger tea and wide mugs of foamy soy lattes. Plenty of warm vegan porridge too! But it is so magical to trek through the crisp cold air over cobblestone streets, lovely winding paths, parks, historical sites, neighborhoods and underground “Tube” stations. But today, quickly, I wanted to pop in here and share a delicious side dish recipe I made last week…
This cinnamon-hinted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad has sweet cubes of roasted butternut squash, crunchy bits of celery, citrus, plump sweet organic raisins (cranberries work too!) and crunchy pan-toasted pecans. The very light dressing is a mixture of tahini, maple and cinnamon.
So far in London..
Walked alllllll over the city. Bundled up like a vegan burrrrrito. Thank you Vaute coat for keeping me warm!
Dinner at Mildred’s, Wild Food Cafe and more. I am SO impressed with London’s vegan options! I could seriously live here. So many more spots than the last time i visited over ten years ago. Every place has been fantastic!
Mornings are lovely too. Amazing coffee, matcha lattes, fruit and porridge for breakfasts
Broadway is one of the main things I miss about living in NYC, so I was super excited about seeing a show on the WestEnd, London’s version of Broadway. We saw a Saturday matinee show of Les Miserables starring the wonderful Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean. This was my third time seeing Les Mis and it was amazing, no surprise. But it felt extra special here in London. They used the spinning stage technique, something I had not seen yet with Les Mis. The show is a MUST see for any West End / Broadway fans visiting London.
We also took a boat ride to the O2 Arena and went to the ATP Tennis Finals to watch the Federer vs. Djokovic match, which was splendid. So fun.
But most of all in London, I love simply wandering the streets, listening to Londoners chat and stroll and mingle. This city is filled with friendly, charming energy — even despite the frigid temperatures! But luckily, no rain!
Thanksgiving Week! Need recipes? Check out these posts!..
Butternut Squash Pecan Crunch Quinoa Salad
- 4 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1 1/2 cups dry quinoa to cook)
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled de-seeded and cubed – about 2 cups cooked
- 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, organic
- 1 1/4 cups celery, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup raw pecans, chopped
- 2 tsp tahini, softened
- 1 large satsuma, peeled and chopped + 1/2 tsp zest (optional)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Prepare your quinoa – fluffy and light. Directions here. Add quinoa to a large mixing bowl.
- In a skillet, over high heat, toast the pecans for 2-3 minutes. Add them to the quinoa bowl.
- For the butternut squash: roast, steam or boil. Roasting brings out the most flavor. Boiling or steaming is the fastest. To roast, toss the squash with 1-2 tsp oil (I like virgin coconut or EVOO) and lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast at 415 degrees until tender. For boiling, simply boil in a pot of water until tender, then drain water.
- Add to the bowl: celery, raisins, citrus, butternut squash. Toss everything together. Then add the tahini, maple and cinnamon and fold until well distributed.
- Serve warm right away, or place in the fridge, covered, and serve when desired. This quinoa salad is delicious served warm or chilled.
- Optional ingredients to add: beans, tempeh bacon or cubed tempeh, skillet tofu, lentils. Also try: thinly sliced green apple, Medjool dates or pears.
Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Total time: 40 mins.
Tags: quinoa,vegan,side,recipe,salad,celery,butternut, cinnamon,grain,entree,
And don’t miss my Maple Pumpkin Pie for holiday dessert!