Tag Archives: Meatless Monday

Greek Salad Skewers

Most kebabs come in the form of meat, chicken, or shrimp skewered on bamboo sticks; sometimes a few grilled vegetables are thrown into the mix to break up the monotony of color. But how often do you see a skewer devoted completely to vegetables? And raw vegetables, at that? Salad on a stick is a fun, colorful way to eat your vegetables–and it’s perfect for the upcoming barbecue season!

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Ingredients

6 small romaine bunchesSalad Skewers Ingredients-3 bell peppers, red and yellow, cut into 1 inch squares
1 cucumber, cut into rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup kalamata olives
Whole wheat ciabatta, toasted, torn into 1 inch squares
1/4 cup Pesto
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice
Bamboo/wooden skewers

Method 

1. Thread vegetables, olives and bread onto skewers
2. Mix pesto with olive oil and lemon juice; drizzle over skewers
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

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Why Should You Eat This?

The USDA recommends that you eat 2 1/2 to 4 cups of veggies per day, depending on your age, gender, and activity level (calculate your needs here). But many Americans fall short on this recommendation. Whether you’re not meeting these recommendations because you’re getting tired of the same old spinach salad or you tend to fill up on packaged foods, salad skewers are a fun and novel way of eating vegetables. They’re a perfect side to your summer picnic or barbecue, but they’re also a great on-the-go snack–just grab a skewer and head out the door.

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10 Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes

By now, most everyone knows about the virtues of quinoa: a seed known to the Incas as “the mother of all grains,” it’s high in muscle-building protein and hunger-quashing fiber. And containing all essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine, it’s a smart addition to vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets alike. Vitamin E, which plays a role in keeping inflammation at bay, as well as calcium, the phytonutrient betacyanin and antioxidants ferulic and coumaric acids, quercetin and kaempferol round out its nutritional profile. It’s even been recognized by the UN as a potential key player in worldwide nutrition: it has named 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa,” calling for foodies and non-foodies alike to “focus world attention on the role that quinoa biodiversity can play, owing to the the nutritional value of quinoa, in providing food security and nutrition in the eradication of poverty.”

On its own, quinoa has a nutty taste and chewy texture — but it can be somewhat boring. But dressing it up with vegetables, herbs, spices and dressings makes it not only tasty and filling, but a satisfying and complete meal. These ten recipes have different flavor profiles; but they have in common clean, whole ingredients offering plenty of nutrients. To add more bulk to your meal, double the vegetables in the recipe.

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Grapefruit and Mint

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Grapefruit and Mint

Ingredients
Half a bunch of kale, rinsed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 package mint, finely chopped (about ½ cup packed)
2 grapefruits
¼ cup toasted coconut
Salt and pepper

Method
Cook quinoa: bring to a boil with two cups water or vegetable stock; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Massage kale with olive oil; let sit.

Add quinoa, chopped mint, grapefruit segments and their juice, and toasted coconut; toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

9 Healthy Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing from Two Peas and Their Pod

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad from The Talking Kitchen

Layered Quinoa Salad with Beet Vinaigrette from Family Fresh Cooking

Mexican Quinoa Salad from Recipe Girl

Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad from Bon Appetit

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Pepper, and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans from Gluten Free Goddess

Spicy Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing from The Year in Food

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad from The Diva-Dish

Meatless Monday: Forbidden Rice Salad

Grain-based salads are a great option for on-the-go meals: they combine all the essentials of a meal into a neat, pretty and transportable package. Plus, the longer the salad sits in the refrigerator, the more the ingredients marinate, giving the dish more flavor. Make this salad for Meatless Monday, and then save the leftovers for small snacks and side dishes throughout the week. Forbidden rice — the backdrop for this colorful salad — offers a stickier, nuttier texture than white rice, plus extra fiber, protein and nutrients.

Ingredients

1 cup forbidden rice
1 ½ cups water 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 mango, chopped
½ cup mint, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 T lime juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Bring rice and water to a boil; cover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add more water as needed.

Combine vegetables, mango, cilantro, and mint in a bowl. Add rice; mix.

Add olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Why Should You Eat This?

Forbidden rice, an heirloom variety once reserved for emperors and nobles, owes its black or dark purple hue to anthocyanins — the same antioxidant found in blackberries and blueberries. In fact, a spoonful of forbidden rice contains more anthocyanins than a spoonful of blueberries, making it a powerful fighter against cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline. Forbidden rice is also rich in iron and vitamin E, and because the bran is left intact, it boasts a considerable amount of fiber.

Even though this is a grain-based salad, vegetables are still the main component. In fact, there’s about a 5:1 ratio of vegetables to grains! And because 75% of Americans fall short on the recommended intake of five daily servings of produce, planning your meals around vegetables — as opposed to a carb or protein — is an easy way to boost your intake. Adding vegetables and fruits to your meals (and not just a salad with dinner) not only adds vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; it may also help you drop pounds. According to a study published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who added two servings of produce a day lost three pounds without adjusting anything else in their diet or exercise routines. Grain-based salads are an easy way to add those two servings with the added benefit of satiating fiber- and protein-rich grains.

Meatless Monday: Hummus and Tabbouleh Salad

How do you ensure that your Meatless Monday-inspired salad — without chicken or salmon, of course — provides enough protein to rebuild tired muscles? Add two protein-rich vegetarian (and in this case, vegan) foods: hummus and quinoa. The refreshing flavors from tabbouleh and the creamy taste of hummus combine for a truly flavorful meal — with no need for extra salad dressings.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
Pinch of salt
2 cups chopped parsley
½ – 1 cup chopped mint
1 ½ cups chopped seedless cucumber
½ – 1 cup chopped tomato
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice, or more to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
Hummus
Mixed Greens

Method:

1. Rinse the quinoa to remove any saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Add quinoa and two cups of water to a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add salt; reduce heat and cover for about 15 minutes.

2. Turn off heat; let quinoa stand for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Let cool.

3. Add quinoa, parsley, mint, cucumber, and tomato to a mixing bowl; mix until combined.

4. Add olive oil and lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Chill until serving.

5. Toss mixed greens with olive oil, if using. Top with tabbouleh and hummus.

Why Should You Eat This?

Going meatless – even if it’s just once a week — has major health and environmental payoffs (it can reduce your saturated fat intake by 15%, enough to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, cancer, and obesity; in terms of the environment, it greatly reduces our carbon footprint).

By replacing the typical bulgur used in traditional tabbouleh recipes with quinoa, the protein content is boosted dramatically: quinoa contains 8 grams per serving, compared to bulgur’s 4 grams. Quinoa also contains more copper, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, zinc, and iron; it’s also gluten-free. (But don’t discount bulgur: it contains about half the calories of quinoa, cup for cup, and boasts more fiber).

What quinoa lacks in fiber, hummus makes up for: chickpeas are rich in slow-digesting complex carbohydrates that help maintain steady blood sugar levels, reduce hunger, and promote satiety. And even with its rich, creamy taste, almost all of the fat it contains come from healthy sources, like olive oil and tahini, that provide omega-3 fatty acids.

Meatless Monday: Chickpea Tagine

Originally hailing from North Africa, a tagine is a slow-cooked stew made with meat, vegetables, or legumes and seasoned with aromatic ingredients like olives, apricots, ginger, dates, nuts, herbs, and lemons. Most use a variety of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, saffron, and pepper. This recipe is vegetarian, but because of its long simmering time and intense spice blend, it’s plenty hearty for carnivores. Chickpeas are a complete protein (with 8 grams per half cup), but you can bump the protein up even more by serving the dish over barley, farro, or other whole grains.

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, mashed
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 carrots, chopped into coins
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 cups vegetable stock (more or less depending on thickness)
2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
10 dried apricots, halved
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Kale

Method
Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion; saute until soft. Add garlic and half of ginger.

Add chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable stock, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and apricot halves.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes (add more vegetable stock if it gets too thick). Add lemon zest, rest of garlic, and juice.

Simmer 5 more minutes, or longer if softer texture is desired.Serve over a bed of kale (or your favorite green) and garnish with parsley.


Why Should You Eat This?

Going vegetarian just once a week can have major health payoffs. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, eliminating meat from your diet just one day of the week can reduce your saturated fat intake by 15%, which is significant enough to deter the development of “lifestyle diseases” like heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Limiting meat intake can also fend off obesity and increase longevity. But going meatless just once a week has a huge environmental impact, as well: according to the Environmental Defense, if every American substituted a meat-based meal for a plant-based one each week, the carbon dioxide emission savings would be equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road for one day.

Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, making them a great pick for regulating blood sugar, increasing satiety, and decreasing total caloric intake. If you’re a snacker and processed foods are your weakness, add this legume to your diet: a study published in the journal Appetite found that participants who supplemented their diet with chickpeas decreased their consumption of high-calorie, low-fiber snack foods.

The turmeric and chickpeas in this meal contribute an advantageous blend of antioxidants to the dish: curcumin, found in turmeric, and quercetin, found in chickpeas (as well as onions and garlic) have been found to reduce the size and quantity of precancerous lesions in the digestive tract. Chickpeas also contain the phytonutrients kaempferol, myricetin, ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid as well as molybdenum, manganese, and iron.