Kabocha Quinoa Kimbap


As I’ve posted before, kimbap is a surefire staple of Korean convenience food. And in Korea, convenience food often seems to be a foremost fare. It’s the “bali bali” lifestyle here—not as in the relaxed, easygoings of Indonesia’s most chilled-out hood—as in, “hurry! hurry!”

Here, restaurants are up and running in two days. Here, you run in the hallways, whether you’re a student or seon-saeng-nim (teacha!), because walking is wasting time. Everywhere has high-speed internet. Buses might as well have full-body, roller-coaster-style seatbelts and overhead bars to counteract their breakneck pace (this about sums it up). Co-pee and kimbap comes ready-made at GS25, 24/7. Everything should have been done by yesterday, but that probably wouldn’t be fast enough anyways.

Anyways. For me here, there’s yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and unnecessarily (or maybe just really necessary) long pee breaks. And trying to engrain in my students’ brains that it’s okay(!!) to take a little time to relax and unwind. I’ve got my own version of kimbap too—it’s loaded with good stuff to keep your belly happy for a long time, but thankfully its prep is just as palli palli as you might need.


So what exactly qualifies as kimbap? That one’s pretty easy. In Korean, “kim” is the seaweed paper used to wrap things up, while “bap” simply means rice. Hence, “kimbap.” As for the filler, Kabocha squash is common to Korea and always well-stocked at the grocery store, making it a no-brainer for my beta-carotene-packed rolls. And you already know how I feel about the best little protein powerhouse pseudograin quinoa. Combine that with some tahini for extra stomach staying power and you have a magical trifecta, a fare for fuel at all hours, and rightfully so—kimbap here serves as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an easy snack.


While I’ve yet to see this variety served up at a little local “orange shop” (our foreigner name for standard Korean kimbap shops), I sure hope it pops up soon!

Kabocha Quinoa Kimbap (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, nut-free)

Makes 2-3 rolls



1 cup quinoa

1/2 kabocha squash

swiss chard leaves (or any sturdy green), washed and patted dry


coconut aminos, soy sauce, or tamari for dipping, if desired


Deseed your kabocha squash and cut it into chunks (if you can get them into strips all the more power to you, mine turned out more like cubes with my dull knives here) and roast in the oven with coconut oil, salt, and pepper, checking halfway through to flip. While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa on your stovetop. Allow the quinoa to cool, but not too much—I find these stick together better with the heat from the grains, it almost seems to steam the roll shut.

To make the roll, layer in this order: greens, quinoa, squash, drizzle of tahini. Roll your veggies up, using water to seal the roll. Slice thinly and enjoy immediately, or do it Korean-style: wrap tightly in aluminum foil, grab a pair of chopsticks, and take it for the road!



How Your Can Have Your Quinoa and Eat it Too (and not ruin any Bolivians’ lives)




How timely of me, to finally come back with an article using Quinoa.

Especially after this whole fiasco—a poorly disguised, fact-lacking attack on vegetarians and vegans who are, the author says, more or less just infatuated with quinoa’s cute little spirals and low-fat attributes. (Not to mention goes on to say vegans’ demands for soy products are basically ruining the universe, when in actuality the majority of soy produced around the world—97 per cent, according to the UN—is grown for animal feed).


A Bolivian woman on the La Paz local bus from my 2010 South American trip. Perhaps she’s snacking on puffed quinoa?

While it is true, as the article points out, that the west’s increasing demand for Bolivian quinoa has made the pseudo-grain more expensive across the globe, including for those who farm the crop in its native Andes, the rising demand and subsequent increased production has been a very direct and concerted effort by the Morales government in order to boost their economy and avoid purchasing GMO seeds like Monsanto’s. Their plan of action calls for providing small-scale farmers with non-gmo seeds, saving heirloom seeds, and reducing fossil fuel consumption. This is also the country who, just last month, ousted McDonald’s, and gives a sh!t or two about Pacha Mama, a.k.a. Mama Earth. Hmm.. Maybe we could take a lesson.


Witches’ Market in La Paz

All that said, I don’t want to imply that everything’s hunky-dory in Bolivia. While it is a beautiful country, with incredible scenery and unique topography, it’s also home to South America’s poorest and a decline in quinoa consumption for Bolivians is not ideal since it is such a nutritious staple in their traditional diets. However, the country as a whole could boost their economy significantly more and benefit more diversely from pushing quinoa as an export, perhaps even enough to make the country a better place to live.

So, omnivores, vegetarians, vegans—people, really, you can all have your quinoa and eat it too. This week, here’s how I recommend doing it.


These pancakes are excellent—protein-packed and served with a slight nuttiness from the quinoa, they beg for some maple syrup. Pure, perfect comfort food, made better. My mom made them on Christmas Day and I’ve had a hankering since. This recreation does not disappoint!

Quinoa Pancakes (dairy-free, sugar-free)

Inspired by True Food Kitchen, adapted from this recipe



1 cup all-purpose flour (sure you could sub gluten-free, I don’t have my fully-stocked kitchen in Korea so I made do!)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup non-dairy milk (soy really helps to thicken them up)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (veganize by replacing with a flax egg)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil

whipped coconut cream, slivered almonds, and maple syrup or honey (if desired for topping)


In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and eggs until everything is combined and there are no clumps. Add in the quinoa, making sure it isn’t clumping in balls.

Heat the coconut oil on a griddle on medium-high and ladle the batter onto the pan, flipping when bubbles form. Serve topped with coconut butter, coconut cream, nuts, fruits, syrup and feel nourished!


(if my cakes look a little less fluffy, it’s because I didn’t have baking powder! hopefully yours will have a little more perk ^^)


A Salad My Own Size

My usual problem with salads?

Well… they’re salads.

What my grandpa refers to as bird food, and what are usually just not enough for my Hungry-Man appetite. The kind of appetite traditionally considered large enough only for a male. I’m 6 foot 2, and usually active, so that’s kinda my excuse.

That’s why I need a super-powered salad, packed with superfoods, plenty of protein, and lots of fibre to keep the stomach growlies away.

Now I can pick at something my own size: The All-Star Salad.

(although clearly what I need to be picking is the weeds on my patio. I’m sorry.)

I love Fresh (maybe a little too much)—I frequently try and redirect hangouts to one of their three Toronto locations, where green smoothies are acceptable appetizers, kale is abundant, and the cupcakes and cookies are irresistible. (Seriously. Everytime I walk away without one, it jumps into my mouth before I’m even out the door. It’s not my fault). I’ll admit I wish they didn’t use canola oil for frying, and I don’t believe they use organics, which is kind of a downer considering how much good stuff they’ve got going on—that said, of healthy on-the-go spots, this one’s still near the top.

Last summer, when the All-Star Salad was a special, I spent half my time dragging friends to go eat it with me, and the other half trying to recreate it at home.

(an early incarnation)

I’ll admit, it’s quite a lot of work for a salad… but that’s what makes it SO good.

So when Angela posted her version on Tuesday, and Fresh’s Newsletter mailed out the honest-to-goodness authentic recipe on Thursday, I knew all of the forces of god and goodness were coming together to tell me one thing: MAKE THIS SALAD. (It’s an important message for the gods to deliver methinks.)

And so I did.

Salads, you win. This time.

The All-Star Salad (vegan, gluten-free, high in protein)

(adapted from Fresh Restaurants newsletter, re-inspired by Oh She Glows)


(I omitted the Tofu because a) I don’t love soy and b) this bad boy is already packed with protein)

Salad Mix: (you can store these leftovers together in a Ziploc with a paper towel to absorb moisture, just leave the goji berries out)

4 cups               Kale, washed, deveined, and shredded

½ cup               Parsley, chopped

½ cup               Cilantro, chopped

3 cups               Sunflower Sprouts (or other sprouts!)

4 tsp                  Goji Berries (raisins or currants will do in a pinch)

Quinoa Tabouleh:

2 ½  cups cooked quinoa

1/2 can adzuki beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup shelled edamame

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 green onion, diced (the Fresh recipe calls for red onion)

3 tbsp olive oil

4 ½ tsp tamari

Toss everything together.

Grilled Sweet Potato:

Brush both sides of each slice of sweet potato with extra-virgin olive oil (or better, coconut oil) and cook in panini grill until tender. If you don’t have a panini grill, cook in 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet, turning once, until tender.

Toasted Nuts & Seeds:


Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Place in 350 degree oven for a few minutes until toasted.  Toss once or twice.


For one salad, layer: a generous heap of salad mix, 1 scoop of quinoa tabouleh, a few slices of sweet potato, and a tbsp of toasted nuts and seeds. Top with dressing of your choice (I used Angela’s red-wine vinagrette)

Oh. And though it might not look it, this recipe was given the go-ahead by the original Hungry Man. Certified Luke-Approved.