A new summer treat filled with healthy fats and protein! Try my new Strawberry Chia Pudding with a chocolate peanut butter topping! I received free samples of the NuGo nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post. You could say […]
This all-time favorite dip is getting a makeover for grilling season! Try this new recipe for my Grilled Tofu and Shrimp Skewers with Hummus Marinade! I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe […]
The warmer weather is here, and so is guacamole season! For a fresher taste this spring try this Creamy Spring Pea Guacamole!
I think we can all agree that guacamole is absolutely delicious! Is it the rich taste of avocado or creamy texture that makes it so tempting? And I am not sure about you, but it is quite difficult to stop eating it after just a few bites! To give this popular snack favorite a fresh update for spring, I added in green peas!
Give peas a chance
I could write a whole post about the nutritious benefits of avocados. But, the bad can outweigh the good if you eat too much of a nutritious food. The same goes for nuts, another heart-healthy fat. In a recommended serving size, these healthy fats provide benefits, but too much leads to excessive fat and calories. Just this past summer, the newest guidelines released by the FDA states that 1/3 of a medium avocado is a serving size. This one serving provides 11% of the Daily Value for fiber! Previously, 1/4 of an avocado was the recommended serving. Seeing how beneficial these unsaturated fats were making an impact on our health, the guidelines were changed. This made Registered Dietitians (including myself) very happy!
Keeping in mind that 1/3 of an avocado is a serving, it is easy to exceed these portions in guacamole. This peas in this guacamole blend add in protein and fiber (just like avocados), and cuts down the calorie content. One cup of green peas provides 7 g fiber, 8 grams of protein (almost twice the protein in an avocado serving), and 1/3 the calories compared to avocados.
In this pea guacamole recipe…
This dish works great as a dip with the suggested pita chips or even your favorite vegetables! With leftovers that were not out for more than two hours at room temperature, store in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for three months. This dip also works as an excellent sandwich spread or even as a pizza topping. If you prefer an alternative to the avocado, feel free to use an extra 1/2 cup of green peas and one or two tablespoons of olive oil to add a source of healthy fats.
- Green Pea Dip:
- 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed
- 2 cups green peas (thawed if frozen)
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1-2 scallions, chopped, stems removed
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Crushed red pepper chili flakes for topping, optional
- Pita Chips:
- 3 large whole wheat pitas cut into wedges (about 8 wedges per pita loaf)
- Drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Spread the pita wedges on a greased on non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.
- While the pita chips are baking, combine all of the ingredients for the pea dip into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are blended and a creamy consistency is formed. Transfer to a bowl. Serve with the pita chips or your favorite vegetables as a fun snack or appetizer.
Each serving mentioned in the Nutrition Facts includes 4 pita wedges.
Try a delicious, gluten and dairy-free flatbread for your next sweet treat or savory meal! If you’re craving a pizza, crepe, or taco shell, Socca is simply satisfying! This delicious and versatile flatbread, originally from the regions of France and Italy, is naturally gluten, dairy, and nut-free. Made […]
Does your kitchen need spring cleaning? Try this simple and versatile recipe for Dukkah! Move over fairy dust! Dukkah, a delicious Egyptian blend of nuts and spices is pure magic! This versatile topping combines a sweet, savory, and nutty taste all in one. Use it as a crust on […]
Craving cabbage for St Patrick’s Day? Rather than serving it with its famous sidekick, corned beef, try stuffed cabbage with protein packed pulses instead!
These stuffed cabbage rolls are mixed with green lentils and brown rice as a healthy, plant-based meat subsitute to corned beef. Topping them with vitamin C-rich tomato sauce also makes it an even better source of iron!
The Power of Pulses
According to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2016 was the year of the pulses. In addition to being a nutrient powerhouse, pulses are also an extremely sustainable food crop. Thanks to their longer shelf life, pulses, the edible seeds of legume plants, reduce food waste and the carbon footprint. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN is on a mission to increase the public’s awareness about these tiny, but mighty foods.
Among the key messages by the FAO include the nutritional values of pulses and the benefits they bring for our health. Pulses pack in twice as much protein as whole grains, while also providing all of the essential amino acids. Naturally low in sodium, canned versions of cooked pulses can carry higher amounts. However, rinsing canned beans or peas can decrease sodium content significantly. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, these edible seeds are also heart healthy, as they provide extra fiber and folate. Those that are gluten sensitive can also benefit from pulses, which are naturally gluten free.
So, what are pulses really?
Here are some examples of powerful pulses:
- all types of lentils, such as green, red, and brown
- all types of peas except green peas, i.e. black-eyed peas and chickpeas
- all types of dried beans, such as kidney and pinto beans, except for soy or green beans
Ways to include pulses in your diet:
- add to your favorite soups or stews
- toss in whole grain dishes, such as rice, pasta, or quinoa
- mash and use as a vegetable burger or meat alternative instead of ground beef (for example, stuffed cabbage rolls!)
- top on your favorite salads
- mix in a hummus dip for an appetizer or as a sandwich spread
In this recipe for stuffed cabbage…
The trick to these stuffed cabbage rolls is having the lentils and brown rice already cooked ahead of time. This preparation cuts out 40 minutes of cooking time, and makes a great meal prep for the week. Try leftover lentils and rice in your favorite soups, casseroles, or salads.
To make a “perfect” cabbage roll, boil the leaves to soften them. Boiling the whole cabbage in a large pot of water makes it easier to gently break apart the leaves. The softer leaves become more flexible and easier to roll up with fillings. Cabbage rolls can be baked in tomato sauce, but I prefer simmering them in sauce to keep the lentils and rice soft.
To those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, make it a healthy and safe one, and wear your green!
These vegetarian cabbage rolls are made with lentils and brown rice to make an excellent meatless meal for St Patrick's Day.
- 1 large green cabbage, whole
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cooked green lentils (1/2 cup dried lentils)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (3/4 cup dried rice)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (Split between filling and tomato sauce)
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Place whole cabbage in pot and boil until leaves are tender and easily peel off, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat and carefully remove the cabbage and place on a cutting board. Pull the leaves apart (keeping them whole) and place on a paper towel lined surface.
- While cabbage is boiling, heat one tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat and sautee onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and dried herbs, spices to the pan. Heat an additional minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Wipe out the pan.
- Stir in the lentils, rice, and dried fruit to the onion mixture. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste and soy sauce. Set aside.
- To make the rolls, place one to two tablespoons of the mixture onto end of a cabbage leaf, tuck in the sides and gently roll, like a burrito.
- In the same pan that made the onion mixture, heat the remaining olive oil on medium heat. Add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, about 10 minutes.
- Place the rolls with the seam side down on atop the sauce. Let simmer and spoon sauce on top to moisten, about 5-10 minutes.
A healthy ramen soup with Bok Choy and hints of miso makes this college staple a major upgrade! Many of us likely remember the famous ramen noodles in its small and square, bright and saturated colors. And better yet, the number of these packages you could purchase […]
If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier or eat more vegetables for 2017, try this delicious Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad! Salads aren’t just a summer thing! These beautiful and delicate blends are good all year round. To keep up with the winter season choose vegetables such […]
This comforting white bean chili is light in calories and big in flavor! Rich in cauliflower and immune-boosting mushrooms, this hearty recipe gets its warmth from the delicate spice blend, Ras el Hanout!
I knew I was in the mood for chili when the temperature in Boulder dropped to a high of 6 degrees (the lowest it has been for December in years). When chili comes to mind, most of us probably think of tomato-based versions with black and red kidney beans. These are also delicious, but I wanted to make a lighter and warming white chili this time. What better way to warm up a white bean chili than with Ras el Hanout!
Wait, what is Ras el Hanout?
Ras el Hanout is a beautiful North African spice blend of sweet and savory spices, like nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and paprika. Since it is not a common seasoning to have in the kitchen, you can easily make your own blend with spices and herbs you most likely already own. Check out this recipe from Food.com and more information about the blend in one of my favorites, The Kitchn blog and feel free to play around with these spices based on your taste preference.
This chili packs in so much flavor from this blend, that you will not miss the salt! I usually add a small pinch of sea salt to my soups because I am cooking with low sodium broth. For this recipe, I used regular vegetable broth and did not add salt. If you are trying to watch your sodium intake, I highly recommend a low sodium broth and adding more garlic in place of table salt.
What makes this white bean chili so healthy?
Most chilis we see in restaurants (or even tailgate parties) are saturated with excess shredded cheese and grease from ground meat sitting on top. Cheese is still an optional topping here, but in moderation of course! Who doesn’t love cheese? The broken pieces of cauliflower and mushrooms will lend a similar taste to ground meat. If you prefer meat, aim for lean meats such as ground chicken or turkey (still just as good). The fiber and protein-rich white beans will also keep you satisfied for hours. For some great tips on a healthy chili swap check out Eating Well’s article here.
Besides being healthy, this chili is also extremely easy to make! The majority of the cooking simply consists of simmering these delicious spices and flavors. Prior to simmering, the vegetables and proteins are sauteed with the spices for up to a minute. This brings out its aromatic components. The soft texture in this recipe is created by a handheld immersion blender. If you don’t own one of these amazing gadgets, feel free to use a masher or place in a blender in small batches.
As the holidays are nearing their end, now is the best time to aim for some lighter, yet flavorful foods. Eating MORE of the right foods than focusing on eating LESS overall should be a habit all year round. With only 20% of resolutions actually succeeding, those crash diets are not going to last. Be good to yourself and don’t deny the foods you enjoy. As we have all heard, everything in moderation is key, right?
Whether your resolutions consist of trying yoga, eating less meat, or being more organized, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium Cauliflower, cored and chopped
- 1 mild chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 8oz white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice blend*
- 2 15oz cans white beans (pinto, Northern White, chickpea)
- 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if preferred)
- 1-2 scallions chopped, optional
- Shredded cheese of your choice for topping, optional
- Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a non-stick pan or skillet. Cook the onions until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, and chili pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until cauliflower is softened.
- Add the spice blend and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the beans and vegetable broth and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
- Once the chili is cooked through, use an immersion blender to puree some of the cauliflower. If an immersion blender is not available, feel free to use a masher or transfer portions of the chili in a blender to give it the thickened consistency of a ground meat chili.
Ras el Hanout is a blend of spices as mentioned previously in the post. Please adjust with the spices of your liking. These spices include: nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and clove. If cheese is not part of your diet and you would love to have that cheesy taste, try topping it with nutritional yeast (good source of B12 for a bonus).
Winter is coming and so is soup season! Try this Creamy Tomato Lentil soup recipe to keep you warm and satisfied! This recipe for a creamy tomato lentil soup uses low fat coconut milk and lentils to keep you feeling fulfilled with energy-boosting MCT fats, […]