Category Archives: vegetarian meal

Baked Falafel

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We love eating different cuisines but we aren’t big on going out to eat. I am slowly trying out different cuisines besides American, Italian, Mexican, and Chinese. Greek is my new favorite, and falafel is the main reason why!

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We have been eating hummus for a few years now. I make big batches of beans in the crockpot instead of using canned. I freeze the remaining portions and take them out as needed to make quick easy meals. One of those meals is this falafel! Its great as a side dish alongside greek marinated meat and tzatziki sauce or stuffed into a pita with some cucumber and feta.

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We had only ever had falafel from a restaurant and its of course fried. This version is much healthier since I get a nice crust on the stove first using a little olive oil, but then finish it off in the oven.

Falafel recipe

serves 4

3 green onions, diced

2 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs dry)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons olive oil

Mix all ingredients together besides olive oil. Mash well with a potato masher, pastry cutter, or pulse in food processor. You wanted it roughly mashed but a few chunks left in there.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Form into tablespoon sized balls with your hands, squeezing tightly so they don’t fall apart, or larger patties. Place in the olive oil and brown all sides.

Move to a silpat baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 143

fat: 5 g

Sodium: 251 mg (10%)

Carbohydrates: 18.6 g

Dietary Fiber: 5 g

Sugars: 3 g

Protein: 6.8 g

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Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry

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For those of you that have kids, you know how nice it is when your child eats all their dinner and asks for seconds.  Especially when it is no where near “kid food”. Alyssa asked for seconds and Cassidy was doing the sign language for more when her bowl was empty. And when Alyssas was gone she said “Do we have leftovers? Because I want the same thing tomorrow for dinner”. That’s really rare since Alyssa is just like Dave, not a leftovers fan (weirdos, I love them). I went to the computer right away and typed up the recipe so I didn’t forget what random ingredients I threw together. I have since repeated it and the recipe is very forgiving. If you don’t have the specific vegetables on hand, substitute. Don’t have ground beef? Use ground turkey. No quinoa, use millet.

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Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry

Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup chopped carrots

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/4 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/8 tsp ground pepper

1/16 tsp salt

1/4 cup sunflower seeds for garnish

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Chop all veggies.

Place olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, and ground beef in a skillet and cook until beef is browned and veggies are starting to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add all other ingredients besides quinoa and sunflower seeds and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add quinoa and simmer another 20 minutes.

Check to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, add a little more chicken broth.

Portion into serving bowls and sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.

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Variations:

Vegetarian: omit the ground beef, keep everything else the same. The lentils and seeds provide plenty of protein.

Grain free: omit the quinoa

Soup: Add 1.5 cups more broth

Nutritional Information (for 4 very large servings):

calories: 425

fat: 8.5 g

sodium: 246 (10%)

carbohydrates: 53 g

dietary fiber: 19 g

sugars: 8 g

protein: 35 g

Check out all that fiber, thats a sign of a great whole food meal right there.

Zucchini Pizza Crust and Zucchini Fritters; 2 for 1 Recipe

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Who doesn’t like pizza? I mean seriously, it seems to be one food that everyone loves. It gets a bad rap for being unhealthy though and I am not really sure why. If you use a whole wheat crust, low sugar tomato sauce, and organic cheese and veggies as toppings, it sounds like a well rounded meal to me. Although I always have the issue of piling on too many topping to try and get more vegetables in. A couple sprinkled mushrooms on top of a huge pizza doesn’t quite help you get your 5 servings of vegetables in a day. My solution? Veggies in the crust! With everyone’s booming zucchini crop this time of year (besides mine, dang squash borers!) this recipe will be perfect to use some up and sneak in some extra veggies! My kids LOVED it.

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Zucchini Pizza Crust:

2 1/2 packed cups shredded zucchini

2 eggs

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

5 basil leaves

1 tsp fresh oregano

2 tsp fresh parsley

Shred zucchini. It took about 2 small to medium zucchini to make 2.5 cups. Place a couple of paper towels in a bowl and put zucchini on top. Mix in the 1/4 tsp salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. Pick up the zucchini in the paper towels and wring all the water out you can. Place new dry paper towels in the bowl and let zucchini rest on it again for 10 minutes. Wring out any remaining water you can. The more water you get out, the crispier the crust will be.

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Chop herbs.

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Mix herbs, zucchini and the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl.*

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If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and turn your oven to 350F. Once its preheated, take it out and very generously cover with corn meal. Press dough out on pizza stone with your fingers, getting it as thin as possible. If you don’t have a pizza stone, grease a baking sheet and again, flatten out dough as thin as possible. I actually think it works better on a baking sheet since you can grease it well. You aren’t supposed to use spray on a pizza stone so it does stick a little.

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Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil for 2-5 minutes, until very browned.

If you like a crispier crust, flip the crust over and broil the other side for 2-5 minutes. Make sure you use a thin spatula to get the crust off the pizza stone so you don’t tear it up.

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Add sauce, cheese, and toppings and cook pizza at 350F for additional 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

And ready for this? It doubles as a zucchini fritter recipe!

Zucchini Fritters:

same as above until *. Now instead of pressing down in one large crust, spoon dough, 2 Tablespoons at a time, onto greased cookie sheet and press down until very thin. Cook at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Broil for 2-5. Flip over. Broil another 2-5. These are high in protein and high in nutrients. A perfect summer side dish! I also substitute sharp cheddar for the mozzarella when making fritters sometimes (really whatever cheese I have on hand) and they are amazing! My children both go nuts for these!

Check out the nutrition stat for each slice of pizza crust when cut into 8 slices. That is some high protein and high veggie crust!

Calories: 67

Total Fat: 3.3g

Sodium : 181mg (8%)

Carbohydrates: 4.4g

Protein: 5.1g

Make sure you check out my Graham Cracker Recipe. I added some variations I tried out over the weekend, including chocolate graham crackers!

Mexican Bean, Corn, and Pasta or Quinoa Salad

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One of our favorite side dishes in the summer time is pasta salad. Dave absolutely loves it. I always make it to take to BBQ’s and unfortunately rarely come home with leftovers. It is also a great dish for me to bring places because it often serves as Alyssa’s meal because of her food allergy. Since I can’t know for sure if there are tree nuts in dishes other people make, I can’t let her eat them. So I always bring a side that can double as her meal. Pasta salad has carb, veggies, and protein. Perfect.

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We went to a Cinco de Mayo party and were asked to bring a dish to share. I searched the internet but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. I also wanted to keep it healthy and not add an entire cup of olive oil or mayonnaise, like some recipes called for. I came up with this light, tangy, slightly sweet, vinegar based pasta and bean salad. I got quite a few compliments on the dish at the party. I let Alyssa try it before the party and she loved it. She asked if she could eat a bowl for lunch. I warned her that it was going to be her dinner as well. She said great and devoured it twice in one day. Ok… and I won’t lie, I did as well. Its got healthy carbs, protein in the beans, veggies in the corn and pepper, healthy fats in the avocado. Seriously an amazing summer meal in itself! Vegetarian, keeps well, healthy…

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Mexican Bean, Corn, and Pasta or Quinoa Salad:

10 oz whole wheat bow tie pasta or 1.25 cups quinoa, cooked and fluffed

1.5 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 cups corn

1 red pepper, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3 green onions, diced (white and green parts)

Dressing:

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 Tbs plus 1 tsp honey

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 lime, juice and zest

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1/16 tsp chili powder

1/16 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne, optional if you like your mexican with a little kick

1 avocado, diced

Cook pasta al dente. Run under cool water. In a large mixing bowl add cooked pasta, beans, corn, red pepper, tomatoes, and green onion.

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In a separate small bowl mix the dressing together.

Pour dressing on salad and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight so the beans and pasta suck up the delicious dressing.

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When ready to serve, place diced avocado on top.

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If you have some chips on hand, dip them in there too…you won’t be sorry!

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I think I may make a batch of the dressing alone to have for salads.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 242

Fat: 7.3 g

Sodium: 128 (5%)

Carbohydrates: 39 g

Dietary Fiber: 7 g

Sugars: 5.4 g

Protein: 7.6 g

Hummus, Parmesan Quinoa, and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The hummus recipe is more of a “tip” than a recipe. Homemade hummus is simple and delicious. But why isn’t mine ever as creamy as the stuff from the store? I like the ingredients in mine better and its healthier with less oil, so maybe that’s why it isn’t as good? Well I found the secret! The secret: Super creamy hummus comes from taking the little peel or shell or whatever you want to call it off of the bean. It takes a couple minutes (maybe 5) but all you have to do it lightly rub each bean between your fingers and the little peel will separate. Kind of like the little brown peel on the outside of a peanut when you crack it. So remove those off all the chick peas and discard them for the creamiest hummus ever!

It’s also a huge money saver since a can of organic beans costs about $1, dry beans are even cheaper, and premade hummus costs about $4. Mine has much less oil but is still just as creamy and delicious!

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Super Creamy Garlic Hummus:

1.5 cups chick peas=1 can, drained and rinsed (reserve about 1/2 of liquid from can or cooking liquid)

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

roasted red peppers, basil, and oregano are some of my other favorite add ins!

First, take the peel off all of the chick peas.

Place all of the ingredients in the food processor, including half of the liquid you reserved in the can. I used the magic bullet because I was making a small batch. If you want to double the recipe, a food processor would be necessary. Give it a whirl for a minute or so until its silky smooth.

On to the quinoa. We make quinoa quite a bit. I usually make a pilaf or we just eat it plain with a little salt and italian seasonings. Well tonight I made a risotto. The carrots made it sweeter than the other quinoa recipes I make and I think it might be my new favorite way to eat the little grain, well protein technically I guess. It was the first food Alyssa ate off her plate and begged for more so I call that a win. Quinoa is so simple and quick to make too. I love brown rice but it takes like 45 minutes to make. Quinoa takes about 15, another win!

Since quinoa is so high in protein and there are carrots in here, it could easily be a meal within itself, and even a vegetarian one! It would probably serve 2 if had for dinner alone or 4 side servings.

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Sweet Quinoa Risotto:

1 cup quinoa

1 1/4  -1 3/4 cups bone broth

1/2 cup white wine

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan plus extra for garnish

1 tsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the stock. I just microwaved it and then poured it in as I went without needing to reheat it. Since its not a traditional rice risotto, it stayed hot because of the shorter cooking time.

Chop the carrots and add them to a pot with the garlic and olive oil. Cook for about a minute on medium heat then add the quinoa. Cook for another minute or two, just enough to toast the quinoa, don’t burn it!

Add the wine and thyme and let the liquid cook down.

Then add stock a little at a time (maybe 1/2 cup each time). Stir frequently. Add enough of the broth until the quinoa is cooked and the edges become visible from the inside.  Once its all cooked and all liquid is absorbed, add the butter and parmesan and give it one last stir.

And on to the cookies. I asked Dave last night what he wanted for dessert. He gave me the same response he always does when I ask him a question, “I don’t care”. I finally got it out of him that he wanted some sort of cookie. So I got to work. This is a healthy cookie, and could even be eaten as a breakfast cookie. While eating them my husband said numerous times “man these are really good”. But when is something with dark chocolate chips in it not good, really?

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:

makes 10.

375 F

wet:

2/3 ripe banana, mashed

1 Tbs honey

1 egg

1 Tbs flax

1 Tba chia seeds

3 Tbs milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

dry:

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs flour (sprouted, whole wheat)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

mix wet. Mix dry.

Combine the two.

Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Put on plate and bring into living room for family to enjoy.