Easy Power Lunch Bowls

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I suppose this is an easy lunch, but we eat this about once a week for an easy, lemony dinner. We have always substituted falafel for the kale and quinoa bites, and a regular, boring beet does the trick for the watermelon radish. We both find this incredibly hearty for such a good-for-you dish. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • 8 Yves Kale & Quinoa Bites
  • ¾ cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 to 10 lacinato kale leaves, chopped
  • 6 paper-thin slices from 1 Chioggia beet or watermelon radish
  • ½ avocado, diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (we use chia)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons runny tahini (thin with warm water if necessary)**
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes. Halfway through add the Yves Kale & Quinoa Bites to the baking sheet.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chickpeas, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, Dijon mustard and pinches of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, massage the kale with a drizzle of olive oil, ½ tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. We’re seasoning every layer here to make sure all of the vegetables are flavorful.
  4. Assemble two large individual serving bowls with the kale, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, Yves Kale & Quinoa Bites, beet or radish slices and avocado, if using. Sprinkle with the hemp seeds and red pepper flakes, if using. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and another big squeeze of lemon, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.
Easy Power Lunch Bowls

Pasta With Lemon, Herbs and Ricotta Salata

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We love this light and simple pasta, find it hearty enough for dinner and lovely as a lunch portion. The brothy-ness may seem like it’s a cold-weather dish, but the lemon-y flavor is perfect for summer. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
Grated zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if available)
Juice of 1 lemon (Meyer, if available), plus more to taste
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 pound pappardelle, broken into 2-inch pieces, or fusilli
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds or tarragon
Extra-virgin olive oil, for sprinkling
6 ounces ricotta salata
Coarsely ground black pepper

PREPARATION

STEP 1
Fill a large pot with water and add enough salt so that you can taste it. Bring to a boil. Pour the chicken broth into a small saucepan, drop in the garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce by half. Remove garlic. Shut off the heat; add the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste. It should be highly seasoned because this will be the sauce for the pasta. Keep warm.

STEP 2
When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. After five minutes, ladle out about 1 cup of the cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta, shake, then return it to the pot. Place over low heat and pour in the chicken broth. Sprinkle in the mint, marjoram and fennel and a little olive oil. Stir. The pasta should be brothy and lemony. Add some of the reserved cooking water, salt and more lemon juice, if needed.

STEP 3
Spoon into bowls so that the pasta is lying in a bit of broth. Crumble the ricotta over top, sprinkle with a dash more oil and grind pepper over the top. Serve.

Pasta With Lemon, Herbs and Ricotta Salata

Healthy Cookies

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This comes from a recipe that gained popularity several years back, called “Nikki’s Healthy Cookies.” They’re bite-sized chewy cookies that could also be baked in a pan and cut into chewy bars. I don’t think adding an entire bar of chocolate to a batch of cookies is particularly “healthy,” and even after cutting the recommended chocolate by half, Derek thought the chocolate was still a bit much. (I took the photo from the version with more chocolate. The outcome of this recipe is just as beautiful, with fewer chocolate bits.)

So here’s my contribution to a healthy, sweet recipe with tweaks that still make for a delicious result. The sweetness comes from the ripe banana (the shredded coconut is unsweetened), and the tiny cookies are packed with healthy fats from the coconut and coconut oil and with protein and fiber from the oats and almond meal. Save the scant chocolate, there is no added sugar.

These freeze well and taste best a few days after baking. We think it’s a perfectly sweet treat that combines healthy ingredients that we eat almost each day, anyway. I hope you enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

INGREDIENTS

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid or soft (so you can mix and mash it into the other ingredients)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal**
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 or 3 ounces chocolate chips or about 1/4 dark chocolate bar chopped

**You can make almond meal from whole almonds in your food processor. Just keep an eye on the pulsing because you don’t want to end up with almond butter.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

1. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside.

2. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.

3. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don’t worry about it.

4. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes.

I try baking these for as long as I can without burning the bottoms.

Healthy Cookies

Chewy Granola Bars (sweetened with dates)

I’ve been on the search for healthy bars that don’t cost $4 a piece, and when I do find bars with key ingredients, like chia, they always have some sort of syrup coagulator or preservative. So I decided to try making my own – and I think I’ve found something nearly perfect.

These come from a girl who was once a professional granola bar-maker, a calling she found because she was frustrated with the long list of ingredients in bars, even in stores like Whole Foods. These bars are straightforward, use simple ingredients, and call for no refined sugar or added syrup. There is a small, optional addition of chocolate that I love and Derek is indifferent to. It’s about two squares of chocolate for the entire batch of bars.

I found this recipe to be very precise, and my results were just as she described. This is simple, so I hope you find a moment to try! They freeze well and are fine right out of the freezer, too.

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HER TIPS

1. Dates are key. No substitutions. And medjool dates are best.
2. If you don’t have hemp seeds you could add well chopped sunflower seeds or chia seeds (my favorite).
3. It’s important that the nuts are well chopped before adding to the food processor, or the grinding will be too uneven (you’ll get flour too quickly while still having some un-chopped nuts).
4. If you don’t want to add the chocolate, you can simply leave it out and replace with 3-4 tablespoons of nuts (be sure to chop and process them as specified below).
5. Instead of coconut, you can sub another 1/4 cup of hemp seeds and 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds instead.

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup well-chopped raw nuts (a mixture works well – almonds/walnuts/pecans)
12-15 medjool dates, pitted (may need a few more; err on the side of chewy)
3 tablespoons softened unrefined coconut oil
1 tablespoon thick nut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

OTHER

9×9 baking pan
Parchment paper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 300° F.

2. Place oats in your food processor and process for 5-10 seconds until ground into a course meal. You still want some whole oats to remain. Transfer to baking sheet.

3. Place chopped nuts in your food processor and turn on until finely chopped. You want about 1/2 course meal and 1/2 small bits. Place on a baking sheet with oats and toast for 10-15 minutes, stirring once, until lightly toasted. Remove both and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

4. Increase oven to 350° F and line a 9×9 cake pan with parchment paper.

5. While toasting the oats and nuts, wipe out your food processor. Place the pitted dates in your processor and turn on until a smooth paste forms. This takes about 30 seconds – 1 minute. They’ll go from chopped, to a large ball, and finally smooth out into a smooth paste. You’ll end up with 1/2 heaping cup. Scrape sides as needed. You may want to start off with 15 pitted dates to make sure you have enough for binding. Date size and plumpness can vary, so it will be best to have a little extra. (Because of the size of dates available to me, I needed 18 of them.)

6. Transfer the date paste to a large mixing bowl. Stir/mash in the coconut oil, nut butter, and vanilla until well combined. Add the cooled oats, nuts, coconut, chocolate, hemp, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands until fully incorporated. The mixture will look crumbly but should hold together when squeezed. If it feels *very* soft and gooey add 1/4 cup more oats.

7. Empty mixture into your lined pan and spread evenly to the edges and corners. Place a piece of parchment over top and firmly press down with your palms until well-compacted and fully smooth from edge to edge. Be sure the corners well packed. It helps to get above the pan and put your weight into it. Press as firmly as you can. Bake for 8 minutes.

8. Remove and let cool for 1 hour. Place the pan in the fridge and let chill for at least 2 hours. Carefully lift one edge of parchment and slide the bars and parchment from the pan to a cutting board (support the bottom with your hand or flat spatula). Chop into bars with a long, sharp knife. Keep tightly covered in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Chewy Granola Bars (sweetened with dates)

Sautéed Spicy Carrots With Black Quinoa

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Derek and I made this dish as a side for Christmas dinner, and it was a hit. Next time we would reduce the amount of chile (which I did for the ingredients below.) The sweetness of the carrots comes out during cooking, so if things seem a little hot, just keep at it. The mint was a wonderful touch, and I love that it can be made ahead of time. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 serrano or jalapeño chile, minced (the recipe calls for 1 or 2, but we found that heat to be overwhelming)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground or crushed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground or crushed
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal, about 1/4 inch thick
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
Salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
¼ to ⅓ cup cooked black quinoa
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or cilantro

PREPARATION

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add garlic and chile. Stir for about 10 seconds and add ground coriander and cumin. Stir for about 10 seconds, until mixture is very fragrant, and add carrots, sugar and salt to taste. Sauté, stirring often or tossing in the pan, for 5 minutes and turn heat down to medium. Continue to cook, stirring often or tossing in the pan, for another 10 minutes, until carrots are tender and lightly colored.
Add butter, quinoa and mint or cilantro and stir or toss in the pan for another minute or two, until quinoa is warmed through and butter has melted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or warm.

Advance preparation: The dish can be made up to a day ahead and reheated in the pan

Sautéed Spicy Carrots With Black Quinoa

Coconut Quinoa Bowl

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This is a delightful little salad bowl that is plenty for us for a light dinner and makes for a perfect lunch the next day. If you don’t like coconut, you may still like this because the taste is subtle. Alternatively, you could substitute something else sweet – mostly the quinoa needs something of a subtle sweetness. The quinoa/almond/coconut mixture keeps well in the refrigerator and, if made in advance, makes putting this salad together super quick. Using black or red quinoa definitely makes for a prettier dish. We’ve found that going light on the yogurt and heavier on the kales is best. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1-2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

6-7 large kale leaves, de-stemmed & shredded (we use more – these reduce quite a bit)

1 lemon
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
edible flowers (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Warm the quinoa, if it’s not already hot. In the meantime, make the remaining toppings. Start by stirring the salt into the yogurt, before drizzling with the olive oil. Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat gently toast the almond slices, about half way though, add the coconut flakes to the skillet. Smash the garlic with the salt into a chunky paste, and add that to the skillet as well. Cook until the almonds and coconut are deeply golden, accented with flavor from the garlic. Transfer everything from the skillet to a small bowl, and (when cool enough) give the skillet a quick swipe with a sponge to clean it out. Add a splash of olive oil to that same skillet over medium-high heat, stir in the kale with a pinch of salt, and cook for just a minute, until the kale collapses a bit, and brightens. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it, and transfer out of the pan immediately.

To serve, combine half of the almond coconut mixture with the quinoa in a large bowl. You can serve this individually, or family-style. Top the quinoa with the kale, plenty of the salted yogurt, and top with the remaining almond mixture, avocado, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Serves 4 (or 2 big dinner servings)

Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 10 min

Coconut Quinoa Bowl

Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad

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Hello! I make this an embarrassingly frequent number of times each month…sometimes once each week. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a day or so, is great in smaller portions for lunch, and is perfect for a light dinner with a glass of wine. I usually keep cooked quinoa in the fridge for a few days at a time, and if you do the same, putting this amazing salad together takes 5 minutes. The cumin makes it feel hearty, and it’s Derek-approved as a single dish meal. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup chickpeas, drained, rinsed
a few big handfuls of arugula
1 small avocado, cubed
¼ cup dried apricots
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup chopped chives (optional)

DRESSING

¼ cup olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of 1 medium lemon
1-2 teaspoons honey (vegan sub: a big squeeze of orange)
2 teaspoons cumin
salt & pepper

PREPARATION

1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

2. Toss together the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, arugula, avocado and dried apricots. Drizzle in the dressing and toss again. Top the salad with chopped almonds and chives.Taste and adjust seasonings.

Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad