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Wholesome Seasonal Quinoa Salad for Whole Kids Foundation™ And a Giveaway

Wholesome Quinoa Salad with Fall Market Vegetables

A few days ago, I was approached by

Whole Foods

to help them create awareness about better eating in schools. Through their

Whole Kids Foundation

, they have been working to improve childhood nutrition by increasing the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables, both at schools and at home. The foundation just kicked off its annual fundraiser to support school salad bar and garden grant programs and nutrition education classes for teachers.

Well, nothing is closer to my heart than changing dietary choices for a better life, and, I immediately agreed to enable the campaign! They asked me to create a healthy and nutritious salad that would tempt you to choose it over another meal. It also fit just right with my own health kick. So, in the spirit of the initiative as well as my personal goal, I chose to go completely vegetarian. I went nearly vegan but I could not say no to some Parmesan shavings. Well, what is life without cheese, eh?! ;-)

DSC_02Wholesome Seasonal Quinoa Salad for Whole Kids Foundation™84-2

While I really like salads, I am not a huge leaves fan. It makes me feel way too bovine. Besides, I feel like it just quite as satisfying as eating a whole meal. I think there are quite a few people who share my opinion and it is probably reflected in the choices of food we make everyday. So, I wanted to create a recipe that is not quite reminiscent of the stereotype of salads but is nevertheless light and healthy. Also, since the colder season has started, it HAD to be something warm.

So, my choice was a

warm quinoa salad with seasonal vegetables and green, parmesan shavings and pomegranates

. Everything local, organic and seasonal, courtesy of Whole Foods.

That's my part! Whole Foods is also making it easier for you to be healthy. I am partnering with them to bring you an

awesome giveaway - a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card

. To enter, please leave a comment with how you would make healthier food choices. Giveaway is open until October 6, 2013.

Wholesome Quinoa Salad with Fall Market Vegetables

More information on Whole Kids Foundation™

Through its annual fundraiser this September, the foundation hopes to raise $3 million to help schools across the country make healthier changes in the lunchroom and classroom through its three key programs: salad bars, gardens and nutrition education classes for teachers. The foundation has funded 2,600 salad bars and 1,600 school gardens giving more than 2.2 million kids access to healthier food since its inception in 2011. Whole Kids Foundation’s

School Garden Grant Program

, created in partnership with

FoodCorps

, is accepting applications now through Oct. 31. and applications for the

Salad Bar Grant Program

are accepted on an ongoing basis at wholekidsfoundation.org or saladbars2schools.org.

Wholesome Quinoa Salad with Fall Market Vegetables

Wholesome Seasonal Quinoa Salad for Whole Kids Foundation™

1-1/2 cups quinoa, mix red and regular

3 carrots, chopped, 1 inch lengths

1/2 lb green beans, chopped, 1 inch lengths

1/2 small onion, julienne + 1/4 raw for garnish

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 radishes, sliced

1 head of bok choy, leaves torn

juice of half a lime

wedge of parmesan to shave on top

fruity olive oil for tossing

pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)

salt and pepper for seasoning

Cook the quinoa according to instructions. While it cooks, saute all the vegetables, except the bok choy until just soft but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the torn bok choy leaves at the bottom of the salad bowl. When the quinoa is done, add the hot grain on top of the leaves. It will flash cook them, leaving them wilted but with structure. Also the stem will give the salad a good crunch. Add the cooked vegetables, lime juice, oil. Gently toss the salad and adjust seasoning.

Sprinkle the radish slices and raw onion on top and generously top with parmesan shavings. Sprinkle pomegranate arils if using and serve immediately!

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