Here is another delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipe. This spicy Mexican-inspired quinoa and beans bowl is a quick to prepare, heart-healthy, and nutrition-rich meal that can be made ahead for take-to-work lunches or you can mix up a big batch for a family dinner. You could even top it with an over-easy egg and make it a breakfast (although it won’t be vegan with that egg on it!).
And, before I forget – if you join up for our email newsletter before October 1, you will get a special offer on the Go Gluten Free or the Get Started Coaching Packages! Join today!
Imagine this. You are in the grocery store and you need to buy some beans. In one hand, you hold a can of beans. In the other hand, you hold a bag of dried beans. Which one do you buy?
You probably consider a few things before you decide.
The first consideration may be convenience. The canned beans are ready to go. You can throw those in the microwave and have hot, cooked beans in just a couple of minutes. The dried beans will take much more time because you have to soak them for many hours and then cook them for another couple of hours. Do you have time for this? Do you know how to cook dried beans? Will you forget and then have to come up with a Plan B dinner?
The second consideration may be nutrition. Beans are a nutrition-packed food! If you cook dried beans, then in 1/2 cup of black beans you get 7 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber, and 10% daily value of iron with only 115 calories, 1/2 gram of fat, and no cholesterol or sodium! If you choose the canned beans, much of this stays the same; but you get more sodium. If you choose regular black beans, that 1/2 cup can have 500 milligrams of sodium and reduced sodium black beans can have 240 milligrams of sodium. Some canned products are also packaged in cans that have BPA.
Many people don’t consider cost because those other two things are more important. A 15 ounce can of beans gives you approximately 1 3/4 cups of beans for $1.00 to $3.00. A 16 ounce bag of dried beans contains 3 1/4 cups of dried beans which gives you about 9 cups of cooked beans for about $1.00 to $2.00. If you do the work of cooking dried beans, you get about five times a much for your money!
I used dried beans most of the time and save canned beans for when I don’t want to rely on myself to remember to cook dried beans the day before I need them or I decided on having beans for dinner on the day I grocery shop. I went in search of dried bean recipes that eliminated the need to cook the beans the day before. After reviewing a few recipes for cooking times and methods and a few trial runs, here is what I ended up with.
Serving suggestion: Stir in plain Greek yogurt (not vegan!) to cool it down or top with chopped chipotle peppers and hot sauce to kick it up a notch! I added homemade cornbread muffins on the side (also not vegan) following this recipe and sliced tomatoes.
Yesterday, I started the Vegan Experiment Challenge.
The day started off with a true challenge. The breakfast I had planned was mock scrambled eggs made with tofu. Unfortunately, I didn’t research any recipes before I shopped and I got the wrong consistency of tofu. This threw off my plan for my very first meal! Even with a bumpy start, my husband and I perservered and were 100% vegan on the first day of the challenge!
I felt tired; but I don’t think that was related to diet (more a poor night’s sleep and a busy day!). I felt like I ate a lot of vegetables and the 51 grams of fiber indicates I did indeed eat many vegetables yesterday. I hit my calorie range; but was low on protein. Meal details and nutrition information follow with all the numbers at the end of this post.
Breakfast: Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal with almond milk, coffee with almond milk and splenda
Morning snack: almonds and raisins
Lunch: bean burrito made from a Flatout wrap, mashed black/pinto beans, salsa, avocado, rice, cilantro, and lime juice served with tomato and cumumber slices on the side
Afternoon snack: while I hesitate to call it a snack, I must confess to having 2 beers while relaxing on the beach in the afternoon…
Dinner: Quinoa with red/green bell peppers, red onions, garlic, pineapple, sliced almonds, and a dash of sriracha sauce served with a side of roasted vegetables (beets, carrots, onions) seasoned with canola oil, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes
For those of you out there who like the numbers, here you go!
1560 calories, 209 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams fiber, 37 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 0 cholesterol, 47 grams protein, and 890 milligrams sodium. For the daily values, my numbers were 73% calcium, 71% iron, 31% vitamin D, 13% zinc, and 0 vitamin B12.
All images are personal photographs. You may use them as long as you credit (my name and a link back to my Web site).
I love quinoa. It is so versatile, it cooks quickly, and it’s a grain that is a complete protein as well! A complete protein has all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need, which is important for those who do not eat meat or other animal products (which are naturally complete proteins).
So, yesterday I was faced with a dilemma, what to do for lunch… I had quinoa and some vegetables sitting around so I threw together one of those “kitchen sink” recipes and it turned out so good that I decided to share it.
Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
By Alexia Lewis, MS, RD, LD/N
1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 raw zucchini, diced
1 slice red onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
2 slices nitrate-free turkey breast (optional)
Handful of sliced almonds
Handful of raisins
Red wine vinegar, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed
Simply mix together everything except the lettuce leaves, adding the red wine vinegar and black pepper in small increments until the dish has a flavor that you enjoy. Serve a spoonful on the raw romaine lettuce leaves. You can also serve with kale leaves, bok choy, or any other leafy vegetable that can act as a holder for the quinoa mixture.
I did not measure out the number of servings or do a nutrition information breakdown; but it makes a large amount (see below) and it includes the grains, protein, vegetables, and fruit so you have many food groups represented in a colorful dish – which equals nutritious!
I served this up on a plate with the quinoa mixture in the middle and a ring of lettuce leaves. This dish is also husband-approved! Enjoy!
It’s kale cooking demonstration time! Tis the season to harvest greens and we have a lot of them from our organic Ogier Garden where I work so I decided to do a cooking demonstration showcasing our beautiful greens. Recipes included kale quinoa rolls and autumn vegetable soup.I found both of the recipes I used online (credit given with the recipes below) and I adapted them. Give these a try and let me know what you think!
Both of these recipes are vegan. If you are a vegetarian, I do recommend a low-fat Greek yogurt dip for the rolls to increase the protein and calorie content of this meal. Here are some suggestions for flavoring the yogurt to make a yummy dipping sauce. Click to see the image larger in a new window.
To begin, find some big kale leaves (dinosaur, lacinato or Tuscan varieties) or use collard greens which typically have large leaves. The curly kale will not give you enough leaf to roll with. Here in Jacksonville, Florida, I had no luck at the conventional grocery stores; but found a nice large bunch of organic lacinato kale at Fresh Market for only $2.50!
Preparing the greens is important and for the best results, you’ll want to blanche and devein the leaves. Blanching involves cooking the leaves in boiling water for a very brief time (~2 minutes) and then plunging them into an ice bath. I’ve used both a large bowl and my sink filled with ice-water with success. Blanching will make the leaves flexible enough to roll and brighten up their color. Wait until after blanching to devein the kale so you can preserve as many nutrients as possible, then take a small knife and simply cut out the thick part of the stalk, leaving the top of the leaf intact.
I will also be packaging the complete cooking demonstration lesson plan, recipes, hand-outs, and evaluation forms into a package that will be available for purchase so you can take the work out of preparing for a cooking demonstration and just do the fun parts! Details will be posted soon.
25 kale leaves, preferably dinosaur kale (large leaves)
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
8 oz white button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp chives or scallions, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil
Wash kale leaves thoroughly
Add leaves to boiling water and blanch until softened and flexible, about 2 minutes
Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry
Remove about 2-3 inches of the thick middle stem from each leaf
This step can be done ahead of time. If not using kale immediately, after cooking, pat leaves dry to remove excess water, wrap all leaves gently in a paper towel, and seal in a plastic bag with air squeezed out in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Heat 1 tbsp canola oil in pan over medium heat
Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes
Add mushrooms and cook about 8 minutes, until the water the mushrooms give off has evaporated
Remove pan from heat and let cool
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cooled mushroom mixture, tomato, parsley, chives, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tbsp canola oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and set aside
This step can also be done ahead of time. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Place one kale leaf vein-side down and put 1-2 level tablespoons of the filling in middle of leaf
Fold the leaf from the bottom over the filling
Tuck one side of the leaf over (the other side will remain open)
Roll the leaf into a tight roll and place on plate/platter with edge of the leaf under the roll to keep roll from unrolling
Repeat with remaining rolls
These can be served warm or chilled and can be kept up to 3 days in the refrigerator. If any of the previous steps were done ahead of time, subtract the number of days those ingredients were already stored from the number of storage days.
Makes approximately 20 servings (1 roll per serving): 47 calories, 1.8 g fat (0.1 g sat, 0 g trans, 0.5 g poly, 0.9 g mono), 0 g cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 202 mg potassium, 6.5 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
I interned and now work part-time with a private practice that specializes in eating disorders. We all have that voice inside our heads that sends us positive and negative messages about our bodies, our food intake, our ability to control these things. Eating disorders, like any psychological illnesses, are normal thought patterns taken to the extreme. Those with eating disorders battle with that voice in their heads and that voice begins to win.
I have also worked briefly at a bariatric surgeon’s office who specialized in lapband surgery. I had ethical issues with his post-surgery diet so it wasn’t a good fit. In the time I worked there, however, I saw another form of disordered eating in both the pre- and post-surgery patients.
Both of these populations had lost touch with or flat out ignored their body’s hunger and satiety cues and I, in no way, endorse this.
If you are hungry, eat. If you are not hungry, don’t eat.
Yes, that is simplistic and much easier said than done; but that’s the premise for a healthy relationship with food.
I also do not believe in “dieting” per se. The research shows time and time again that dieting does not work. No matter the method (low carb, low fat, high protein, shakes, meal plans, or simple calorie restriction), the weight comes off (duh), the dieting stops, and the weight comes back on. The diet mentality is not effective.
One can go “off” a diet and therein lies the problem.
I’ll step off my soapbox now to share a recipe and picture. I’m working on my food photography skills. Here is a version of a recipe I found in Clean Eating Magazine.
Quinoa Bowl: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup rinsed black beans, 7 grape tomatoes halved, chopped red onion to taste, 1/4 avocado chopped, red wine vinegar to taste, lime juice, and cilantro. YUM!
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