Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: Quesadillas, Spinach and Quinoa Salad, and Roasted Mashed Cauliflower

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As usual our communal meal this week was vegetarian and gluten-free (as long as you make the quesadillas with corn tortillas). We're really enjoying this experiment in communal eating and are curious—do you have lunch with co-workers? If you have a group meal, let us know—we're always looking for new inspiration and ideas!


Green Quesadillas with Avocado Mash and Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas

The fillings for these two quesadillas were cooked the night before, then assembled and baked just before lunch.

Green Quesadillas
Makes 2


1 ripe avocado

Big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch cayenne

2 tsp olive oil

1 leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced

1/4 cup sliced red onion

Coarse salt

1/2 cup cooked green lentils

1/2 cup goat or havarti cheese, optional

4 whole-wheat tortillas (or corn, to make them gluten-free)


1. In a small bowl, roughly mash avocado with the back of a fork. Add cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and cayenne and stir to combine.

2. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the leeks and red onion with a pinch salt. Cook until soft and just beginning to caramelize, then stir in the lentils until heated through.

3. To assemble, lay one tortilla in a hot pan. Top with half the leek mixture and cheese, if using. Spread half the avocado mixture onto second tortilla and place on top. Cook about 2 minutes or until the bottom is lightly golden, then carefully flip and cook another 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Slice and serve warm.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
Serves 4


2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

6 ounces (about 8 cups) prewashed spinach, shredded

Coarse salt and ground pepper

8 flour tortillas (8-inch) (or corn, to make them gluten-free)

8 ounces (2 cups) pepper Jack cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until they're tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add spinach in two batches, letting the first batch wilt slightly before adding the next; cook until spinach is completely wilted and mixture is dry, 2 to 3 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Brush one side of tortillas with remaining tablespoon oil. Place 4 tortillas, oiled sides down, on two baking sheets. Layer each tortilla with cheese, spinach mixture, and more cheese, dividing evenly. Top with the remaining 4 tortillas, oiled sides up, and lightly press to seal.

4. Bake until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, turning them once, about 10 minutes. To serve, cut quesadillas into quarters.

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

We're always looking for new ways to use one of our favorite grains and this salad recipe from Gina Homolka seemed like a perfect fit. With all the citrus piling into my local Fairway recently, it was easy to find delicious grapefruit. I doubled this recipe and added a little more for our large group.


4 oz baby spinach

2 grapefruits, peeled and fruit separated, reserving 3 slices

1 haas avocados, diced

1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup dry)

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp champagne vinegar

2 tbsp chopped shallots

salt and pepper to taste

grapefruit juice from 3 reserved slices of grapefruit


1. Rinse quinoa well under cold water and cook according to package directions. Drain and let it cool.

2. Peel the skin and white membrane off the grapefruit and separate the pieces. Reserve three grapefruit slices for the vinaigrette and squeeze the juice; set aside. Cut up the remaining grapefruit into small pieces for the salad.

3. In a medium bowl whisk the olive oil, grapefruit juice (from 3 slices of grapefruit), vinegar, chopped shallots, salt and pepper.

4. In a large bowl toss spinach, quinoa, avocado, grapefruit and vinaigrette.

Roasted Mashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions

(vegan and gluten-free)


3 heads cauliflower; cut into florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt



2 red onions

1 tablespoon garlic

1 cup Silk or Almond brand coconut milk



1. Toss the cauliflower with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sea salt, paprika and pepper. Roast it at 325 degrees until lightly browned.

2. Caramelize the onions with 1 Tbsp olive oil.

3. Puree the cauliflower with coconut milk in a food processer or blender. In bowl, stir in finished onions and sprinkle with parsley. Do everything to taste.

Dark Chocolate

It seems like every day there's another study extoling the virtues of dark chocolate (this recent one suggests it may enhance skeletal muscle function), so we finished the meal on a sweet note with Theo Organic Orange Dark Chocolate.

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