Veggie Couscous Salad
- 8oz package of pearl couscous
- 8 – 10 asparagus spears, cut into thirds
- 1 bell pepper, large diced
- 4 – 5 radishes, sliced thin
- 3 – 4 baby bella, or crimini, mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups organic kale, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 2-3 lemons
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook couscous according to package directions, then refrigerate while finishing other steps.
- Cut asparagus and flash steam in a skillet for just a few minutes, then chill with couscous.
- Chop all other vegetables and combine in a large bowl. Add the chilled couscous and asparagus.
- Season with all seasonings and finish off with lemon juice
It really is as simple as that! I intended to roast some sweet potatoes to put in it too but I forgot, despite them sitting out next to me on the prep table! Instead I diced and roasted some regular potatoes to put alongside the salad in the meal prep containers. I’ve uncovered some very compelling evidence that we are “starchivores” at our core, and starchy vegetables definitely seem to keep me full longer, so I’m all for adding some potatoes to my lunch.
I hope you enjoy!
This dish works great for dinner, or to meal prep for a week’s worth of lunches!
- 2 – 15 oz cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 4 cups of spinach and arugula mix
- 1 cup of radishes, sliced and pickled (soak in apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup of red onion, diced
- 20 kalamata olives
- Non-dairy tatziki sauce – click for recipe I used (I swapped in radishes for cucumber because I don’t like raw cucumber)
- 2 limes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by peeling and slicing the radishes, then put them in a bowl and cover with apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice according to directions. Amount of liquid may vary depending on type of rice, but the kind I used needed 2 1/4 cups of water. Bring rice to a boil, then turn down on low, cover, and simmer until water is gone, stirring occasionally.
- While radishes are pickling and rice is cooking, chop all of your vegetables and drain the chickpeas. Prepare tatziki if using.
- Assemble by dividing equally among four bowls the rice, greens and chickpeas. On top of the greens, divide and place all of the remaining veggies, including the pickled radishes.
- Salt and pepper the bowl, then squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime over each bowl. Top with desired amount of hummus and tatziki sauce. I used about 1/4 cup of hummus and a heaping tablespoon of tatziki.
- Stir it all up and enjoy!
After growing weary of scrolling through paragraph upon paragraph of chatter to get to the recipe on other sites, I decided to post the recipe first and then talk about it for those who like to read the commentary!
I adapted this recipe from an idea I found on Pinterest. As mentioned in the recipe I don’t like raw cucumber, but I’ve found that radishes give that same cool bite without the flavor I hate, so I now always use radishes instead of cucumbers. If you like cucumber, then simply sub in cucumber for the radish – whether or not you pickle it is totally up to you!
I also left out the feta cheese to keep this recipe plant-based. I’ve been eating much more plant-based lately than I used to because I was finally able to kick the cheese habit. I have three servings of meat or dairy per week to keep my total animal protein intake to no more than 5% of calories. Or in other words, 560 calories or less per week from animal-based sources. If you want the feta, you can definitely add some feta crumbles to this.
Next up on Mediterranean Monday- chocolate donuts that are entirely plant-based – no dairy, no eggs, no oils. They also have an added pop of antioxidants with walnuts and milled flax, making them not only guilt-free, but good for you. Stay tuned!
‘Tis the season for comfort food, and we all know comfort food comes packed with calories and fat…or does it?? I’ve been on a mission to put a healthy spin on some comfort food classics. Another comfort food classic that I grew up on was chicken and dumplings. My grandma makes absolutely amazing chicken and dumplings, but of course it’s lots of refined flour and animal proteins, which are things I try to limit in my diet.
So with chicken and dumplings in mind, I started thinking of a way to get a similar taste and texture, with plant-based ingredients. What I came up with is this chickpea and gnocchi soup — chickpeas in place of chicken and gnocchi in place of traditional dumplings — with some carrots and zucchini for color and a little extra veggie goodness. I did not make this dish vegan, but it can easily become vegan by simply using an egg substitute in making the gnocchi — that is the only animal-based ingredient in the whole pot!
Chickpea and Gnocchi Soup
- 1 large Yukon gold potato
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup of finely ground oats
- 1 egg (or use egg substitute to make it vegan)
- pinch or two of salt
- 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 – 2 whole carrots, diced
- 1/2 of a medium zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 TBS cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- To make the gnocchi — peel and chunk the potatoes, then boil until softened. Drain, then mash (no butter or milk!). Combine a cup of the mashed potatoes, the flour, oats, egg and salt, then knead until dough comes together. Roll out into long strips about 1/2″ in diameter, then cut into 1/2″ – 1″ pieces. Boil in large pot of water until gnocchi rises to the top. Remove, drain, and set aside.
- For the soup — First, mix the cornstarch and a small amount of either the broth or almond milk in a small cup and stir into small. Then, in a large stock pot (or a crock pot if you prefer), combine cornstarch mixture and all remaining ingredients except for the cooked gnocchi. Bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots and zucchini are tender, and the broth has thickened a bit (you could omit the cornstarch for a more traditional soup texture, but it gives it that thickness that comes with traditional chicken and dumplings).
- Add gnocchi to the pot, then the soup is ready to serve!
How easy is that?! The gnocchi is the most time consuming part, and if you really want to you can find gnocchi premade in the store. I just prefer to make my own so I can be sure it doesn’t contain refined flour. But if you’re short on time, buying premade gnocchi is a great shortcut. If you make it in a crockpot, I would just add the gnocchi about half an hour before you’re ready to serve to make sure it gets good and heated through.
I made a double-batch of this for Michael and I each to have for lunch for the week. It’s such a warming and filling lunch, that is great for the body and the soul. I hope you love it too!
Fall is almost here, which means one big thing for me: hiking and camping season is back! This past week the late summer weather let us down a bit — by now we should be having temps back in the mid-80’s, but the 90’s and high heat indices have been hanging on here in Southeast Missouri. We got semi-lucky on Saturday and finally got a break from the 90’s with a high of 86, and a low in the 60’s. We managed to get just one good weekend day for some comfortable camping!
We have a little cabin on the family farm where we do our camping, and aside from a generator we can use for lights or charging phones, it is completely devoid of electricity and running water. That means no air conditioning, no bathroom, and no refrigerator. When it comes to food, we are limited to a cooler with ice, and shelf-stable foods. When your diet is more plant-centered and processed food-avoidant, this can create a challenge.
As I do with all of eating — I planned ahead. I wanted to make sure I had veggies, fruit, grains and protein…with a bit of a treat since we were in “vacation mode”. For me, that treat was a favorite…chocolate chip cookies! I also kept my cheese intake low this week so that I could enjoy some at the cabin.
So…what was on the camping food list?
- veggie hot dogs…because you have to have hot dogs to cook over a camp fire, and my kids even like them!
- black bean burgers…toss in the cast iron skillet over the fire and toast away
- French fries…to go with the burgers
- carrots, celery and broccoli with hummus…which is also a staple at home
- brown rice crackers
- white cheddar and sharp cheddar cheeses
- organic multi-grain tortilla chips
- black bean chips
- green apples
- peanut butter
- cranberry-almond energy bites…date-based, with a little dark chocolate so it’s like dessert
- boiled eggs, oats, raisins, setvia and almond milk for breakfast
- chocolate chip cookies
- And of course, you have to have marshmallows for the camp fire!
The marshmallows were more for the kids than for me, although I did eat a couple. The treat for the kids was sandwiching the marshmallow in between two chocolate chip cookies to make a sandwich. I definitely never buy this stuff at home, so when we have fun special occasions like this, I let them go a little crazy. Everyone needs that once in a while!
I may not have been able to get the bulk of veggies that I normally do at home while camping, but I feel pretty good about what we had, and I got a new idea for next time — chili! I have no idea why this never occurred to me, but while we were roasting the veggie dogs Hunter said he’d love to have some chili dogs. I could easily do a good meatless chili too, if I want to keep it all plant-based. That is a food that is flexible, and just to make up for his campfire craving, I’m making some chili and veggie dogs for dinner tonight 🙂
Wishing you all a happy camping season!
Happy Labor Day! It’s the first Monday of the month, and that means another Mediterranean Diet-friendly recipe is comin’ atcha! This one was born of a challenge from my boyfriend to come up with a granola bar recipe that wasn’t loaded in sugar and carbs. The truth is, you just can’t find any in the store with less than 25 grams of carbs, and most of that is sugar and not much is dietary fiber.
Well…challenge accepted, and conquered! This recipe has a total of 13.2 grams of carbs, with 5.2 of that being dietary fiber and only 6 being sugar. In fact, we’ve even found dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia, so now that number is even a little bit less.
- 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces (at least 60% cacao)
- 2 TBS chia seeds
- 1/4 cup organic peanut butter
- 1/4 cup stevia for baking
- 1/4 cup sukrin fiber syrup, stevia syrup, or other sugar-free syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- dash or two of cinnamon
- In a food processor, combine nuts and chop into an extra fine consistency, then pour into a medium size mixing bowl
- Grind coconut in the food processor and add to nuts
- Chop cranberries up in the food processor a bit, just to make smaller pieces (the finer the texture of the bars, the better they hold together), and add to the bowl
- Finally, chop up the chocolate pieces and add to the bowl as well, then pour in chia seeds and stir mixture together
- In a small saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and melt together over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until a smooth sauce forms
- Pour the sauce into the dry ingredients, then stir until well-combined
- In a 9×9 square pan lined with wax or parchment paper, pour in the granola mixture and spread evenly with a rubber scraper. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, or until granola is cooled through.
- Lift the parchment paper out of the pan, then cut the granola into 12 pieces. Store in a container or gallon size bag with parchment paper between layers. I keep mine in the refrigerator to keep the bars together. Since they do not contain any sugar, they don’t harden in the way that traditional store-bought granola bars do.
These bars are pretty darn delicious, and Michael never seems to tire of them. I make them for him pretty much weekly, or any time he runs out. He’ll eat them for breakfast or for snacks when he gets hungry at work. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean just eating bland, flavorless veggies…and this recipe is proof! Hope you enjoy as much as he does 🙂