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I grabbed a bag of lentils at Costco a while back and I was running out of ways to put them to use, that wasn’t so repetitive. So I played around with a favorite salad of mine, and replaced the black eyed peas with the lentils. Try it out and see if you love it as much as I do! I love Mexican food, and my Granny taught me a few southern tricks of the trade, and thats where my usual black eyed peas came into play. Now I am proud to say that I have options!
High Protein Lentil Salad
1 cup dry lentils (green or brown)
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (could use black eyed peas here too)
1 red bell pepper
1 C thawed sweet corn kernels
1/2 small red onion (or sweet onion)
1-2 Roma tomatoes
Large bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 medium avocado, chopped
Optional: green onion (I love onions, so I use them!)
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Tapatio hot sauce, to your personal taste
Cook lentils according to package directions, leaving them firm and not mushy.
While lentils are cooking, you can make the dressing: place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Finely dice the bell pepper, onion, avocados and tomatoes. Roughly chop the cilantro.
In a large bowl, place the black beans, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and lentils.
Add the dressing and toss to combine. Add avocado and cilantro, and lightly toss.
Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.
I LOVE to eat this with tortilla chips, but it is amazing just as it is, a stand-alone salad packed with protein! Enjoy!
As you can tell, I had food on the brain today! I woke up early and got to work making buttermilk pancakes and then ran a ton of errands…aka kids to their various activities! Then my eldest had a friend over who is vegetarian, so I had to start brain storming what would be a good snack to serve. We love foods from all over the world, and the more I can convert gluten free or are already gluten free, it just makes my life very happy! So for Andy, the gluten free falafel wheels started turning! They turned out super good, and will be a good addition to the lunch box menu! Hope you love them as much as we did!
Gluten Free Vegan Falafel
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or sub cilantro)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
2 Tbsp (17 g) raw sesame seeds (or sub finely chopped nuts, such as pecans)
1 1/2 tsp cumin, plus more to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch of cardamom
1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
3-4 Tbsp all purpose glute free flour
3-4 Tbsp cooking oil (I like coconut oil, but any high heat oil will work)
Place chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, cardamom, coriander, salt, pepper to food processor or blender and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You don’t want dough, the mixture should be crumbly.
Next add the gluten free flour 1 Tablespoon at a time and pulse to combine until no longer wet and you can mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands.
Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate mixture for abut an 1 hour to let it firm up. Once chilled and firm, scoop out rounded tablespoons and then form them into 11-12 small discs.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan – about 2 tablespoons, swirling the pan to coat it in oil. Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time – about 5. Adding too many falafel discs will cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in soggy, oil soaked falafel discs! Nasty!
Cook the falafel for a total of about 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat this until all of the falafel are browned. They will also firm up more once slightly cooled.
My favorite way to serve falafel is in a traditional way. Well, at least its traditional to me. The first time I had falafel was at a restaurant called Al Amir in downtown Portland, OR. I went there with my friend Brandy and fell in love with the falafel! So back to my serving technique…on top of hummus, drizzled in tahini, maybe throw some raw carrots or veggies of choice. A delicious memory I can re-create as I please!
I was staring into the pantry tonight, wondering what to make for dinner. There on the shelf sat two spaghetti squash. They were screaming my name! But I just was not in the mood for spaghetti. We had it a while on winter vacation in Sunriver. I wanted to uphold my traditional Taco Tuesdays…then it hit me! I am going to try a twist on my Mexican favorite…Spaghetti Squash Tacos!!
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tbsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Sixteen 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 avocado, chopped
- chopped cilantro
- favorite salsa
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray pan with coconut oil cooking spray. You will then need to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves facedown on baking pan for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is soft. This method keeps the squash moist and I think cooks it faster.
- Once the squash is cooked, remove it from oven and allow to cool 5-10minutes, you then scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork to loosen and separate the strands. The strands come out just like spaghetti! Add the strands of ‘noodles’ to a bowl and throw away the skins.
- In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt, whisk in lemon juice and pour over squash strands. Gently toss to mix seasonings throughout, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. I think that depending on your palate, the seasonings will need to be adjusted. I have found that the lemon dilutes the spices too much on occasion.
- Heat a dry skillet, or it you are a die hard Mexican food lover like me, a tortilla pan, over medium heat and warm tortillas one at a time until slightly blistered on each side, about 30-45 seconds per side. You can burn them quickly, so pay attention!
- To create the tacos, transfer warmed tortillas to your plate and add a spoonful of black beans, a scoop of seasoned squash, a little dollop of Greek yogurt, finely chopped tomatoes and avocados. If you like other toppings on your tacos, go for it! Create them as you wish! I like to top mine with a cilantro, onion and lime juice mix. Oh and don’t forget your favorite salsa! Make it your own taco the way you like it! ENJOY!!
This was amazing and the kids enjoyed a change on the usual Taco Tuesday! Made for a new texture and was creative…fun in the kitchen!
I am always searching for new, healthy dishes for the holidays. I look for unique, healthy and colorful. The colors add to the health benefits, and knowing that what you eat, is good for you inside and out, makes enjoying the dish that much easier! I am not sure what it is about pomegranate seeds that scream festive, but they just do to me! I stumbled across a recipe that is now on my list of must tries. The recipe and post come from vegan cookbook author Kathy Patalksy, and her website healthyhappylife.com.
Ms Patalksy explained on her blog that she accidentally created this beautiful salad, that just screams Christmas Festivities! Thank you Kathy for this beautiful, healthy salad and your recipe:
This Christmas Tree Holiday Salad will fill your holiday season table with cheer! And healthy-deliciousness too. Dive in. Twinkly lights not needed for this shiny-fabulous tree..
Shopping Tip. Make sure you buy organic, super fresh chard since it is your main ingredient! Look for perky green leaves with plenty of “bounce” in their movement. Wash and pat dry your chard leaves very well.
Nutrition Bonus! This salad is filled with healthy things. Those pomegranate seeds are loaded with antioxidants. The pecans are rich in healthy fats and minerals. The chard is loaded with vitamins and minerals – including even more free radical fighting antioxidants. The citrus is rich in vitamin C. The dried fruit and pretty much all of the ingredients are rich in fiber.
And in case you didn’t notice, this salad is DELICIOUS even though it has no oil added. The only fat comes built in from those crunchy raw pecans.
Christmas Tree Salad – aka Raw Chard Pecan Pom Salad
makes about 6-7 cups
1 bunch organic swiss chard (red or green will work) – rinsed well + sliced into thin ribbons
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (about the amount from from 1 medium pomegranate)
3/4 cup frozen red globe grapes, sliced*
2 satsuma mandarin oranges, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans, raw
2 Tbsp dried cranberries (or another dried fruit like dried golden raisins or even chopped dates!) – organic
1 small honeycrisp apple, organic – chopped
*tip: those frozen grapes help to keep the salad nice and cool for you and your holiday guests! I simply freeze the grapes, then right before I slice and toss with the salad, I run them under warm to hot water to quickly “thaw” the outside layer. This washes off any ice crystals too. It also seems to easily release lots of sweet grape flavor!
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup, grade B
1/3 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp fine black pepper
1/8 tsp coriander
a pinch of cayenne (optional, but warms up things nicely)
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
a few pinches of satsuma orange zest
(feel free to use your own seasonings as desired as well – or use your own favorite dressing.)
star topper: 1 slice of toast (I used sprouted grain)
Other optional ingredients that would be fabulous: pear, avocado, dates, bell pepper, corn, grains like quinoa or brown rice, beans, tomatoes, diced roasted squash or sweet potato …… gosh, pretty much anything yummy would be beautiful in this salad!
Directions: Simply prep all your ingredients and toss them with the dressing/spices in a large bowl. Toss and mix very well since this will help to distribute the flavors and infuse the chard with flavor. You can serve right away or chill in the fridge for up to 12 hours in advance before serving. Any longer and your chard will begin to get a bit soft. Serve raw and chilled. Top it! For the “star” tree topper, simply toast any slice of bread and using either your knife (free-hand) or a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a toast star to top the tree salad.
Again, thank you Kathy for making this amazing salad! Maybe it will become a favorite for many to come!
Article, recipe and photograph from Kathy Patalksy and healthyhappylife.com
School is back in session and you would think, I would have all the time in the world to prepare dinners, right? Nope. I feel like the days fly by faster than ever now! So, in order to keep health on track, I needed to find some quick and healthy meals! Here is one of my new favorites, Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Lime Tortilla Strips! Throw it in the slow cooker and savor the flavor later! Enjoy!
The first recipe comes courtesy of Fit Foodie Finds and I think is a new household favorite!
Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Lime Tortilla Strips
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped carrots (baby or regular)
- 1 can white beans
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- ½ jalapeno pepper, finely diced (optional)
- 2T chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne power
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Place all ingredients into your crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours or until sweet potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork.
Lime Tortilla Strips
- -8-10 mini corn tortillas
- -Nonstick cooking spray
- -Juice from 1/2 lime
- -Sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to Broil. Then, spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Next, using a pizza cutter, slice mini tortillas into strips. Then, arrange them on 2. the baking sheet so that they are not touching.
- Next, lightly spray chips with nonstick cooking spray and squeeze lemon juice on top. Then, sprinkle on sea salt to your preference.
- Broil the first side for about 2-3 minutes watching it very closely. Once it begins to turn brown, remove from oven, flip, and put back in for an additional 1.5 – 2 minutes. Again, make sure you keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn!
Picture From Fit Food Finds