Quinoa Fried Rice

 

quinoa fried rice.jpg

This is a fried rice recipe…without the rice!  Trust me, it really does taste like fried rice – you won’t be disappointed. When I was considering a recipe to create this week I had Asian flavors in mind, but didn’t have a vision for what I wanted to see on a plate.  While in the grocery store I saw broccolini and started with that as a great vegetable to have, particularly because I haven’t used it in a recipe that I’ve shared yet.  Broccolini is a popular spring vegetable in Japan so I felt like I was on to something.   I’ve shared a stir fry recipe already so I wasn’t going down that route.  Along with the broccolini I picked up  snow peas, a bag of carrots, and slowly the idea of a fried rice recipe came to mind.  I’m so glad that it did!  Not only did it evolve into something delicious, but using quinoa as a rice substitute was perfection. Quinoa is so versatile and hearty, you won’t miss having rice AT ALL.  The word ‘fried’  in fried rice is deceiving in this dish – I didn’t have to use much oil.  Other than the quinoa substitute I tried to keep it pretty close to a fried ‘rice’ with a little more to bite into than traditional fried rice that has just carrots and peas – the tofu, broccolini, and snap peas really turn this into a delightful, diverse, and healthy dish.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Quinoa Fried Rice

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Don't hesitate to use your favorite condiments - hot mustard, duck sauce, more soy sauce - whatever you generally enjoy with your fried rice!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 c chopped green onions
  • 1.5 c quinoa
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 3/4 c finely chopped white onions
  • 3 tbl canola oil
  • 2 c broccolini crowns
  • 1 c snap peas
  • 1 c bean sprouts
  • 3/4 c lt soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa and green onions in vegetable broth according to the directions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Drain the tofu well and pat between paper towels until fairly dry. Cut the tofu in cubes and place in oven on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 30 minutes.
  4. In a wok or large frying pan, sautee the carrots in 2 tbl of canola oil on high heat for 5 minutes, then add the white onions. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until onions are slightly browned.
  5. Add the broccolini and snap peas to the carrots and onions. Reduce to low heat and mix well. Add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil if vegetables seems dry and are sticking to the pan. Leave on a simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Mix the 2 eggs and egg whites with 1 tsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil. Scramble the eggs until they are dry.
  7. Add the quinoa, tofu and eggs to the frying pan with the vegetables. Turn to medium heat and mix well with the remaining light soy sauce for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Add the bean sprouts on top and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/quinoa-fried-rice/

Bean Pasta Primavera

 

 Cannellini Bean Pasta Primavera.jpg

 

Classic pasta primavera consists of fresh vegetables with pasta in a light sauce. If you search for a pasta primavera recipe on the internet you will find thousands. The typical recipes include various vegetables –  broccoli, green peas, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, peppers – and if protein is added it is usually chicken or shrimp.    I can’t count how many times this dish has been offered to me as the vegetarian option at a catered meal. It makes sense – it is a very simple, inexpensive and quick dish to make, and can be quite tasty.  Unfortunately, I’ve  had to experience the versions made with frozen produce but also have had those made with fresh ingredients and creativity.  Just a little creativity can go a long way.

Instead of giving you what’s been tried and true, I decided to make a primavera with beans.  This dish is not of Italian origin (it’s Canadian!) so I think I have the right to be non traditional yet keep some tradition.  Primavera means spring so I thought to maintain some of the classic essence I would use fresh green peas since they’re in season; peppers (I used three types), onions, and fresh herbs.  What I decided to add for a twist was a bean because the legume is one of my main sources of protein.

I went with the cannellini bean (also known as the white kidney bean) which is very popular in Italian cuisine so I figured it would be a great compliment. In addition to the typical bean benefits of being low in calories, high in fiber and protein, it has uber antioxidants.  Remember, antioxidants are thought to protect your skin and the rest of your body from free radicals, and destructive atoms that invade and damage cells.  I read that these super white beans provide zinc, copper, and along with the protein can also help fight premature wrinkling of the skin….need I say more??

Feed the wellness in you!

Bean Pasta Primavera

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1.5 cups fresh green peas
  • 1/4 cup red onions
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbl capers
  • 1/2 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large orange pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 -2.5 cups Vegetable Broth
  • Shredded Romano Cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 Box of Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta (approx. 8 oz)

Instructions

  1. Sautee the onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil on medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add your cannellini beans and turn to low for 5 minutes, then to simmer.
  3. In a small pot cook the peas in 2 cups of broth on a medium heat until it comes to a boil then add to the cannellini bean mixture.
  4. Add your white wine, capers, tarragon, parsley, fresh thyme. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes while you prepare the pasta according to the directions for al dente pasta.
  5. In a large pan add the pasta and the bean primavera. Mix well and serve with Romano Cheese
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/bean-pasta-primavera/

Warm Farro and Edamame Salad

warm farro and edamame.jpg

A few weeks ago I went to dinner with a girlfriend to a very popular French restaurant in town.  Needless to say, a French restaurant has very limited vegetarian options but what little this restaurant has, they do it very well.  I had their Warm Farro Salad which in addition to farro it featured butternut squash, a little cauliflower, olives, and a few kale chips all on just a handful of radicchio leaves.  It was very good and left me quite satisfied.

As I often do, I left the restaurant wanting to replicate the dish at home in my own way.  I’ve featured Farro and all of the other ingredients in this dish in various recipes on this blog and knew that the combination of them would work well.  However, my goal is to always do something different, creative, and healthy and not replicate a dish exactly how someone else may prepare it.  What came to mind was adding edamame. I absolutely love edamame (aka soybeans).   It is considered a complete protein because it has all nine essential amino acids, in addition to a host of other vitamins and minerals.   I try to keep them on hand but they spoil fairly quickly, within 2-3 days.  They make a great snack in between meals.

The flavors I derived from the dish at the restaurant were a combination of pesto, a little red wine and/or balsamic vinegar for acidity, and fresh herbs.  There are so many ‘stars’ in this dish in addition to the farro and edamame it seems a little unfair to highlight just those two, but perhaps that’s the element of surprise.  I roasted my cauliflower which adds a certain smoked flavor; then there’s the sweetness of the butternut squash along with all the other ingredients make this a nice warm topping for a bed of greens.  Instead of a few kale chips sprinkled throughout, I used fresh, slightly roasted kale chips as the bed instead of salad greens.  After having it this way, the next night it worked well as just a side dish without the kale chips.  Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed.

Feed the wellness in you!

Warm Farro and Edamame Salad

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked
  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash (1/4 in pieces)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbl pesto
  • 1 cup pitted greek olives (I used a combination), chopped
  • 1.5 cups roasted cauliflower
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Kale Chips - Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, dry and remove stems from kale. Break leaves into bit size pieces. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the kale on the parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Put aside
  2. Roasted Cauliflower - Similar to the kale chips, wash, dry and break into bite sized pieces. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The edges of the cauliflower should be slightly charred. It should not be soft but a fork should easily go thru each piece. Put aside
  3. Cook the Farro according to its directions in the vegetable stock. Do not drain.
  4. Sautee the chopped butternut squash in 1-2 tbl of olive oil for 10-15 minutes. They should be tender but not too soft. Mix in with the cooked farro.
  5. Add your edamame, pesto, butternut squash, cauliflower, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Mix well.
  6. Place some kale chips on your plate or deep bowl.
  7. Add the warm farro mixture on top and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/warm-farro-and-edamame-salad/

Green Pea and Avocado Pesto Pasta

Fresh Pea and Avocado Pesto

Peas never got much love – at least not from me.  With all the other delicious vegetables and beans, peas (aka garden peas) don’t ever come to my mind to add to my meals.  However, since it’s spring and they are in season, I can’t help but to think I never gave them a fair chance.  They really deserve some credit given their many nutritional benefits.  They are sweet and starchy but are low in calories;  high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, particularly phytonutrients known for disease prevention.    I decided to stop thinking of peas as a really cheap, bad excuse for a vegetarian option, and let them show up and show out in a recipe.

I kept this recipe fairly simple and paired the peas with some of my standards so there was no way I could fail!  Call it lazy, perhaps, but this is just ONE dish.  Rest assured I will use peas again, especially how pleased I am with the way they really ‘popped’ with every bite.  The peas along with roasted white asparagus, avocado and a little pesto were all perfect.  The peas could shine amongst everything else – they are mildly sweet, slightly crunchy – really delicious.  This recipe is all about the peas but I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasize how wonderful the use of the avocado with pesto is, leaving you no desire for cheese.  I used gemelli pasta but I would also suggest orecchiette or farfalle.

Shout out to all you seasoned, fresh garden pea lovers – I admire that you take the time to remove peas from the pea pods.  The pods are completely edible and good for you also!  They are full of folic acid, an essential B vitamin.  Frozen peas are recommended over canned peas, and of course, fresh peas are the best.  It’s your choice but use fresh or frozen for this dish to maximize the health benefits and taste.

Feed the wellness in you!

Green Pea and Avocado Pesto Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

This dish must be served and eaten when prepared. The avocado is continually ripening so it will not be fresh if refrigerated and warmed for another day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup white asparagus tips
  • 1 box Gemelli Pasta
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1.5 - 2 avocados depending on the size
  • 2 tbl pesto sauce
  • 1 tbl Mrs. Dash
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Cook the peas in 1.5 cups of vegetable stock for 12-15 minutes. Set aside. Do not drain.
  2. Sprinkle the white asparagus tips with olive oil, dash of sea salt and Mrs. Dash. Roast the white asparagus tips until they are crisp and tender, approx. 20 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the directions and drain.
  4. In a large pot mix the pasta with the peas (and remaining vegetable broth), asparagus, sea salt to taste, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder.
  5. In a bowl, mix the avocado with the pesto and thyme.
  6. Mix in with the pasta and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/green-pea-and-avocado-pesto-pasta/

Baked Quinoa and Swiss Chard Casserole

Baked Quinoa and Swiss Chard

I knew I was going to have a busy week last week and it would help if I cooked a meal that would last over a few days.  It needed to have both protein and vegetables, and could serve as a main or side dish.  Whole Foods had a special on all varieties of Swiss chard and I realized I hadn’t featured any recipes with this vegetable so far. The wheels started churning and back in the lab I created this baked quinoa and chard casserole.

Other than the Swiss chard, I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry.  Lately I’ve been keeping cooked quinoa handy for tossing in my salads which I highly recommend.  It’s easy to prepare and can have lots of flavor with just a few ingredients.  For this dish, the quinoa base was cooked in vegetable broth, a little sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder and fresh chives.  Swiss chard is simple to cook and has a unique flavor as all the greens do.  I sautéed it in a little olive oil with onions and peppers.  Combine it all with a few other herbs, spices and cheeses, and the casserole is ready for the oven.

Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K, and C, which are your antioxidant and anti inflammatory vitamins. It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber, and protein.  Quinoa is a super grain that I can’t do without, providing me with much needed protein and fiber.

Try this recipe and get a big spoonful of wellness!

Feed the wellness in you!

Baked Quinoa and Swiss Chard Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • 2 cups Quinoa (about 6 cups cooked)
  • 4.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 oz fresh chives, chopped
  • 4 sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 c shitake mushrooms
  • 1/8 c red onions
  • 5 oz shredded parmesan/asiago/fontina cheese
  • 1 c egg whites
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl parsley
  • 1 tbl sage
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa in 4 cups of vegetable broth, chopped fresh chives, 1 tsp of sea salt. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
  3. In another pan, sautee the Swiss chard with the mushrooms, sweet peppers and red onions for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Combine the quinoa and Swiss chard in a large bowl, mix in .5 c of vegetable broth, egg whites and 2.5 oz of cheese.
  5. Add the remaining herbs and spices.
  6. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and spread the quinoa and Swiss chard mixture in the dish.
  7. Top with remaining 2.5 oz of cheese.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/baked-quinoa-and-swiss-chard-casserole/

In Season Wellness – Rhubarb

fresh rhubarb

Last year at Trader Joes I discovered a rhubarb and strawberry pie.  It was delicious!  However, the next week when I went back to buy another, there were no more.  Not even returning the next day or week.   They were gone until the next season which meant the next year!  I was a rhubarb newbie but I took note and waited.

Now it’s back because rhubarb is in season and I’ve learned more about it.    It is often used for baking pies, cakes, muffins, breads, cookies, and it is often thought of as a fruit … however, rhubarb is a vegetable! It is usually paired alongside strawberries because they peak together in early spring.

Rhubarb is one of the least calorie vegetables with roughly 25 calories per cup, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.  It is 95% water and contains a fair source of potassium, contributes minor amounts of vitamins, and is low in sodium. Rhubarb’s crisp sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium, although the calcium is combined with oxalic acid and so is not easily absorbed by the body. Rhubarb is somewhat acidic (pH 3.1-3.2) but in most recipes this is normally offset by sugar.

I tried to find some innovative ideas  for cooking rhubarb and started with local restaurant menus.  At first all I saw were rhubarb strawberry pies, rhubarb and strawberry crumbles, rhubarb bread puddings, rhubarb crisps, even a strawberry-rhubarb beer!  I kept searching and found it featured in sauces accompanying beef, lamb, and pork.  I marched on and saw it coupled with seafood, then pasta (we’re getting warmer), and then BINGO on a pizza!  Chef Mike Isabella, Top Chef competitor, owner of Graffiato, author of ‘Crazy Good Italian’, featured a special at dinner with rhubarb on pizza.  Rhubarb and mozzarella – I like that!  Or goat cheese may be even better.

I’m not going to attempt a pizza, but with all in season fruits and vegetables right now, I enjoy thinking about how to bring Spring to my table.  Any ideas??

Feed the wellness in you!

Mediterranean Spinach and Chickpea Burger

Mediterranean Spinach and Chickpea Burger

I love when people send me recipes these days.  It shows support, motivates me, and more importantly, it demonstrates that others are being deliberate about seeking healthy alternatives.   I read a quote on a restaurant menu recently – ‘All in all, for us a great meal is an emotional experience’.   So true!  We want food that tastes good so it satisfies us physically AND emotionally.  We can eat healthy meals and achieve both.  At least I believe that we can and I want to help.

As I’ve stated before, I do not use recipes but I am inspired by them.  Recently, a friend sent a recipe for a spinach burger.  I am a big fan of a good veggie burger, of course, but have never seen one made of spinach.  We both weren’t convinced by the picture that it was the right consistency for a contender in the burger category, but I liked the concept.  And once I like a concept, I start to build on it.  I’ve wanted to approach a burger idea for quite some time but wanted it to be a bit more intriguing than a brown rice, lentil, black bean varietal.  When I read the spinach burger recipe, I immediately thought of substitutions and additions to spinach.  It needed to be firmer as a ‘burger’.

For my recipe, I used chickpeas and shitake mushrooms to lift it into burger status.  These denser ingredients could make it something to sink your teeth into and the shitakes also add a great flavor on its own.  I liked that the spinach burger recipe added cheese in the actual burger instead of a slice on top.  It called for ‘shredded cheese’ which I assume is cheddar.  I knew my main ingredients would need to be flavored well so I went with feta cheese instead.  To add even more flavor and pair with the feta I added capers.  My Mediterranean burger was on its way!

To make sure all of my seasonings were fully integrated, I sautéed most of the ingredients and let it cool before forming into burger patties.  The use of primarily panko bread crumbs instead of flour also allowed all of the flavors to stand out since it’s lighter than flour.  The biggest surprise to me was not that this was tasty, but how well it all stuck together as a burger.  I have had plenty of veggie burgers at restaurants that simply fall apart.  Not here!  This was great on a potato bun and even better NAKED!  It needed no condiments but I did try a bite or two with a garlic aioli mustard which was delish.

No need for me to tell you that the spinach, chickpeas, and shitake mushrooms are also good for your heart and soul!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Mediterranean Spinach and Chickpea Burger

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4

The time it takes to drain the spinach is not calculated in the prep time. I let the spinach drain overnight in the refrigerator, but as long as it is thawed it doesn't take long at all to get the water out. Use a strainer then pat it dry between paper towels if you need to.

Ingredients

  • 1 10 oz box of frozen cut spinach, very well drained
  • 1/2 c chickpeas, mashed
  • 1/4 c shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 3/4 c feta cheese
  • 1/4 c red onions
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbl capers
  • 3/4 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c egg whites
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Sautee the mushrooms, garlic and onions for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the spinach, feta cheese and chickpeas, mix until well integrated.
  3. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, Mix to avoid sticking.
  4. Add the sea salt, capers, red pepper flakes and parsley.
  5. Cook for another 5 minutes then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl
  6. Let the mixture cool off.
  7. When cool, add the egg whites, flour and panko bread crumbs.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Form into patties.
  10. Cook in a non stick skillet on medium heat with the cooking spray.
  11. Cook on both sides until golden brown as in the picture.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/mediterranean-spinach-and-chickpea-burger/

Weekly Wellness Tip – Can You Eat This?

Vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan tags.

There are different ways people identify as a vegetarian and it’s been VERY confusing. If you ever had to choose a special meal on a plane you are presented with several options and the vegetarian options alone are plenty!  Despite my choice to be a vegetarian for several years now, I am still referred to as a vegan by some or asked if I eat certain foods, like seafood. A vegetarian diet excludes all animals, and fish are animals.  I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian – “lacto” comes from the Latin word for milk, and “ovo” for egg ; I do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products.   Here is a list of the other various types of plant based diets.

  1. Lacto-Vegetarian – a type of vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
  2. Ovo-Vegetarian – describes people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.  If you are lactose intolerant you may have to prescribe to this type of vegetarianism.
  3. Vegan – Vegans do not eat meat or fish of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar, some wines and even honey.
  4. Raw Vegan – a diet that combines vegan and the raw food lifestyle.  No animal products are consumed and primarily consists of unprocessed, organic vegan foods that have not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius). The idea is that foods cooked above this temperature destroys the nutritional benefits.
  5. Macrobiotic – the guidelines that I’ve read seem to vary but this diet is comprised of unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. However, some vegetables are avoided or used  sparingly like spinach, beets and avocados.  WOW!  The macrobiotic diet was developed in Japan so you will find an emphasis on Asian vegetables.
  6. Flexitarian/Semi-Vegetarian – this diet is really what I hope most people that eat a meat based diet move toward. The goal of my blog is not to advise you to become a vegetarian.  It is an effort to inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of your overall diet.  A flexitarian is one who eats meat occasionally but eats mostly a vegetarian or even pescatarian diet.   The American Heart Association says semi-vegetarianism can be healthful and nutritionally sound if it’s carefully planned to include essential nutrients. Balance and good food choices!
  7. Pescatarian/Pescetarian/Pescovegetarian –  A pescatarian abstains from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish and other seafood.  So a flexitarian can be a pescatarian, a pescatarian is never a flexitarian, and a vegetarian is neither.  Is that clear as mud?  On a serious note, studies have shown that the pescatarian diet is a very heart healthy diet and helps prevent chronic disease.  And if you’re worried about mercury levels, the guidelines on this diet recommend the lower mercury level fish, not the higher ones like albacore tuna and shark.

Some of these diets are motivated by health, spiritual, financial, or environmental reasons.

Whew!  There you have it!

Feed the wellness in you!

Farro and Penne Pesto with Asparagus

Farro and Penne

For the second week in a row, I have another idea for adding the lovely asparagus into a dish! It is a delightful and versatile vegetable that at times I can’t get enough of.   They even have it at the resort we are visiting this week for spring break so I continue to get my fill.  However, in this dish I don’t want to minimize the introduction and addition of the great whole grain, Farro.  I prepared this last week before we left town and it was a winner.

Farro is one of the world’s oldest grains, yet not many people outside of Italy know much about farro nutrition. The word farro comes from the old Latin word farrum, which means “a kind of wheat.” This grain originates in the Tuscany region of Italy, where they have been growing it for thousands of years. Hence I thought this would be a great addition to a pasta dish.

Whole farro provides substantial protein and a huge dose of selenium, which some studies indicate is a protection against cancer. Even though it has already been known by some in Western Europe and the US, it is only now becoming popular. It is also sometimes ground into flour for bread . Farro has a nutty taste and a slightly chewy texture.  It can be eaten any time of the day – cooked like oatmeal for breakfast, in salad for lunch and as demonstrated in this recipe for dinner.

It blended well with the penne’s texture.  The farro is cooked slightly longer than the penne but without difficulty.  With some slightly crunchy, sweet asparagus in a lovely pesto along with the capers, this is a fast and healthy dish that I hope you try.

Farro and Penne Pesto

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of whole grain penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup of farro
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of asparagus spears
  • 4 tsp of capers
  • 1 tbl minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 2 tbl of fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbl pesto sauce
  • 1/4 cup of grated pecorino romano

Instructions

  1. Cook the farro in 3.5 cups of vegetable broth for 5 minutes; add your penne for the last 10 minutes.
  2. This amount of cooking time should yield al dente pasta. Drain and set aside.
  3. In another pan, sautee the red onions and garlic for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  4. Add the asparagus and sautee for 15 minutes.
  5. Fold in your farro and penne. Turn to a low heat.
  6. Add your onion powder, parsley, sea salt, pesto and capers.
  7. Mix well and add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
  8. Turn off heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/farro-and-penne-pesto-with-asparagus/

 

Black Lentil and Barley Risotto with Asparagus

Black lentil and barley risotto

A few weeks ago a neighbor of mine sent me a link to a recipe for slow cooker Barley and Chickpea Risotto.  I sometimes use recipes as my inspiration to create a dish but more often than not, I think about what main ingredient I want to have in a dish and build from there.  What I liked about the barley and chickpea recipe is that it featured the barley acting as the risotto instead of Arborio rice.  I love subtle changes that make a big difference.  Barley is a wonderful whole grain with a chewy, nutty consistency; full of fiber and lots of heart healthy, cancer fighting minerals.  I had some barley in my pantry and thought about what other ingredients I had readily available to create a risotto.

I had some black lentils which I thought would be great to cook alongside the barley for many reasons.  I’ve posted about lentils before so I don’t want to be repetitive, but they are also a great fiber source as well as protein; all great for heart health, digestive health and lowering cholesterol.   Black lentils were also a good choice to pair with the barley because they can cook at the same pace and would be a great complement in flavor and texture.  Keep in mind my barley was sprouted which reduces the cooking time and retains the nutrients.  If the barley is not sprouted it can take between 60-90 minutes to prepare.

I needed some contrast to the dish for color and as I posted last week, asparagus is in season, and I am going to feature it as much as possible since I love it and it’s easy to prepare.  Along with some sweet peppers, shitake mushrooms, mild spices, all cooked in vegetable broth, this risotto is a fantastic, healthy side or main dish.  Basic risotto calls for butter and parmesan cheese; No butter needed when you use vegetable broth and I used a little parrano cheese instead of parmesan but this is optional (but SO good).  Prepare it and dig in!

Feed the wellness in you!

Black Lentil and Barley Risotto with Asparagus

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Barley
  • 1/2 cup of Black Lentils
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp minced shallots
  • 5 sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup of Shitake Mushrooms
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup of parrano cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp fresh dry thyme

Instructions

  1. Sautee the garlic and shallots for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the Barley, Black Lentils, 1 tsp sea salt and 3 cups of vegetable broth. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes then turn to low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. In another pan, sautee the sweet peppers and shitake mushrooms for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the asparagus, lemon juice and thyme. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Fold the asparagus mixture into the barley and black lentils with the remaining vegetable broth. Cook on low for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
  6. Mix in 1/2 cup of the parrano cheese and serve.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining parrano cheese on top.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/black-lentil-and-barley-risotto-with-asparagus/