Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Hearty quinoa with its nutty flavor compliments sweet berries and crunchy almonds in this breakfast bowl that will keep you satisfied all morning. Substitute the blackberries and blueberries for any seasonal berry in your region of the world. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians. It’s also an excellent whole grain option for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it’s naturally gluten-free.

I love to make a big batch of Berry Breakfast Quinoa on the weekend for a fast reheat and eat breakfast on busy morning. A nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water, plus more for rinsing
⅓ cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blackberries
6 ounces blueberries
⅓ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sorghum or honey

Directions:

  1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa with water.
  2. Combine quinoa, water and cranberries in a rice cooker and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add berries, almonds and sorghum. Stir to combine and serve warm or chill and enjoy cold.

Servings: 4

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Winter squash and greens are two of my seasonal favorites and this dish includes them both for a hearty vegetarian meal. Roasted Acorn Squash and Quinoa with Greens also makes an elegant side dish served with roasted pork tenderloin and a simple salad.

Roasting acorn squash makes the skin tender enough to eat and not having to peel the squash saves time in the kitchen. This recipe is pretty hands-off, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the Christmas season while your nutritious dinner is cooking.

Ingredients:
1 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup quinoa
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch spinach or other greens (about 6 loosely packed cups)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Trim each half into thin wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake until tender and golden brown, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop spinach. When quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and add spinach, salt and black pepper to rice cooker. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes until spinach has wilted. Keep on warm setting until squash is done.
  4. Serve squash wedges on top of quinoa and spinach mixture and top with crumbled goat cheese

Servings: 2 to 3 as a main dish or 4 to 6 as a side

Note: If you do not have a rice cooker, follow the package instructions for preparing quinoa on the stove top.

 

Roasted Winter Vegetable Pizza

Say goodbye to winter with roasted seasonal vegetables on top of a thin crust pizza. At the end of the season, I love to eat my favorite vegetables and wear my favorite outfits before the next season arrives. I have enjoyed some delicious local sweet potatoes and kale over the past few months and this meal is all about two of my two favorite winter vegetables. Turnips, leeks, thyme and sorghum compliment the sweet potato and kale, creating an earthy pizza pie with the perfect sweet and savory combination.

This recipe pairs well with a simple salad and a Pinot Noir from Oregon, and it makes an excellent meal for entertaining vegetarian guests. Cheers to savoring the last tastes of winter. Now, I’m looking forward to spring and the new produce that awaits.

Ingredients:
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon sorghum (or honey)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1 tablespoons water
1 ball pizza dough
¾ shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. On a large baking sheet, combine leeks, sweet potatoes and turnip. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add kale and water and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until greens have wilted.
4. Roll or stretch (I roll and stretch) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
5. Place crust on pizza pan and add an even layer of roasted vegetables, sautéed kale and top with mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until cheese melts and edges of crust turn golden brown. Remove from oven, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Servings: 4 ~ Serving size: 2 slices

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Greens


Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.

I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
9 cups water, divided
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
20 hot and sweet jalapeño slices

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add dried beans and 5 cups water. Heat to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour. Drain beans.
2. In a slow cooker, add pinto beans, onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 hours.
3. Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
4. Stir cilantro into kale and pinto beans, serve in bowls and top each with 5 hot and sweet jalapeño slices.

Serves: 4

Note: This is a fast soaking method for beans, and you can always soak overnight if you prefer. You can substitute kale for other greens, such as turnip, mustard or swiss chard.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

I love the way the leaves fall off Brussels sprouts when you quarter them, resembling flower petals and creating a beautiful centerpiece for your plate. This cooking method caramelizes the vegetable, bringing out its natural sweetness. If your family members don’t love Brussels sprouts, this recipe may just change their mind.

This dish is so simple and mostly hands off, which is why I love roasting vegetables. You can step outside and grill your favorite lean protein while your Brussels sprouts roast. Pair this side dish with grilled salmon, a simple salad, fresh whole grain bread and your favorite white wine for an elegant and easy stay-at-home, date-night meal.

Ingredients:
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1½ tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters, keeping the leaves (or as I like to call them, petals) that fall off.
2. Place Brussels sprouts on a large baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt and pepper on top and toss with a spatula to evenly coat.
3. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking cycle. Brussels sprouts will be tender with dark brown outer leaves. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, toss and serve.

Note: While I love this as a side dish, it’s just as tasty for breakfast topped with a fried egg. It’s a great way to reinvent those leftovers.

Servings: 6

Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla

Sweet potatoes may not be a common quesadilla ingredient, but this puree — combined with black beans, mushrooms and jalapeño pepper slices — results in a delicious medley that gives your taste buds a little heat and sweet. It’s a great use of winter sweet potatoes, or you can preserve the puree during the growing season to enjoy throughout the year.

I love a reason to have a glass of wine with dinner. The mushrooms need some cooking wine, so there is my rational for opening a bottle and enjoying a glass or two with my meal. Cheers to good food, good wine and a different take on veggie quesadillas.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (8 ounce) container white button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red wine (any varietal)
2 cups (1 recipe) Spicy Sweet Potato Puree
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 (15 ounce can) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
30 hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices
Optional: light sour cream for serving

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until browned. Add red wine and cooking 4 to 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
2. Spread ⅓ cup of sweet potato puree evenly on one side of tortilla. Top with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons mushrooms and 5 jalapeño slices. Fold tortilla over, completely covering ingredients. Repeat to create 5 more quesadillas.
3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place two quesadillas in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip quesadillas and cook for an 3 additional minutes. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas two at a time. Cut each into 4 wedges and serve with sour cream if desired.

Servings: 6 ~ Serving size: 1 quesadilla