Home » Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Lemon-Garlic Cashew Dressing

Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Lemon-Garlic Cashew Dressing

You guysssssss…I have been slacking up a storm. I started 2018 with such promise – those morning workouts were getting…dare I say, enjoyable? And then I do believe I earned myself a little over-use injury (or 3…), paid a little visit to a podiatrist who told me exactly what I expected to hear (but didn’t want to hear – rest). I basically ignored his advice, made matters worse, and was then forced to rest some.

Needless to say, morning workouts went by the wayside for a few weeks. I mean, our elliptical really did crap out on us during this time, too, soooo…naturally one could use one of her 2 gym memberships, but I mean, WHY? Sometimes, I swear. C’mon, self.

This morning, though? 5:30am up and at’em – before my alarm, in fact. So, like 5:26am! And somehow that always makes things less painful in the morning. Of course I’m usually up every 30 minutes or so after 4am just anticipating the godawful sound of my alarm, but…SUCK IT UP, GIRLFRIEND. We also started a 30-minute resistance training class for our patients, so I’ve been joining in on that most days and that’s a nice little addition to.

I’ve also been on a major hiatus from the kitchen because I have an 18-month-old that thinks I’m her personal snuggle bug/mule…which I guess I am, but it is making getting anything done nearly impossible. I’d like to say I’m enjoying her neediness, but because lately it has been accompanied by a foul mood and way too many tears, I’m more than ready for vacation.

Monday night, I came home from work and got busy on this meal. When Mark texted saying he was running late and I was planning to leave in 10 minutes to take Shea to ice-skating lessons, the kitchen was in complete disarray. I was trying to get Shea in her coat and shoes to head out as she opened the back door and let Harlie run off…all while Piper is screaming, of course. Mark pulls in the driveway, hunts down Harlie, and Shea and I take off as soon as he returns with the dog. Ships passing in the night.

I didn’t have a chance to explain to Mark all that was going on with dinner. Quinoa + the beans and sweet potatoes, served with the arugula + tomato, topped with the Lemon-Garlic Cashew Dressing and a dollop of avocado/guac. He put everything into individual containers and put it all in the fridge. SIGH. It was delicious!!!!! A bit complex, but with that…the complex, fun, and unique flavors that are worth the bit of time. Even with a screaming 18-month-old around. Best dinner in a while! And that cashew dressing…OH BABY!

Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Lemon-Garlic Cashew Dressing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 servings (3/4 cup quinoa, ½ cup beans, ½ cup sweet potatoes, 3 Tbsp avocado, ~3 Tbsp cashew dressing)
Lemon-Garlic Cashew Dressing:
  • ¾ cup cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 ripe avocados, pits removed and diced
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 (15 oz) cans low-sodium black beans
  • 9 cups loosely packed arugula or baby spinach
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place hot water over cashews and garlic in a heat-safe bowl. Allow cashews to soften for 15-20 minutes. Drain about three-fourths of the water and transfer to a mini food prep or blender, along with the crushed red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, agave, and ¼ teaspoon salt; process until smooth and thin enough to drizzle over prepared bowls. Add additional water 1-2 tablespoons at a time to create the desired consistency. Set dressing aside.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the diced sweet potatoes with olive oil until well-coated. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss to evenly coat. Arrange 1-2 baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
  4. Combine the quinoa, broth, and cumin in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside, remaining covered, until ready to use.
  5. Place diced avocado in a small bowl and mash using the backside of a fork against the sides of the bowl, leaving small lumps for texture. Mix in the chopped cilantro, lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  6. Place black beans in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave 2-3 minutes or until hot, stirring half-way through.
  7. To assemble, top the quinoa with the sweet potatoes, beans, arugula/spinach, tomatoes, avocado mixture, and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Heather Cristo
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¾ cup quinoa, ½ cup beans, ½ cup sweet potatoes, 3 Tbsp avocado, ~3 Tbsp cashew dressing Calories: 598 Fat: 23.3 Carbohydrates: 81.4 Sugar: 9.4 Sodium: 558 Fiber: 15.1 Protein: 20.9 Cholesterol: 0
Be well,

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