Protein and Veggie Packed Pasta

 

Protein Veggie Pasta

You can never run out of  interesting options with pasta.  The spicy broccoli rabe and edamame make this a protein and vegetable combo dream.  I’ve been running a lot these days and I need carbs for energy and protein for  recovery.  This is everything to me!  Bonus:  it is simple and delicious.

Protein and Veggie Packed Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Pasta (any kind)
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. shelled edamame, steamed
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli rabe or broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Grated Romano cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add garlic, onion and broccoli, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in edamame.
  5. Drain pasta and add to skillet with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 of the parsley, tomatoes and pepper flakes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Toss to combine and top with cheese and remaining parsley.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/protein-and-veggie-packed-pasta/

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad

Quick and Easy Chickpea salad

As Spring weather starts to grace us before it officially starts, it makes you think about lighter fare recipes and naturally salads come to mind. You can’t go wrong with an easy salad that can be paired with the protein of your choice. This is nothing fancy but it packs in nutrients and flavor.  Protein, folate, fiber, and iron in a tasty simple salad – what’s not to love?

Feed the wellness in you!

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped English cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. In a bowl, combine chickpeas with all the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Best made in advance!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quick-and-easy-chickpea-salad/

 

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

We survived the Blizzard of 2016!  I’m always ok for welcoming one storm during the winter so hopefully this is where it ends.  Although I prepared to be snowed in a few days I grew tired of the food items I had on hand by day 4.  I needed the ‘curfew’ to be lifted so I can get to the grocery store and be creative.

I often look for recipes that inspire me and luckily I found a winner  Not only did it inspire me but I followed it pretty much word for word in creating it except for two ingredients and some minor changes in the cooking process. This is rare for me. When I say that recipes ‘inspire’ me it is just to give me an idea about creating something from scratch.  Not this time!   I saw the picture of the prepared dish and thought that it looked good, but when I went down the list of ingredients – brown rice, shredded carrots, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas and tofu – I knew it was worth a try.  The only main ingredient I changed was used shredded red cabbage instead of spinach and I’m glad I did.  Not only does it give it more color but it adds to the texture and flavor of the dish.  I think the spinach would be bland and tone the dish down too much.   For the peanut sauce the author used light soy sauce with sesame oil, chili garlic and peanut butter.  I substituted the soy sauce with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and didn’t use any sesame oil.  This sauce is delicious!  Sweet and spicy with a hint of peanut, I can see using this in various ways.

Do yourself a favor and make this REALLY soon!

Feed the wellness in you!

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Tofu Bowl
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl sesame oil
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned)
  • salt/pepper
  • 16 oz extra firm cubed tofu, pressed and drained
  • Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cube tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. If you aren't using a non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray. Remove from oven and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter) until creamy and smooth. Add ½ of the sauce to the tofu bowl and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Toss the broccoli with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until just tender.
  4. Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, in batches, along with the marinating sauce until crispy and golden browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. To assemble, divide the brown rice among 4 bowls, top each bowl with ¼ cup shredded carrots, ½ cup red cabbage, ¼th broccoli, ¼ cup garbanzo beans and a few pieces of tofu. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Alex Caspero - http://delishknowledge.com/peanut-tofu-buddha-bowl/

https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/peanut-tofu-rice-bowl/

 

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Another week and we’re still waking up to below freezing weather in the North East. It IS winter so we can’t say we didn’t know it was coming, along with the potential snow. Now we are preparing for a blizzard that may dump 18″-20″ of snow – are you ready? (Question is not directed to you folks in Florida, California, the Caribbean, Australia, etc., that are rubbing the warmth in our faces right now!)  I made another pot of soup to have on hand for lunch or dinner while we wait for the possibility of being ‘snowed in’ and the clean up that can take days!

Like my other soups this is chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Lest not forget, my soups are always easy to prepare to minimize the impact on time and eliminate the excuses for preparing something healthy.  I always keep my soup base of vegetable stock and fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry, in addition to having lots of beans since this is my main source of protein.  These basics are also inexpensive so stock up.

I paired this with a grilled cheese sandwich made with Ezekiel Bread, 2% cheese and Campari tomatoes.  You still have time to get to the grocery store before the storm hits.  Ready, set, go!

Feed the wellness in you!

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup of Pearled Barley
  • 2 lbs of Black Eyed Peas (or you can use 2 - 15 oz cans of Black Eyed Peas)
  • 6-8 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients except for the spinach in a large pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil then turn to low for 45 minutes.
  3. Stir only a few times as the black eyed peas easily break up when they are cooked.
  4. Add the spinach and continue on low for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir when wilted to incorporate throughout the soup.
  6. Remove from heat and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/black-eyed-peas-and-barley-soup/

Three Bean Vegan Soup

3 Bean Vegan Soup

Don’t you just love a warm bowl of soup on a cold day? We experienced some morning weather in the teens early this week and I head straight to the store  with soup on my mind. I love a hearty soup that give you a variety of flavors and textures. This soup is easy to make, quickly if you are in a hurry, without sacrificing flavor.

In addition to a few other ingredients, this picture captures all the items in the soup!  3 Bean Soup Ingredients

Although I call it ‘Three Bean’ soup because of the cannellini, kidney and garbanzo beans there are so many other great things in this soup to add to your nutrition – barley, spinach, baby kale, chard – how about that for a bowl full of goodness!  This is the season for the extra Vitamin C you will get from your greens along with iron and folate; the beans  along with barley give you protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Try it whether the temps dip or not.  Warm your soul.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

3 Bean Vegan Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c pearled barley
  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 1 - 5 oz bag of Fresh Express Baby Kale Mix
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Chick Peas
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Green Peppers, Celery and Onions
  • 3 links of Light Life Chorizo chopped
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients except for baby kale mix in large pot.
  2. If you're in a hurry bring ingredients to boil then simmer for 30 minutes, adding baby kale mix last 5 minutes until wilted.
  3. If you're not in a hurry, let this cook on low heat for 1.5 hours adding baby kale mix in the last 5 minutes until wilted. This is even better if you prepare in a crock pot.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/three-bean-vegan-soup/

Pumpkin Pilaf

Pumpkin Pilaf

Are you tired of plain brown rice and eating it just because it’s supposed to be better for you? With just a few additional ingredients you can be more creative and get more nutrients with that once plain brown rice. calabazaThis dish doesn’t have the pureed pumpkin we see prominently displayed in the grocery aisles right now.  What is used is the Caribbean Calabaza pumpkin or ‘West Indian Pumpkin’.  It is very popular in the Caribbean and Central and South America.  The seeds of the pumpkin, known as pepitas, are eaten as a snack when roasted and you will often find them added to Mexican cuisine.

I use this pumpkin quite often, especially in soups.  However, this is a great addition to meals on its own and I love it mixed in my rice as I had it growing up.  For added protein I include chickpeas and with minimal seasonings I have a great side dish.  I’ve had this with other side vegetables and even with my vegetarian chili.  The Calabaza pumpkin may not be easy to find but a great substitute is butternut squash.  You could never go wrong with that!

 Feed the wellness in you!

 

Pumpkin Pilaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

The Calabaza is usually cut in to large pieces but you will have to dice it into much smaller pieces. It has a tough skin so be careful and have a sharpened knife ready.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced Calabaza pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 tbl tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place diced pumpkin in a medium pot with one cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil for ten minutes.
  2. Add the brown rice and chickpeas to the pumpkin along with 1.5 cups of vegetable broth.
  3. Mix in 1 tbl of tomato paste.
  4. Cook according to the brown rice directions (approx. 20 minutes)
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/pumpkin-pilaf/

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

 

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

When I say simple I really mean SIMPLE! No ‘haute cuisine’ here.  In my quest to incorporate more protein daily in my vegetarian lifestyle I came up with a simple and easy lettuce wrap. It doesn’t have many ingredients nor take a long time to prepare. What’s great about this is you can substitute whatever veggies and protein you may like. This version has broccoli, quinoa, edamame, shitake mushrooms and roasted tofu — but the possibilities are endless.  Talk about a  protein packed dish – all of these ingredients provide a good portion of protein in addition to other vitamins and minerals like iron, fiber and vitamin C.  Another bonus is that you can find most of these items prepared and/or chopped which adds to easy preparation. Tips on preparing roasted tofu can be found in my recipe Curry Tofu and Chickpeas if you cannot find any at your local grocer or salad bar.

Try it as a snack, appetizer or lunch option.

Feed the wellness in you!

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Most grocery stores sell fresh broccoli crowns, shitake mushrooms, and edamame already chopped. At some salad bars you may find cooked quinoa and roasted tofu. This will eliminate most of your prep time.

Ingredients

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli crowns
  • 1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 cup roasted tofu
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, sautee the broccoli crowns in 1 tbl of extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the shitake mushrooms, edamame, tofu and sautee another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the quinoa, soy sauce
  5. Cook on simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the sweet chili sauce on top.
  7. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Add a few spoonfuls of the veggies on top of two large leaves of romaine lettuce and roll/wrap over the veggie mix to eat.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/simple-veggie-lettuce-wraps/

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg

Despite my love for cooking I do not enjoy being in the kitchen in the summer. I love the warm weather but I don’t like going from the heat outside to a hot stovetop.  So right now I am doing my best to prepare meals in as little time as possible.  I got a lot of mileage from my mini frittatas last week and was able to enjoy them over a few days so I thought it would be helpful to create another dish that would provide me with the same benefit.  A dish with a few ingredients, minimal preparation with protein and vegetables that I could have for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

The combination of the quinoa with egg whites was seamless and of course a great source of protein.  The texture was great and the simple flavors of it paired with spinach and reduced fat feta was perfect. Opt for reduced-fat feta cheese to lower your intake of saturated fat by about one-third. Use just a small amount of feta cheese. Because it has such a strong flavor, it only takes a tiny bit to get the flavor of the cheese. What really tops this quiche off, literally, are the Campari tomatoes.  The Campari has a great taste, firm skin, and sweet flavor.  slice of quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg I served it with roasted broccoli and a salad for dinner, then just on its own for breakfast the next day.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 quiche pie

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions
  • Vegetable broth or boullion
  • 4 oz baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled reduced fat feta
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 Campari tomatoes
  • 16 oz egg whites
  • 9 inch pie crust (I used an organic whole wheat crust found at Whole Foods)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook 1/2c quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions in 1 cup of vegetable broth or water with a vegetable boullion.
  3. Follow the package cooking directions which could vary between 20-30 minutes.
  4. When cooked measure 1.5 cups of quinoa and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool
  5. Saute the baby spinach in olive oil for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the spinach to the large mixing bowl and let cool.
  7. Add the egg whites and feta cheese, mix well.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Pour into the 9 inch pie shell.
  10. Slice the tomatoes and place on top.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
  12. Remove and lets cool to a medium heat before cutting and serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-and-spinach-quiche/

 

Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas

 

mini egg white frittata.jpg

I was away on vacation for the past week and I didn’t post a recipe despite having a few to share. I convinced myself to truly disconnect, enjoy my surroundings and was so glad that I did. Prior to vacation my girlfriend and I co-hosted a Father’s Day brunch for the second year in a row.  It was fun for us to bring our family and friends together again, and our cooking styles are a good match.  I prepare all the vegetarian friendly dishes and she prepares all of the meat and fish which included fried chicken, baked rockfish, snapper and lamb sausages.  There was something for everyone.

I made a baked French toast with croissants – very similar to the Paula Deen recipe made with French bread if you’ve ever tried that. I also made a large chopped salad that I  posted a recipe for a few weeks ago, and lastly I prepared two different mini frittatas – one made with whole eggs, and one with egg whites.

For my egg white frittatas I used spinach, shitake mushrooms, red onions, roasted peppers, feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Lots of flavor with just a few ingredients.  I made them in a muffin tin which makes it easy to prepare and store.  The leftovers can be frozen in sandwich bags and used later as needed.  What I love about these frittatas is that I get much needed daily consumption of protein and vegetables started at the beginning of the day.  So guess what I have for breakfast this week – my mini egg white frittatas!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 14-16 egg whites
  • 1 10 ounce bag of spinach
  • 1 cup of shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onions
  • 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2c - 3/4c of crumbled feta (depends on how much you desire)
  • 1 tbl of olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • 12 muffin tin
  • Cooking spray or olive oil to coat the muffin trays

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sautee the spinach, mushrooms, red onions and red peppers on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl and when spinach mixture cools, fold into the egg whites.
  4. Add the crumbled feta.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 to the top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until egg is no longer soft.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/mini-egg-white-spinach-frittatas/

Weekly Wellness Tip – BCAA Benefits

Amino Acids

My trainer recently advised me to start taking the supplement BCAA, Branched-Chain Amino Acids. I asked why this was necessary on top of all the other grueling stuff and he said it would help with muscle recovery and reduce soreness. I then asked “Well what is it??”  All he said was that it is protein and it would be helpful, particularly on a vegetarian diet .  In other words, trust me and just do it.  Without any further questioning I went to my local GNC and got it in pill form.  The daily consumption is 6 gigantic pills a day!  With such a commitment I needed to learn a bit more about this supplement to my daily routine.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are needed to build the various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of the twenty amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential amino acids) must come from the diet or supplements. The nine essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Another amino acid, histidine, is considered semi-essential because the body does not always require dietary sources of it. The nonessential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. Foods of animal origin such as meat and poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, are the richest dietary sources of the essential amino acids.

Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the  three essential amino acids in BCAA which play an important role in protein synthesis. These three amino acids are considered essential because the human body does not produce any of them and human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.  In fact, BPAAs make up about 35% of all muscle tissue.  Amino acids from food travel first to the liver, where they’re broken down for use as fuel or assigned to muscle repair. BCAAs bypass the liver and go directly to the muscles for fueling, building and repairing.

There is inconsistent evidence about the effectiveness of branched-chain amino acids for athletic performance. Many studies suggest that taking branched-chain amino acids does not enhance exercise or athletic performance. However, other research suggests that it might reduce tiredness and muscle soreness associated with exercising.

My conclusion is that taking BCAA supplements are a good addition to my routine, which includes a healthy diet and exercise.  My goal of gaining more muscle can be achieved with the protein in my diet, additional protein with BCAAs and resistance training.   However, I will let make my doctor aware of the supplements suggested to get her feedback.

Feed the wellness in you!