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quinoa

White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

One of my favorite fellow Philly food blogger friends, Emily, recently made a big move to New York.

I’ve been missing dinner dates with her ever since.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

After numerous failed attempts to plan a “Skype cooking session” together, the chance finally presented itself for me to head up and see Emily’s new place and get back into the kitchen with her.

We immediately got to scheming up dinner plans — soup for the first snowy night of the year!  — and Emily kickstarted the blender to create some homemade almond milk for the next morning’s breakfast.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

As two food bloggers, of course we also set out to create a new recipe for y’all, and this Italian-inspired white bean dish over quinoa is what we settled upon.

The salty combination of olives and sun-dried tomatoes is one I could eat on the regular, and for me, acts as the centerpiece of this meal.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

A generous helping of kale gets added to the mix as does a splash of acidity from some lemon and a punch of garlic, all together working to take white beans to the next level.

We loved this meal because it’s so full of flavor (shout out to the toasted pine nuts, too!) but also incredibly healthy — a welcoming addition to a holiday season full of richness and decadent treats.

We used quinoa as the base for this dish, but feel free to play around and get creative with the grain!

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Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

It’s been a bit of surprise to see corn so largely displayed and promoted in the grocery store as of recently. It’s definitely a bit early for the local season, but I caught the summer bug and have succumbed to buying it on more than one occasion.

There’s something about these early 90-degree days in June that has been keeping summer on my mind, along with a menu of eats that match.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This dish was also inspired by a recent purchase of basil that I’ve planted in my backyard Philly garden. It looks as though I’ll never reap a large enough harvest for pesto, but my potted plants are, for now, yielding enough herbs for dishes like this. Score.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This is a light and refreshing meal, perfect for a midday lunch on a warm day. It’s nourishing and certainly not the kind of dish that’ll weigh you down as those hot temps takeover.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Don’t skimp out on the quality of olive oil that you use and be sure to reach for fresh (vs. dried) basil here, as both add a lot to the delicate complexity of flavors here.

However, if you want to get playful, feel free to switch up the nuts, and work with pine nuts or pistachios or something else that might sound fun to you.

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Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

As discussed in my last post, I was recently asked if I’d like to review two of Urban Outfitters’ cookbooks,?Power Snacks and the one from which today’s recipes came,?The Clean-Eating Kitchen.

Stuffed Eggplant

Even more so than?Power Snacks, this particular cookbook takes an easy-to-make, weekday-kind-of-meals approach. Most of its recipes, like the Squash, Kale and Farro Stew or the Roasted Beet and Barley Salad or this recipe, the Stuffed Eggplant, are conscious of both time and ingredient list length.

Use fresh, quality ingredients, and you don’t need a recipe that spans across three pages. This cookbook gets that.

Stuffed Eggplant

From breakfast (think Raw Buckwheat & Almond Porridge) all the way to dessert (Mango Fruity Crush Ice Pops),?The Clean-Eating Kitchen offers pages of healthy eats to fill all meals of the day.

The recipes are considerably light and wholesome, and rather fitting for the summer season we’ve just begun. (Happy first day of summer!)

I decided to kick things off with a lunch/dinner option that would utilize fresh mint from my garden and two creamy roasted eggplants.

While stuffed eggplant can sound a tad daunting, this one was super quick to make. And tasty, too.

Stuffed Eggplant

Topped with toasted almonds for some crunch and a salty touch of feta, the eggplant here gets filled with a hearty quinoa and classic onion-garlic saute. Mint freshens it all up and adds a punch of flavor that completes the entire dish.

Feel free to add a spoonful of chickpeas to this Mediterranean-inspired meal for a little extra protein, and definitely consider serving it alongside a side salad. While this will get you’re oven going, I consider the light and freshness of this meal perfect for a hot summer’s day and a great compliment to some sweet, sliced tomatoes picked straight from the garden or snagged at your local farmer’s market.

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Quinoa Fall Buddha Bowl will Dill Tahini Sauce

Quinoa Fall Veggie Bowl will Dill Tahini Sauce

Montreal was dreamy. Parks and green space were both in abundance, as were spacious bike lanes and an inspiring amount of cyclists putting them to good use.

Bagels also abound, but even more exciting for me was the number of vegan spots present in every neighborhood. There were tons of them. It was glorious.

Roasted Kabocha

Many of the vegan restaurants were casual, hosting menus of simple, affordable meals made from quality ingredients. It was in the details, like that extra handful of sprouts or the fact that the tempeh was homemade, that made each meal stand out.

The warm, notably thin, ever-so slightly crispy pita that held one breakfast’s tofu scramble still sticks in my mind this morning. Details. It’s all about the details.

Quinoa Fall Veggie Bowl will Dill Tahini Sauce

A lot of spots also had nourishing bowls like this, the inspiration behind today’s recipe. After snacking on croissants, these kind of meals come in handy.

But really, if you want to feel energized and clear-headed, meals like these are perfect for anytime.

It’s the best when you finish up a filling meal, and feel nothing but refreshed afterwards. This is the beauty of what the blogging world calls the Buddha Bowl.

Sesame Seeds

Packed with protein-powered whole grains and sweet, creamy roasted kobacha squash, I consider this a treat to welcome in the autumn season. Tahini sauces are always my favorite, too, so this herbed rendition really seals the deal. You’ll notice the recipe makes double the amount of sauce you’ll need. You could either A) feed more people and double the veggies too, or B) save the sauce and use it in other salad/grain recipes later. If you decide to do the later, you may wish to add a little extra water or heat the sauce following refrigeration. The sauce thickens once cooled.

Quinoa Fall Veggie Bowl will Dill Tahini Sauce

Feel free to add some tofu or chickpeas on top for a little extra oomph.

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Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Guys. Gals.

Yesterday I received some incredible news.

I’m going to have a garden plot in one of my favorite community gardens in Philadelphia!! I have been dreaming of this day since I first laid eyes many years ago on the magical oasis currently plopped right in the center of what’s now my neighborhood. It’s dreamy. And green. And filled with dirt, and creatures, and veggies, and all the other outdoor components I miss often from my farmer days.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Spaces like these are in hot demand in the city, which of course is no surprise. Generally, they’re locked down with a waiting list so full of names that you could’ve moved to three other towns within the time that they call your name.

Luckily, my roommate and amigo has had her name on that list for three years. And yesterday, she got THE call. I moved into her house a few months ago, and am thrilled to have stumbled into this situation. I am more than excited to scheme up how we are going to takeover the world…I mean, this new 10×10 foot of land.

Roasted Carrots

This was obvious reason to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate a new garden than with roasted carrots? (I would also argue these veggie tats are an excellent source of celebration. But that’s aside the point.)

One of my favorite veggies to grow is carrots because they simply taste 10 times better from the ground than they do from the plastic bags you get at the supermarket.

That thought has me chowing down on this light and healthy pilaf, rich in flavor and salty, feta + sunflower seed goodness. That saltiness gets balanced with a touch of sweetness, derived from both caramelized onions and earthy carrots, to create a well-rounded side dish or lunch.

Sure, those carrots pictured above are from Trader Joe’s…but this recipe’s in honor of my carrot-filled dreams and optimism for spring, when I’ll be eating out of my own garden. Cheers to that!

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