I almost always have quinoa leftovers sitting in my fridge from using it for dinner. My primary use is to throw a pile of it on my salads for an extra protein boost to my leafy greens. But the past … Continue reading
Last summer, a lovely food cart – A La Cart – appeared downtown Benicia at the Farmer’s Market every Thursday night. I was delighted to find out they had a completely homemade veggie burger served on delicious whole grain bread with caramelized onions and mixed baby greens. I got one and was in heaven! After talking to the owner for a little while, I decided to go home and attempt my own version.
Excuse the somewhat ugly cell phone camera picture. It was too delicious and I couldn’t wait long enough to take pretty pictures.
Tofu Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Makes 6-8 patties.
- 10 oz extra firm tofu, sliced and patted dry (I recommend WildWood)
- 10 oz cooked quinoa (You can use any color, but I used white)
- 8 oz raw sunflower seeds
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is almost smooth. Scrape down sides occasionally.
- Divide into 6-8 equal portions and use your hands to press and form round, slightly flat patties.
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Arrange patties on the skillet, cover and cook. Once they are browned, turn it over and continue to cook until browned on both sides, approximately 5 minutes each side. Make sure it is completely done inside as well, so be sure to not have your temperatures too high on the pan.
- Serve with your favorite burger toppings and buns. (I served mine with toasted multi-grain bread by Alvarado St Bakery, caramelized onions, quick homemade pickles, a little ketchup, mustard, tomato and lettuce.)
Nutrition for 1 patty (1/8th of the recipe) (approx): 330 cal, 18g fat, 29 carb, 5 fiber, 15g protein
Since the weather is cool, I tend to gravitate toward warm, cozy soups.The warmth of this soup is intensified with the deep flavors of the curried brown butter and spicy kick from the curry and red pepper flakes. It’s amazingly delicious and I could not recommend it more. Even people who aren’t big lentil or curry fans found this soup tasty.
My slight modifications and recommendations:
- I used whatever lentils I had on hand (brownish). You don’t need to go out of your way to get green lentils unless you just want to.
- I didn’t use the coconut milk. I didn’t think it needed it, so I subbed a bit more broth in it’s place.
- Serve it with a crusty bread or naan. Delicious!
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min. Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
- 1 1/2 cups green (or any color) lentils
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
- Fine-grain sea salt
- 1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)
- Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
- In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth.
- Stir in the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled sprinkled with chives and crusty bread or naan.
Recipe modified from a recipe from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Nutrition for 1/4th of the recipe (approx): 401 cal, 15g fat, 47g carb, 22 fiber, 19g protein
I call this my “power meal”! It’s an all-in-one meal and a power house of healthy ingredients, quinoa, kale, avocado. It’s high in protein, low in bad fats, high in good fats and straight up FILLING and DELICIOUS. Oh, and to make it even better… It’s super quick and easy!
I usually keep all the ingredients on hand and make more than I need and eat this for dinners and lunches for a few days. It’s my new favorite meal!
Here’s how I do it:
Quick (15 min) Quinoa Kale Bowl
- 2 cups kale, cleaned & coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup cooked black beans, rinsed & drained
- 2/3 cup quinoa, cooked according to directions on the package (any color will work, I usually use red)
- 2/3 cup pre-made fresh pico de gallo
- 1/2 cup lowfat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 avocado, cut into cubes
- Sea or kosher salt to taste
- Make the quinoa according to packaged directions. Heat your beans (on the stove or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes). Steam the quinoa (in a steamer or 2 minutes in the microwave, covered)
- Divide all ingredients except avocado and salt into two bowls and stir until just combined. Season to taste, top with fresh avocado, and serve.
Nutrition (approx): 300 cal, 7g fat, 43 carb, 9 fiber, 16g protein
This pumpkin yogurt has become a staple in my fall eating repertoire. Breakfast, snack, dessert, midnight snack. It’s super healthy, super satisfying, filling and all kinds of yumminess all wrapped up in one delicious bowl (or parfait glass). Don’t be scared off by the layering fanciness. The truth is I usually throw it all in one bowl and mix it up in one goopy glob of goodness. But layering makes for prettier pictures. It also makes for a fun holiday breakfast or brunch item to add to your entertaining menu.
Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait
- 1/2 c pumpkin puree, canned
- 1/2 c nonfat greek yogurt (such as 0% Fage)
- 2 Tbsp sweetener of your choice (sugar, brown sugar, splenda, agave, honey, etc)
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (more or less to taste)
- 1 t cinnamon (more or less to taste)
- 2 Tbsp Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
The quick way… Throw everything except the cereal into a bowl, mix and sprinkle cereal over the top. Or, if you prefer, follow the directions below to make a pretty parfait and add some elegance to your day.
The parfait way… Divide the yogurt in half and place in 2 small bowls. Divide the sweetener between the two bowls. Add pumpkin puree and all the spices into one of the bowls. Mix each thoroughly to combine. Layer in a parfait glass starting with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture, 1/3 of the cereal, 1/2 of the yogurt. Continuing layering in this order.
Nutrition (without sweentener): 138 cal, 1g fat, 21 carb, 5 fiber, 13g protein
This is easy-shmeasy. I loved it. My husband (aka meat eater) loved it, too. Score! It was so yummy, we didn’t take any pictures. (Fail!) The way I see it, recipe = 1, no pictures = -1, so the end score = nill. I’ll take that and post it anyway….
Edit on 11/26. I made a second batch and took pictures this time. Here you go!
The seasoning measurements are all approximates. Feel free to play with the seasonings. I just kept dumping and tasting until it tasted the way I like it. Enjoy.
Slow Cooker White Bean Vegetarian Chili
- 1 can white beans, drained
- 1 cup fire roasted salsa
- 1 clove (or 1 t) garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup faux ground meat crumbles (if frozen, defrost first)
- 2/3 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 t oregano
- 1/8 t ginger
- 1/4 t cayanne pepper
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 t cumin
- 2 Tbsp jalapeno, minced
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Salt & Pepper
Throw everything into a crock pot. Turn it on. Let it cook for about 4hrs on high, 6hrs on low or until hot and bubbly. Eat.
Nutrition: 210 cal, 3.5g fat, 30g carb, 9 fiber, 3g sugars, 18g protein
I was telling a friend the other day about a single-serving Eggs Florentine I made for myself for breakfast earlier that morning. She asked me how I found time to make something like that for breakfast on a work day. It DID sound quite fancy for a work day, if you think about it, doesn’t it? I paused for a second, realizing that my method was quite simple and time effective. It just SOUNDED gourmet. I considered letting everyone think I was a gourmet chef every day of my life, but alas, that’s not the case. So, I decided to share my secret and the truth is it only took about 5 minutes to make.
As an added bonus, this morning ‘fine dining’ has the benefit of being a hearty way to begin a day with high protein, whole grains, veggies and is satisfying to the tongue. Plus, using the nonfat dairy, it’s lower fat than traditional Eggs Florentine. A healthy breakfast is always key to a good day, right? And in just 5 minutes? How can you say no?
But of course, I can’t just let it rest there. I had to put my theory to the test with stopwatch & camera* in hand. Here are the results… (*Disclaimer: Taking pictures while on the clock does not turn out so well, but you get the idea)
Lowfat Eggs Florentine with Creamy Parmesan Garlic Sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 slice wheat bread (I used 2 small slices of Judy’s Breadsticks – Vegan with sunflower seeds)
- Spinach (small handful)
- Tomato (a couple of slices)
- Parmesan cheese (approx 1 tea)
- Fat Free milk (approx 1 Tbsp)
- Fat Free cream cheese (approx 1 tea)
- Minced garlic or garlic paste (approx 1/4 tea)
Fill pan with 1 inch water. Place on stove over high heat
Pull out all ingredients: Egg, bread, spinach, tomato, parmesan cheese, milk, cream cheese, garlic.
Pull out utensils and tools: Sharp knife, spoon, fork, cutting board, plate, small microwave safe bowl.
Place the bread on your plate. Throw a handful of spinach over the top. Microwave for 20 seconds.
Slice the tomatoes while the bread is in microwave. Place the tomatoes on top of the spinach.
Drop egg in the now boiling water. Turn heat down to medium-high. Let it cook for approx 2 mins.
Put parmesan, milk, cream cheese and garlic in small bowl. Stir lightly.
Microwave for 20 seconds. Stir.
Remove egg from pan and place on top of the spinach. Drizzle sauce over the top.
Done. Now, go eat!
Nutrition: 150 cal, 6g fat, 14g carb, 2.5g fiber, 3g sugars, 11g protein
I’m a huge fan of Kashi TLC Granola Bars. My husband and I buy them in bulk at Costco for quick grab-n-go snacks. I know that granola bars really aren’t that difficult to make. The problem was I’d never found a recipe I really liked. They usually ended up being too crunchy (I like chewy bars), too dense, too high fat, or too – I don’t know – Just “too”!
Until I found a couple of key ingredients that has helped me turn the corner in the elusive perfect granola bar recipe – Peanut Flour (aka PB2) and Brown Rice Syrup. The peanut flour helps keep them together and adds a lovely protein punch and the brown rice syrup is thick and sticky enough to keep them chewy.
They are still “too”. This time, they’re “too good” and I can’t stop eating them.
I love these and I hope you do “too”… Have fun playing with the ingredients. The base recipe works, so whatever you want to toss in to your own preference, have at it!
Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars
Makes 8 bars
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup high fiber cereal (Trader Joe’s or Fiber One) OR 1 cup of unsweetened, whole grain cereal of your choice
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar
- 1 t olive oil
- 1/4 cup lowfat peanut flour or PB2
- 1/4 t kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruits)
- 1/8 cup mini dark chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- Spread oats and almonds over a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 mins, stirring once midway through. When the almonds have turned slightly darker and are fragrant, remove from oven.
- While oats and almonds are baking, combine brown rice syrup, agave nectar, olive oil, peanut flour and sea salt in a large bowl.
- Remove oats and almonds. Turn oven down to 300 F
- Place hot oats and almonds in the syrup bowl, add fiber cereal and cranberries stirring until completely coated. Pour mixture into loaf pan.
- Using the back of a spoon that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray, lightly press the mixture into the pan until the top is smooth and the mixture is slightly compressed. Do not press down too much or your bars will be to dense, but if you don’t compress them slightly, they will fall apart. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake for 20 mins. Remove from oven and let cool for approx 20 mins. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan and very gently (so as not to lose all your chocolate chips) invert the pan onto your hand or cutting board. Slice into 8 even bars.
Nutrition: 140 cal, 3g fat, 27g carb, 5.5g fiber, 4g protein
Ever get a big craving for protein? A hot, ‘meaty’ meal? That was me just yesterday. I felt like I could eat an entire tofhorse.
Here was the resulting dinner. It was the most “atkins-esque” dinner a vegetarian can possibly have. It isn’t pretty (especially in this photo since this was snapped on my cell phone), but it was tasty and satisfied the craving.
Egg whites, pan fried tofu, and veggie burger patty. The end.
When I’m in need of some real ‘comfort’ food – something with sustenance and will make me feel full and satisfied, I almost always turn to this easy, ‘meaty’ recipe for vegetarian lentil loaf (‘meatloaf’) with mashed cauliflower “potatoes”. With its high protein and fiber, combined with low calorie content and tons of flavor, what’s not to like? Even my meat eating husband will make a meal out of this lovely little loaf (thanks, mom, for showing me the recipe!). Serve it up with some steamed green beans and you have the perfect all-American dinner. Plus, it makes great leftovers (a sandwich, maybe?). I even think it might taste better after sitting overnight after the flavors have really mixed. Try it out and enjoy!
Vegetarian Lentil (“Meat”) Loaf
- 2 cups water
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup oats
- 3/4 cup lowfat cheese (2% cheddar or mixed), shredded
- 2 egg whites (or 1 egg), lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce (I usually use Trader Joe’s “traditional” marinara sauce)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce (I use Trader Joe’s)
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring water and a dash of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add lentils and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of the water is evaporated. Drain and lightly mash lentils
- Stir in onions, oats and cheese. Add egg, marinara sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Spread mixture into a non-stick or greased loaf pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Mix barbecue sauce and catchup together and spread over the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until edges look dry, firm and golden brown.
- Cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan, slice and serve.
Nutrition: 190 cal, 5g fat, 27g carb, 9g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 11.5g protein
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (“Potatoes”)
- 2 heads cauliflower florets (approx 4 cups)
- 3 Tbsp fat free sour cream
- 2 Tbsp fat free milk (plus more as needed)
- 2 Tbsp fat free cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp light butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Place cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle water over the top and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave 5-7 minutes, until very soft.
- Drain and use a paper towel to press out access moisture, taking care as the cauliflower will be very hot.
- Place cauliflower in a food processor with garlic. Process until lightly pureed. Add sour cream, milk, cream cheese and butter. Continue to process adding additional milk as needed until they reach a desirable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition: 35 cal, 1g fat, 5g carb, 1.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 2.5g protein