Some individuals reminisce about sitting around the dinner table, Dad looking over skeptically, while Mom nervously walked around setting the table and making sure everything was perfect. Like many of you reading, I came from a broken, southern family and dinner was anything but healthy. Years later, I find myself celebrating my 8th year of being vegan in my apartment in Pittsburgh. A lot has changed over the last 10 years, and I am still constantly discovering new ways to incorporate nutritious ingredients into delicious meals.

The first step to healthy living was the addition of superfoods to my diet. Some popular superfoods include Quinoa, apple cider vinegar, avocado, apples, almonds, and bananas.

I try to incorporate at least one or two of these essential ingredients into every meal I make. After my first few years of vegan living, I found that my primary deficiency was not protein, but omega3, vitamin C, B12 and calcium. The following recipe contains a few of those essential nutrients, which enhance mood, metabolism, fat burning, energy and immunity.

Bring on the superfood

This recipe is my own concoction and contains three superfoods. Further, it is incredibly cheap, easy to make, and nutritious. Below are the necessary ingredients:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white or red quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cubed tofu
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts (optional)

First, boil 2 cups of water in a small pot.

Next, add in the quinoa, turn down to low heat, and cover for 15 minutes. While the quinoa cooks, toss the arugula with apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Now, set this aside, as it will serve as the base of your Salad Bowl.

Next, dice your serrano pepper, and sauté the diced pepper and cubed tofu with coconut oil and soy sauce on low/medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan for 7-10 minutes.

After the tofu starts to get brown, dice up the garlic clove and green onion and add them to the stir fry. It is important to add the garlic and green onion last, as they will turn bitter when cooked too long.

Once the quinoa has fully cooked and absorbed the water in the pot, throw it in your bowl on top of the arugula. Finally, add the contents of the stir fry to the bowl on top of the quinoa.

I like to mix everything together with a little extra soy sauce and add sliced almonds and pine nuts on top for garnish.

Now you're ready to eat

I have no problem eating this entire dish myself; however, some may find the serving size to be enough for two. The dish is savory, spicy, salty and even a little bit bitter -- all in one bowl. I've found in my own personal cooking and experimentation that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Though I am an avid lover of spicy food, the bitterness of the arugula and pine nuts in this dish help cut the spice level of the serrano peppers.

The best part of this dish is that it is 100% vegan and full of essential nutrients. As somebody who grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches and Top Ramen, this is a meal even the pickiest eater can appreciate.