Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

 

Missing a few ingredients or tools for a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try? Change it! I adapted this recipe from the Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad recipe at CookingQuinoa.net. I don’t have a grill, so I roasted onions and peppers instead of grilling. This nutritious salad is refreshing and filling…perfect for a summer dinner!

roasted vegetable and quinopa salad

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, dry

2 medium green bell peppers

1 small onion

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 small tomatoes

Directions:

Soak the quinoa in a small bowl for 5 minutes and strain. Place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set quinoa aside in a mixing bowl to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice the peppers into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and cut the onion into strips. The pieces do not have to be uniform. Place the peppers and onions in a medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss the vegetables in the oil.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the vegetables on the sheet. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, turning the vegetables after 20 minutes. Set aside the vegetables to cool until you can handle them.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper, minced garlic and sea salt in a small bowl.

Chop the roasted vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces and stir them into the quinoa. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and stir into the quinoa-vegetable mixture. Toss with the dressing. Serve slightly warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Done!

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Savory Saturday: Tacos!

We had these vegetarian tacos for dinner tonight, and the recipe is too tasty to wait for Meatless Monday, so here it is! I adapted this recipe, which uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead of meat, from Ten Minute TVP Tacos by Jolinda Hackett. TVP is a meat substitute made from dehydrated soy. It is a processed food, so you want to use it as a treat now and then — not necessarily every day. Whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be emphasized in a vegetarian diet.

TVP Taco
Add your favorite toppings to this TVP taco filling.

Vegetarian Tacos

Ingredients:

2 cups TVP

2 cups water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 package taco seasoning

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup salsa

flour tortillas

suggested toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo

1. In a large skillet, boil the water and stir in the TVP. Turn the heat to low and let the TVP reconstitute for 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and keep on low heat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a heated nonstick skillet, briefly warm each flour tortilla until the tortilla is soft. Add the taco filling and toppings of your choice and enjoy!

 

Meatless Monday: Whole Wheat Crackers

This week the Meatless Monday recipe is for crisp, tasty whole wheat crackers. These crackers have a similar taste to Wheat Thins; I adapted the recipe from Kitchen Stewardship. Check out the site for the original recipe and more cooking inspiration!

Enjoy these whole wheat crackers with soup or on their own.

Whole Wheat Crackers

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar

1/4 tsp. vanilla

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas.

In a cup, combine water, agave nectar and vanilla. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and combine just until it forms a ball of dough.

Divide the ball of dough into three sections. Sprinkle flour on a surface and rub flour on a rolling pin. Roll the dough as thin as possible. Slice dough into 1 1/2-inch pieces and poke each section with a fork.

Place the pieces of dough on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes, checking frequently to prevent burning. Crackers will be golden brown when done. Repeat this process for the other three dough sections.

For a snack, top these crackers with cream cheese or peanut butter. Of course, they’re also perfect with soups.

Have a great week. Be well and be blessed!

Meatless Monday: Blueberry Banana Bread

Happy Meatless Monday! My husband came up with this recipe idea, and it turned out very well. Blueberries add sweetness along with flavor to this recipe, and the whole wheat adds a rich flavor. For a low-glycemic sugar substitute, try coconut sugar; its caramel-like flavor blends well with the other ingredients, and it measures the same as cane sugar. I adapted the basic banana bread recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Special Edition. I made this bread for the first time yesterday, and knew I had to share it. For more meatless ideas, join us at Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday.

Serve blueberry banana bread with coffee for breakfast...great with cream cheese!

Blueberry Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 beaten eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium/large bananas)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease and set aside one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, oil and bananas. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry ingredients. Combine just until moistened, and fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake for 55 to 60 minute, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. During the last 15 minutes, you may want to cover the loaf loosely with foil to prevent over-browning. Cool in the loaf pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, and then remove loaf from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack, and then wrap and refrigerate overnight before slicing (Yeah, right…who wants to wait?).

Done! Try this bread at breakfast with either cream cheese or peanut butter.

Till next time, be well and be blessed!

Meatless Monday: Tomato Bisque

This week’s Meatless Monday recipe is a classic — tomato bisque! This recipe is adapted from Soup & Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Crescent Dragonwagon. This tasty soup is delicious with a sandwich, or on its own. It’s also a rich source of the antioxidant known as lycopene, which is found in chopped, cooked tomatoes. Lycopene has received much attention for its apparent cancer-fighting properties. Enjoy this soup and be well!

Tomato bisque soup is surprisingly easy to make!

Tomato Bisque (serves 2 to 4 lunch entrees)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 medium tomato, diced

1 tablespoon honey

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a 10-inch skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute a few minutes, until it begins to soften. Add canned and fresh tomatoes with juice, honey, bay leaf, cloves, basil, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of the evaporated milk to just under a boil. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick, smooth, and free of starchy taste — about 1 minute.

Remove bay leaf from the tomato mixture. Gradually add the mixture to the hot thickened milk. Do not add all at once, because it could curdle the milk. Heat the soup thoroughly, but do not boil. If you like, you can thin the soup with a little more milk. Serve hot, immediately.

Meatless Monday: Sloppy Joes!

Yay! This week’s Meatless Monday recipe is vegetarian sloppy joes. You can ease the transition to a meatless diet by using a meat substitute known as textured vegetable protein (TVP). Believe me, sloppy joes are still a treat prepared this way! TVP is a dehydrated soy product which takes on the texture of ground meat when it is soaked in liquid (such as tomato sauce). This source of protein and fiber is usually fortified with vitamin B12. Use it in spaghetti sauce, taco filling, and other dishes. Purchase TVP at natural food stores or online at places like Bob’s Red Mill. Here’s the recipe, adapted from this original recipe at about.com.

And…please join us for more recipes at Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday.

Healthy Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

dash chipotle hot sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon sugar (or equivalent sweetener)

1 1/2 cups TVP

salt and pepper to taste

5-6 hamburger buns

Preparation:

In large skillet, saute onion and pepper in olive oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients (except buns!). Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

Book Review: The Part-Time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni

The Part-Time Vegan

Summary — In her book The Part-Time Vegan, Cherise Grifoni explains the basics of a vegan diet, and provides over 200 recipes. The book begins with helpful tips on adopting a vegan diet. Grifoni encourages readers to try a “flexitarian” approach–in other words, not necessarily all vegan, all the time. She adds a glossary of ingredients, as well as information on animal products that may be hidden in some foods.

From salad dressings to main dishes to desserts, this book contains recipes to suit every taste. To start your day, try “Easy Breakfast Blackberry Bread Pudding”. For lunch, how about “Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup” or “Chili for Those Who’d Rather Not Cook”? Finish the day with one pf the meal plans at the end of the book — “Cashew Cream of Asparagus Soup” for an appetizer, “Sweet Stuffed Butternut Squash” for the main course, followed by “Ginger Spice Cookies”.

Discussion — I appreciate Cherise Grifoni’s advice to try a “part-time” vegan diet. This book, with its flexible approach, will encourage readers who may be reluctant to make permanent, dramatic changes to their diets.  The recipes and ingredients are do-able and accessible. Anyone who is not familiar with ingredients such as nutritional yeast or seitan will feel at ease with the explanations in this book. The meal plans are appealing and straightforward. As someone who has eaten and cooked vegetarian/vegan foods for 20 years, I recommend this book for novices and long-tine vegans alike.

FTC Disclosure — I received my copy of The Part-Time Vegan free of charge from Thomas Nelson Publishers via Booksneeze.com, in return for writing a review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions stated in this review are my own.