Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper

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I promise I don’t live off of cookies and cupcakes although it might seem that way from my blog posts. More often than not, I try to cook healthy meals. There were a few ingredients in our fridge that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make a healthy side for dinner with red bell peppers, basil and quinoa. It makes about four servings and paired perfectly with our tilapia and broccoli.

Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine cold water and ice cubes to make an ice bath. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add basil to boiling water, stirring once and then draining immediately. Quickly place basil in ice bath to cool. Remove and gently squeeze out excess water.
  2. Place basil, cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor. Cover and process until nearly smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together warm, cooked quinoa and bell pepper. Add basil mixture and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Qrazy for Quinoa

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So many quinoa recipes, so little time. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare this versatile superfood. You can eat the basic patties with healthy toppings and sides or treat it as a burger patty sandwiched between a bun or bread. It’s also easy to make it lactose-free and gluten-free with a few substitutions. I’ve been trying to cut our dairy products to test if I’m lactose-intolerant, but it is so hard because I love cheese. Luckily, I discovered some great substitutions that I used while cooking this flavorful fare.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I used GO Veggie!® Lactose-Free)
  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese (I used LACTAID®)
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • Canola oil for frying

How to:

  1. To cook the quinoa, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, zucchini, eggs, flour, sugar, cumin, salt and garlic powder.
  3. Lightly coat frying pan with canola oil and heat over medium-low heat. Drop 1/4 cup quinoa mixture into pan and press with spatula to lightly flatten to 1/2-inch thick. Cook until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve with favorite sauce and burger toppings. I topped mine with sliced avocado. I tried it with calorie-free bacon ranch dressing, but wasn’t a fan. I think Tzatziki would be really tasty with it.
  5. It makes about 10 patties, so I placed the ones I wasn’t going to eat right away on a paper towel to soak up some grease and then wrapped them in wax paper, put them in a Ziplock bag and stored in the freezer.

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Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili

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The best way to warm up this season? Chili! This hearty, healthy dinner is perfect for a frosty fall night. The combo of sweet potatoes, black beans and avocado make for a flavorful twist on this classic dish. Light the fire, cuddle on the couch  with a cozy blanket and eat up!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (29 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Sour cream

How to:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano until combined.
  3. Add black beans, vegetable stock and sweet potato chunks. Season with salt and pepper, then cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in quinoa. Continue cooking for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are fully cooked and chili has thickened.
  5. Pour into bowls and top with sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Makes about 6 servings.