Catherine’s Quinoa Salad (and why I’ll probably never cycle to Mexico)


My friend Catherine is biking to Mexico with her guy Mitch. Right now. They started in Vancouver, B.C. and are currently somewhere in California, sweating up hills and coasting down coastlines and basically just being awesome.

I admire them for this journey immensely.

Because though I’ve done my share of adventuring, it’s never been epic in the physical sense. I’ve landed in a country knowing no one with less than $100 in my backpack and a loose idea of getting work ‘under the table’, and I’ve camped and hiked and walked a lot of foreign miles–but cycling through three states and a province with all my survival gear strapped to me and my wheels?

Probably not going to happen in this lifetime. Neither is rock climbing, marathon running, or white-water rafting. I just don’t have that innate urge to push myself to physical extremes. Don’t get me wrong–I love a good brisk walk and a fast-paced yoga class. I need to get moving as much as the next person. But it’s on a different level, you know? And I’m okay with that.

Still, I have serious respect for people who choose to run, climb, or cycle somewhere for weeks at a time. The last time I saw Catherine I asked her if they’d been training for the trip. “Not really,” she said. “We’re just gonna go for it.”

So in ode to Catherine and her awesomeness, I’d like to share a recipe she gave me. It’s one she wrote in that book I told you about, that was a gift from my girlfriends back in July.

Catherine’s Cocolicious Quinoa Salad

2 cups uncooked quinoa

1 vegi bullion cube

1 cup chopped dried cranberries

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1 cup chopped blanched asparagus

In Catherine’s words: Cook the quinoa with the bullion cube. Mix everything else in. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in a little bit (or a lot) of love. Eat with friends and laughter.


I used cous cous instead of quinoa, because the grocery store was out of quinoa due to a world-wide shortage. I also added capers because I love them and sodium is my weakness. The next day I threw in some almonds and sunflower seeds with the leftovers. It was all good, every way. And so, so easy and quick.


If I had a big bowl in a different colour to use, I would have, because the yellow isn’t exactly making the cous cous pop, is it? But Joe and I moved to Portland last fall with nothing but a couple suitcases of clothes (my kitchenware from life before Korea is all in storage in Victoria), and more than one big coloured bowl just hasn’t been an essential purchase. I call these days our humble beginnings, even though for me at least, it’s just one of several beginnings I’ve begun in the last five years.


Crack open a little red wine to round out the meal, sit down at the cute new patio table you found on Craig’s List, light a candle, and think about your friend who shared the recipe, who’s pedalling her way south and who sent an email from the road with these words: The miles travelled feel pretty precious as we are little snails carrying everything with us. 

Catherine on the road

Precious miles–that deserves a toast.

Thank you, Catherine!

~C. xx

p.s.  Check out Catherine and Mitch’s cycling adventure here. (Image above taken from their blog.)

p.p.s. If you make this salad (or think you might), please tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear a few sweet details from your dinner experience.


  1. Living with Cat and feasting on her many decadent dishes – including her famous quinoa salad – was one of the highlights of my life in Vancouver. Here’s to powerhouse women that inspire – and amazing friends. How fortunate we are. XX (this post made me very happy Taitly! Thank you).

  2. Wow, what a fabulous journey your friend is doing. My mouth began to water where you added seeds and capers :) I’ve got couscous in the cupboard, fresh mint and parsley in the garden.. All I need is the rest… Will try one night after work and let you know how I get on. Yum!

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