The Best Quinoa Salad Ever!

The Best Quinoa Salad ever!

My dear friend Monica introduced me to cold quinoa salad recently, and I’ve spent the last four months or so trying to create the ultimate recipe. I’ve come a long way from just tossing a couple veggies and whatever quinoa was on sale with some apple cider vin and olive oil.

My final recipe is a masterpiece. This is by far the best quinoa salad I have ever had, and possibly one of the best salad’s I’ve ever had.

The magic is in the dressing, which I can’t take total credit for. Jennifer Harris, local queen of fermentation and pickling, showed me how to make dressing with sauerkraut. The recipe here is my edited version.

The latest edit to this dish is the roasted brussels sprouts. It’s my go-to veggie that always pleases my household and takes 5 seconds to make. (That’s not true it takes like 20 min, but it can be done while multitasking.)



I started with roasting the brussels and letting them cool. Then I made the quinoa, transferred to a large bowl and then stuck in the fridge to chill. This recipe is NOT good if the quinoa hasn’t completely chilled so be patient.



While all be chillin’, make your dressing and chop your veggies.


This recipe makes A LOT of food so use your biggest bowl to mix. Toss all your ingredients and enjoy! This recipe is easily made vegan if you sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock when making the quinoa.

To make a meal out of it, cook up some chicken sausage on the side, and bam, happy and full household!




For The Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

-Approx. 20 Brussels sprouts

-1 TBSP olive oil

-1/2 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp salt

dash of pepper

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter the sprouts, toss sprouts in oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for approx. 12-15 min or until golden brown around the edges. Set aside.


For the Quinoa:

-3 cups of quinoa ( I used 1.5 cups of sprouted quinoa because its easier to digest and 1.5 cups of red quinoa, strictly because it looks cool.)

-1.5 cups of chicken stock and 1.5 cups of filtered water. (sub vegetable stock to make this recipe vegan.)

Lightly toast the dry quinoa in a large skillet, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. You will start to smell a toasted, nutty aroma and eventually hear a bit of crackling. That’s when you know its time to add the liquid. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 min. Do not over-cook. Al dente quinoa is better than mushy, especially for this dish. Put in fridge to chill.

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Bubbies Sauerkraut ( I only use traditional, fermented sauerkraut.)
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard (Any kind will work, but I like to use Dijon.)
  • 1 TBSP local honey
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Blend dressing ingredients in a magic bullet or food processor until most of the kraut chunks are blended thoroughly.

For the Salad:

  • 1 small stalk of broccoli , chopped
  • 1/2 of a small head of purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • avocado, sliced to your preference

Throw it all together and toss well with a little S & P to taste! Test out the recipe and let me know how it turns out!



Italy in Sonoma County @ DaVero


Sonoma County’s climate and soil are the closest to that of Italy than any other area in the world. So, it’s no wonder we’re known for our fine food, wine and other unique libations. There are plenty of wineries and restaurants doing things “Italian,” but there is only one Farm+Winery that is truly living the “Italian Way,” and that’s DaVero in Healdsburg, CA.


Ridgely Evers bought this gorgeous piece of land in 1982. It was mostly planted with vines at the time, but Ridge had bigger dreams. His partner, Colleen McGlynn, came on to the scene in 1993 with a passion for farming and culinary creativity passed down from her family. They wanted to produce the greatest olive oil Sonoma County had ever tasted, so they traveled to Italy and brought back cuttings from the best olive trees in the whole country. Before planting anything on the land, Ridge and Colleen discovered that the soil had been abused for many years, and they knew they needed to replenish the earth before they could plant the dream farm that they both had in mind. As a result of their soil amendment efforts, DaVero is now a certified biodynamic farm. Click here to learn more about the origin and definition of Biodynamics.

When referring to his land Ridge will say, “Look at what God has done here. She has done some amazing work. And if you’re wondering about the gender I have assigned to her, just look around. There’s no way a man could have created this beauty.”


Ridge was kind enough to invite me, and staff and guests of Rosso Pizzeria + Wine Bar for a tour and tasting on July 2nd, 2015. We toured the property and ate fresh strawberries off the vine. I got to practice using my new camera to take some pretty cool pictures. After the tour, we sat at a long farm table under a trellis of recycled Wisteria vines and tasted their wines. Colleen served us plates of fresh veggies and dried fruits, all from the garden, as well as some incredible cheeses. Winemaker and cellarmaster, Evan LaNouette schooled us on traditional Italian winemaking while Ridge helped pour and tell stories.

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Evan and Ridge were destined to work together. Sagrantino is the wine that brought them together and they are making an amazing vintage of their own. My personal favorite was the 2011 Carignano from Testa Family Vineyard in Mendocino. I keep discovering that the wines I tend to love the most come from that area. I am a sucker for foggy climates and earthy undertones. You can learn more about their current releases here.

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The most enjoyable part of the whole experience was seeing the passion behind everyone who works there. Ridge and Colleen are living the dream in every aspect of the phrase. Winemaker, Evan came to Sonoma County to do one thing, make reputable Italian wines with people whose love, passion and drive met his, and that’s exactly what he found in Ridge and Colleen. Each person working on the farm is rocking a beautiful smile on their face. Even the ones making fertilizer are passionate.

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The Rosso Family is so proud to serve DaVero olive oil and wine in our restaurants. We are looking forward to hosting them this time for our Winemaker Wednesday event at 53 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA on July 8th at 4:30pm. All are welcome to join us! We will be serving freshly picked ingredients from their garden, pouring DaVero wines and making Dry Creek peach lemonade prosecco cocktails. Gotta love summer!


A Social Media Girl In A Wine Country World

It’s hard to talk about who I am and where I’m from without sounding like I’m bragging. That is not my intention. But I did grow up in the wine country, my parents are still happily married, I’ve been lucky enough to do a handful of traveling, I went to college for free, I have the love and devotion of a great man, and the coolest friends a girl could ask for.

Now before you make the assumption that I am a spoiled, rich girl, dining at French Laundry and buying my groceries at Dean & Deluca, I can assure you that I have never been to a Thomas Kellar restaurant, and even though Dean & Deluca is around the corner from my parents’ house, we don’t shop there.


I was born in Los Angeles, where my parents were raised. We made the move to the Napa Valley in the early 90’s when the housing market was affordable and their businesses were doing well. In our 20 years in the wine country, we have watched property value triple. It’s impossible to live in the wine country on an average American salary these days. I don’t know how I make it work, but I do because I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.


I’ve been a restaurant kid since I was 15. I started out as a hostess at a local brewery and worked my way up to bartender by 21 at several fine-dining restaurants all over Napa and Sonoma County. The restaurant industry gave me the freedom to do full time school and pursue my love for music. But as most restaurant industry people know, it’s harder to get out of it than it is to get into it. The flexible hours, the cash in your pocket every night, the free food, and of course the friendships that you form with your co-workers are often the strongest bonds.


Nowadays, when I’m not waiting tables at THE BEST slow food movement restaurant in Sonoma County, I’m working on building my social media business, working for Spoiled To Perfection, a webseries about fermentation, working out, hanging with friends and family, watching the Giants, cooking, making music, playing dress up, drinking wine and exploring the most beautiful place to live in all of California, The Wine Country.


I’m a loud, whiny, hyper, and passionate person with only child and little person syndrome. My friends and family are insane.

Our stories are so bazaar. I struggle on a daily basis with the decision to spend the day being a productive professional or a total weirdo, artistic maniac. I cry all the time, from laughing just as much as from sadness. I truly believe in my heart that almost any problem can be solved with tacos and Netflix.

My blog is all over the place, waiter rants, marketing, cooking experiments, reviews of my favorite places and products, funny stories and more. I try to stay as objective and appropriate as possible. (That’s a total lie) Follow me on IG and Twitter @emmysomple.