Growing and Eating Organic – A Quinoa Salad with Watercress!

Last year when I began my gluten-free journey, I also began incorporating more and more organic foods into our home.  Yes, I must admit, organic foods from the local health food store can be pricey, but there are great alternatives such as local farmers markets, and growing your own foods.  There’s something so fascinating about organic foods.  I’m not sure if it’s that I’ve been trying new things and finding that I’m enjoying them, or if it’s knowing that I’m putting good foods into my body and they’re nourishing me.  Either way, it’s given me the desire to want to grow my own garden.  I am limited on space, but I may have found an alternative that initially may cost a few dollars, but can amount to a huge savings in the long run.  

My friend and I went out to eat at True Food Kitchen over the weekend.  I had heard wonderful things about it, but I hadn’t had the chance to dine there.  Upon our arrival, I was fascinated with these big food bins that they had at the  restaurant’s entry.  They were growing herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, and Stevia.  I had to have one or two, I thought.  It was the answer to my ever growing desire to grow my own garden, and since I had more concrete in my backyard than I had a clear space for a growing, this would be my solution.  So, I snapped some photos of them and looked them up online.  Totally reasonable in price, and perfect for anyone with limited space or living an urban lifestyle.  

It’s a Food Map Container.  It’s manufactured in Los Angeles County by Food Map Design.  It’s made with 100% post consumer recycled materials (recycled milk jugs) and is 100% recyclable.  It’s BPA and Phythalate free.  The container is contoured to promote quick and even drainage which helps prevent damage due to sitting water.  And the smart little reservoir holds just the right amount of water to maintain moisture for the soil.  You can move the container inside and out with its easy mobility!


Here’s how the bins were displaced outside of the restaurant.  How cute!!!

After I came down from the excitement of the bins, we were seated and I ordered some food.  My friend had eaten there many times before and gave me her recommendation for a chicken salad.  It had Red Quinoa, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives, Feta, Green Beans, Watercress, and Marcona Almonds.  It was topped with grilled chicken.  It was tossed with a lemon oregano vinegarette.  We both ordered it and both devoured it!  It was totally out of this world, and nothing I couldn’t duplicate at home.  I had never had quinoa in my salad before and I thought, especially red quinoa at that.   What totally fascinated me about this restaurant was that they used all locally grown organic foods.   I LOVE THAT!!!! 

After I dropped off my friend, I stopped by my local health food store and picked up all of the fixings for this salad.  I wasn’t about to let it out of my life just yet.  I couldn’t find the almonds, but I’m pretty sure any almond would do.

Have you ever eaten watercress?  Or know what it looks like?  Or it’s nutritional value?  Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C.  Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, and expectorant, and a digestive aid.  It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer suppressing properties, it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.  A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer.  

 Here’s my recipe for the salad I had.  I hope you’ll try it.  It was just as devine!

Christine's True Food Kitchen Knock Off Chicken Salad
Serves 2
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
592 calories
82 g
45 g
16 g
34 g
3 g
795 g
359 g
16 g
0 g
12 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 592
Calories from Fat 141
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 359mg
Total Carbohydrates 82g
Dietary Fiber 15g
Sugars 16g
Protein 34g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup red quinoa
  2. 1/2-1 English cucumber
  3. 6-10 grape tomatoes
  4. Bunch of watercress (as little or as much as you'd like)
  5. 6-10 kalamata olives
  6. 2 tablespoons Feta
  7. 6-10 string beans (uncooked)
  8. 2 tablespoons almonds (Marcona, if you have them)
  9. Optional addition: Grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon
  1. Thoroughly wash 1 cup of red quinoa in a fine strainer. If you don't have a fine one, put a paper towel at the bottom of a regular one and lay your quinoa on top of that. Rinse thoroughly using the spray feature on your faucet. Add the quinoa to a pot. Then add 2 cups of water to that and cook on high until it boils. Once it boils, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. While your quinoa is cooking, wash and dry all of the other ingredients. Chop all of the ingredients except the watercress.
  3. Lastly, make the lemon vinegarette dressing toss your salad with. Please see the link I have provided here.
  1. Once your quinoa has cooled, scoop the desired amount in a bowl, add the other ingredients, and toss with dressing. Now enjoy!!!
  2. Try to make all of the fresh produce as organic as possible! Your body will love you for it.

I will be ordering the Food Map bins soon, or if you know me, making one like it!  Be sure to check back to see how things are growing.  

If you have any ideas on organic gardening, please feel free to share them.  We’d love to hear what you’re doing.







{Linking to Chef In Training}

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