Farmer’s Market Pasta Salad

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I have loved attending my local farmer’s market this summer! The vegetables have been so fresh and inspiring! If you haven’t taken the opportunity to attend your local farmer’s market – do it now! Your body will thank you for feeding it local, delicious produce. Most markets run through October, so there is still time to savour the wonderful array of fruits and veggies!

I can’t tell you how many times I have made this simple pasta salad this summer. I just made it again this week – that’s how popular it is around here. The sweet corn, baby tomatoes, onions, and peppers have been so delicious from the farmer’s market this year that I wanted to feature them in a salad. Don’t let the simple list of ingredients fool you – this salad sings with flavour! All of these ingredients marry beautifully and are so pleasing to the palate. This is a wonderful lunch or light dinner full of vitamin C, fiber, whole-food fat, and yummy plant goodness!

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farmers-market-pasta-salad

3 cups dry pasta of choice, cooked

1 ear sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob

1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

1 red onion, diced

1 cucumber, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 (15 oz.) can black olives, cut in half

1/3 cup fresh basil, torn

Italian dressing of choice (1/3 – 1/2 cup)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, bell peppers, olives, and basil. Add cooked pasta (warm or cold). Pour dressing over ingredients until they are lightly coated. Toss well. Season with pepper to taste.

Asian Wild Rice Salad

Asian Wild Rice Salad 2

Welcome SUMMER! I don’t know about where you live, but it is HOT here! I crave cool foods in the summertime, so salads are my favorite go-to meals for lunch and dinner. I love using whole-grains as the base for my salads. They give me plenty of fiber and nutrients, along with a wonderful platform for loads of flavor! I used wild rice in this recipe, which I feel is quite the under utilized grain. Wild rice is not even rice, it is actually in the grass family…go figure. The Asian flavors and wonderful textures in this salad simply sing in your mouth! The fresh basil takes this salad to the next level of good – it makes me happy to use my fresh herbs in dishes! This has become one of my favorite salads so far this summer…there are more to come! Enjoy!

Asian Wild Rice Salad 3

Asian Wild Rice Salad 4

1 cup wild rice, uncooked

1 large celery stalk, chopped

2 scallions, chopped

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Dressing

2 tablespoons grape seed oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons coconut aminos or Bragg’s liquid aminos

1 tablespoon coconut vinegar or rice vinegar

1 small garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Drain and place in a medium bowl. Add in celery, scallions, peas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and basil. Mix to incorporate all ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

Yeast-Free Pizza Crust

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I can’t seem to get enough pizza in my life. My boys ask for pizza almost everyday, and next to Mexican food, my husband always requests pizza. I am always looking for creative and quick ways to make pizza because let’s be honest, sometimes life does not allow for rising-time! Enter this yeast-free crust recipe. Hallelujah! I have made this for lunch and dinner several times with great success and rave reviews. (I even forgot to soak my quinoa overnight one time, so I soaked it in boiling water for a few hours and voila! Still turned out great!) You are going to love this crust recipe…it’s not too heavy, has a slightly nutty flavor, and fills you up with nutritious deliciousness! Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a wonderful source of protein. I LOVE this amazing grain! It is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I cook quinoa almost everyday and can’t imagine life without it! Enjoy!

Yeast Free Pizza Crust 3

Yeast Free Pizza Crust 4

Crust:
3/4 cup quinoa, soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed and drained
1/4 – 1/2 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon mild-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
*You can omit the oil if you prefer

Toppings:
hummus, pesto, or tomato sauce
mushrooms
red onion
olives
artichoke hearts
baby spinach
tomato
zucchini, yellow squash
red pepper
sprinkling of oregano
whatever toppings you like!

Yeast Free Pizza Crust

Yeast Free Pizza Crust 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make the crust, blend all of the ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor until completely smooth. Begin with only 1/4 cup water and add more as needed until it reaches a pancake batter consistency. Preheat pizza stone in a 450 degree oven. Pour batter on a piece of parchment paper. Shape batter into a circle. Place parchment on pizza stone and bake for 15 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and add toppings. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

 

White Bean, Spinach, and Sweet Potato Burgers

White Bean, Spinach, and Sweet Potato Burger

My family really likes veggie burgers. We eat them a lot for a quick and satisfying lunch. There are some good ones on the market AND some not so good ones on the market…I think we’ve tried almost all of them! I prefer to make my own veggie burgers because A) I know exactly what ingredients are going into the recipe B) I can adjust the flavors and seasonings to my liking AND C) they taste way better than store-bought! This recipe came about from looking in my pantry and seeing what I had available. You truly can make veggie burgers out of simple ingredients packed with nutrients and flavor. I served some of these burgers on thin buns with all the fixings. I ate one on a gluten-free tortilla with my favorite fixings. I know, not traditional, but it was super delicious! Get creative and have fun with veggie burgers!

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White Bean, Spinach, and Sweet Potato Burgers 3

1 large sweet potato (approx. 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 1/2 cups cooked navy beans (1 – 15 oz can), smashed
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chipotle powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour (add in more for desired consistency)

Mash sweet potato and beans together in a large bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Depending on how big you like your burgers, use 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of mixture to form patties.

To bake the burgers, place them onto a baking tray, lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bottom is a nice golden color and the top just starts to color.
To fry the burgers, heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Drizzle in some grape seed oil. Once hot, fry the burgers for a few minutes on each side. If you like, you can first dredge the burgers in some breadcrumbs — this will give the burgers a bit more crispiness.

To reheat the burgers, warm them in a 400 degree F oven until warmed through — approximately 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the burgers. Any leftover burgers, will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. The burgers can also be frozen.

Curried Quinoa with Vegetables

Curried Quinoa with Vegetables 2

Are you a curry fan like I am? There is something very comforting about curry dishes. Maybe it has to do with the anti-inflammatory properties found in the spice itself. Curcumin, which is found in the curry spice and turmeric, has been found to ease pain in the body and is a powerful antioxidant. Awesome! I love this simple Vegetable Coconut Curry, Curried Cauliflower, Curried Cauliflower SoupSpicy Curry Sauce, and this Curried Quinoa Salad is one of my all-time favorites! I really do like curry don’t I?!! This recipe is simple and can be made in 30 minutes. It is very versatile too because you can add in whatever vegetables you have on hand. I simply looked in my fridge and used what I had – carrot, celery, zucchini, and kale. I love the flavors in this dish that blend so well together. This dish will last about 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great lunch to make for the week! Enjoy!

Curried Quinoa with Vegetables

Curried Quinoa with Vegetables 3

1 1/4 cups dry quinoa
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk or 1 3/4 cups almond milk
1 1/4 cups water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
¼ cup green onions, white parts only (use the green tops for garnish)
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger (I like to use my microplane)
4 cups chopped vegetables of choice
½ cup thawed, frozen green peas
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon coconut vinegar

Place quinoa in a medium sized pot with a lid and add coconut milk, water, salt, curry, turmeric and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest for 10 minutes. While the quinoa cooks, heat the oil in a medium sized skillet or sauté pan. Add the onions, and ginger. Saute for a few minutes, until the onions start to become translucent. Add in some water so that the onions don’t stick to the pan. (You can dry saute the onions and ginger and add in water instead of using oil) Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant. Add the vegetables and saute for a few minutes. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the vegetables to steam cook for about 5 minutes – add in some water and watch the vegetables so that they don’t burn. When the vegetables are tender, add in the coconut aminos and coconut vinegar and add them to the quinoa. Mix the vegetables in with the quinoa and transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with chopped green onion tops and sesame seeds or sliced almonds. (Adapted from Recipe Source: The Full Helping)

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice

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This recipe is so fun and quick! A great lunch option in my book – the asian flavors are subtle in this dish and very yummy! You may know by now that I am a BIG fan of the lovely cruciferous cauliflower. I love to eat it raw, steamed, roasted, made into soup, made into mac’n’cheez…the possibilities are endless really, so this cauliflower fried rice adds to the versatility of this amazing vegetable! I usually eat a cruciferous (anti-cancer) vegetable everyday, so I have been getting creative in the kitchen with the Brassica family! I love to serve this cauliflower fried rice with some baby bok choy, spinach, broccoli, or green beans for a satisfying lunch!

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Cauliflower Fried Rice

1 small head of cauliflower

½ cup frozen peas, thawed (or fresh)

2 cups fresh baby spinach

2 small carrots, cut into small dice

1 small white or red onion, chopped

1-2 sweet peppers, chopped (optional)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos

sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower. Rinse and dry the cauliflower well. Cut into florets and place in food processor. Pulse until “rice”-like texture is achieved. You should roughly get about 2 1/2 cups of cauliflower “rice”. Heat a wok over high heat and add the sesame oil (if you prefer not to use oil, you can dry saute the vegetables and add a bit of water or vegetable broth to keep vegetables from sticking). Add the onions, carrots, and sweet peppers (if using) and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the riced cauliflower and gluten-free tamari and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and spinach and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Root Vegetable Soup

Root Vegetable Soup

You know those Roasted Root Vegetables that I made and LOVED? Well, I happen to love the leftovers in this soup even MORE! Honestly, this soup is incredibly delicious! It’s smooth, creamy, and tastes incredible rich with a slightly sweet, smoky undertone from the roasted vegetables. This is the perfect winter soup. YUM! Here is another great lunch option for you that comes together quickly because you simply use the leftover root vegetables you made the night before and VOILA! Hot, healthy, satisfying soup for lunch! I served this alongside some millet, but you can serve this with some delicious bread or croutons and a simple salad for a fantastic lunch or dinner. Don’t you love it when you get 2 great meals out of a simple dish?!! Enjoy!

Root Vegetable Soup 2

Root Vegetable Soup 3

1 recipe Roasted Root Vegetables

1 tablespoon Earth Balance Spread (optional)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cups vegetable broth

water as needed

juice of 1/2 lemon

Melt Earth Balance Spread in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until celery is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and bay leaf; cook 1 minute more. Add leftover root vegetables and 4 cups vegetable broth, Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. (Alternatively, you can purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.) If the soup is too thick, add water until desired consistency is achieved. Season with lemon juice and more salt to taste. Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

Creamy Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach with Quinoa Red Lentil Pasta

Mushroom and Spinach Red Lentil Pasta

I have another quick and fabulous lunch option for you! I recently tried this new lentil quinoa pasta and LOVE it! It is gluten-free, hearty, full of fiber, cooks quickly, and is delicious! I wanted to top this pasta with a yummy vegetable sauce, so the recipe follows with what I came up with. I hope you eat mushrooms – white button mushrooms to be more specific – they are a top cancer fighter and full of antioxidants. They add such a wonderful “meaty” element to any dish and they act like a sponge for flavor, so they are an excellent vehicle to cook with. This pasta dish is creamy, flavorful, filling, and healthy. A delicious lunch that can be made quickly and enjoyed fully!

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Mushroom and Spinach Red Lentil Pasta 3

1 package Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Lentil & Quinoa Supergrain Pasta (I used the red lentil variety)

drizzle of grape seed oil

1/4 cup shallots or sweet onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup white wine

8-ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

5 cups baby spinach

Sauce

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup cannellini beans

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon oregano

splash of fresh lemon juice

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, except don’t add oil to the water – add salt! It’s best to cook your pasta while you are cooking the vegetables, so the pasta will remain hot and be ready for the sauce. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and drizzle in a bit of grape seed oil. Add shallots and saute until softened. Add in garlic clove and saute just until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add in the mushrooms and saute until they achieve a nice golden color. Add in the spinach and saute until it just starts to wilt. Pour sauce over the mushrooms and spinach and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve pasta in bowls topped with some sauce. Enjoy!

 

Lunch Bowl

Lunch Bowl

I have had quite a few requests for hearty lunch ideas. Sometimes lunch seems to get lost in the shuffle of life or maybe you get stuck in the ‘same old’ boring lunch routine. The midday meal can be exciting, quick to make, and really fun to eat! I love to make several different ingredients and throw together a yummy lunch bowl. I always have extra food to last me for several lunches, so this is a great option. I love the versatility of making a lunch bowl – really any favorite grain, vegetable, green, and legume will work here. I like adding a simple dressing to tie everything together, but you don’t have to. This is a very nutritious and fun way to eat your vegetables. My kids like to help choose what ingredients they would like for their bowls too – great way for children to eat their veggies! This example is very flexible, so get creative and make your own lunch bowl to enjoy. It’s time to get excited about lunch and get out of the “lunch rut”!

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Lunch Bowl 4

Curried Cauliflower

1 can (15-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup millet

2 cups water with 2 tablespoons Fresh Vegetable Bouillon

5 ounces baby spinach

1 garlic clove, minced

juice from 1/2 lemon

yellow squash or zucchini

1 large carrot

2 tablespoons tahini mixed with water to make a dressing

Make the Curried Cauliflower and during the last 10 minutes of cooking time, place cut yellow squash or zucchini on baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of grape seed oil and season with salt and pepper. Place millet in a medium pot with a lid and toast over medium heat for a minute. Add in vegetable bouillon water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of grape seed oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and saute until fragrant for 30 seconds. Add in spinach and saute until it starts to wilt. Turn off heat and drizzle with lemon juice.

Assemble Your Lunch Bowl: Place a scoop of millet, then a scoop of beans, then a scoop of spinach, then a scoop of cauliflower, then a scoop of squash next to each other in a large bowl. Shave some carrot over the top. Drizzle with some tahini dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy! *You can place these ingredients in a bento box for children’s lunches or in a container to bring to work.

 

Winter Salad with Sweet Apple Vinaigrette

Winter Salad 4

Winter Salad 3

Happy 2016! I always chuckle as each new year happens. I see the gyms jam packed with people (until about mid-February) and I see all sorts of new “diets” being tried (until about mid-February). The key to optimal health, longevity, and ideal weight isn’t found in the latest exercise gimmick or diet trend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I embrace exercise. Our bodies are made to move and it is important to balance cardiovascular training and strength training, but choose something you love to do! The best exercise is the one that you will actually do. And honestly, a whole-food, plant-based diet is the ANSWER – no “diet”, just real food that is delicious and good for you. Speaking of whole, plant-based food, this winter salad really hits the spot! Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, not to mention tons of FLAVOR – this salad is a delicious lunch or side with dinner. You really do get more bang for your caloric buck when you eat a plant-based diet and this salad is proof of that. Remember to be mindful this year, move your body, and eat plants my friends…you will be so happy and healthy if you do! Enjoy!

Winter Salad 2

Winter Salad

Salad Base:

1 head red lettuce, washed and torn

1 package (5-ounce) mixed baby greens

1 apple, sliced thin

6 celery stalks, thickly sliced on the bias

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Sweet Apple Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons agave nectar

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon thyme

sea salt, black pepper

Prepare salad base ingredients and place in a large bowl. Place vinaigrette ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.