Turmeric, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew

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I like to experiment with recipes, change ingredients around and swap stuff in or out to make it healthier. This past Sunday I modified a stew recipe that I found on Mind Body Green and it turned out amazing. So good, in fact, that I have to share.

This Turmeric, Lentil, and Vegetable stew takes about 45 minutes to cook and is a nutritional powerhouse. Here’s just a few reasons why…

Turmeric, one of the main spices in this stew, has been shown to be effective against arthritis, coughs, cancer, and chronic diseases stemming from inflammation. It helps to block a protein that promotes tumor growth and causes inflammation. Research suggests that it may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Adding black pepper to a recipe with turmeric can increase the absorption of turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, twentyfold (hence the black pepper in the recipe below).

Garlic can help you fight bacterial and viral infections by boosting production of infection-fighting white blood cells. It has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Compared to other forms of protein, they are low in calories and contain virtually no fat. Of all legumes and nuts, lentils have the third highest amount of protein.

Turmeric, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew

Servings:  approx. 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium cooking onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup lentils, rinsed (can be red or green)
  • 2 cups low sodium (or homemade) chicken broth (go here for my super simple recipe for homemade chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings:  fresh parsley or cilantro, avocado

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan at medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent (approx. 5 minutes).
  2. Add garlic, onion, sweet potato, zucchini, lentils, and broth to a pot.  Add spices and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then simmer with the lid on for 30-45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  3. Serve with additional toppings, if desired.

Enjoy!

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Green Bean Salad

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Most of us know the importance of eating our vegetables, specifically our leafy green vegetables, which are lauded for their health benefits.  Green string beans are no exception.  High in vitamins A and C, immune-boosting antioxidants, and high in fiber and magnesium, both needed for healthy digestion, green beans hold their own in the company of vegetable powerhouses such as spinach, kale and broccoli.

An added benefit is that they are really reasonably priced.  In the summertime months in the mid-Atlantic where I live, green beans are everywhere.  I bought a pound of them at the grocery last week for less than 2 dollars.  I used this pound of beans to make the salad below, which will last me about 4 meals this week.  I eat A LOT of vegetables at my meals (they fill about half my plate), so this is saying something.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends that fruit and vegetables make up half of our plates during meals, with vegetables making up about 30-35%.  It is recommended that adult men and women eat between 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day (exact recommendations vary depending on age, sex and activity level).

The recipe below is a great side dish for any meal and is perfect to bring to your next picnic or potluck.  It super easy to whip up and doesn’t contain many ingredients (another money saver).

Makes approximately 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb green beans, rinsed with ends snapped off
  • 2 scallions, chopped with ends discarded
  • 20 grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
  • 15 kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Steam green beans.  I use a basket steamer that fits inside a pot on the stove. Place the beans in the steamer basket, cover the pot and turn the burner to high. One pound of green beans takes approximately 10 minutes to cook.  They are done when you can stick a fork through them.
  2. While beans are cooking, combine scallions, tomatoes and olives in a bowl.
  3. When beans are done, pull the steamer basket out of the pot and empty it in the bowl containing the scallions, tomatoes and olives.  I use a fork and an oven mitt to do this.  Beware of the hot steam when you take the lid off the pot as it can be very hot and burn you.  I recommend turning the burner off, removing the lid of the pot and letting it sit for a few minutes to cool before removing the steamer basket.
  4. Toss entire mixture with coconut oil, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To make the greens beans more bite-sized, I use a fork and sharp knife to cut up the mixture in the bowl.
  6. Serve immediately as a side with your favorite protein and whole grain.

Lemon Potato Salad with Mint

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Looking for a delicious recipe for your next summer picnic?  Want a side dish that is super easy to whip up and has less than 10 ingredients?  And best of all, want to make something healthy that also tastes good?  If you answered yes to any (or all) of these then this potato salad is for you.

Now you’re probably thinking, potato salad?  How is that healthy?  Well folks, this one is the antithesis of those thick, creamy mayonnaise-based potato salads.  You know the ones that make you super nervous as they sit in the sun all day at your summer picnic?  And for those of you who can’t stand mayonnaise, I can vouch that this is the perfect yummy alternative.

The trusty potato is the most popular vegetable in the United States.  Not surprising really, given the amount of french fries and potato chips we as a nation consume.  Those processed foods give the potato a bad name.  If cooked without the added unhealthy fats, potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and fiber.  They are also relatively cheap compared to some other vegetables and available year-round.

The recipe below is courtesy of The New York Times Food, but I do have some thoughts based on my experience making the recipe.  I used yellow potatoes for this recipe and cut them into smaller 1/2 inch chunks after boiling than what was called for (1 1/2 inch chunks are pretty big!).  I also personally feel like this recipe calls for too much salt.  I ended up using between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon and it ended up fine.  You can always add in more later if you want, but too much salt can completely kill a recipe.  Plus, most of us get enough sodium from the prepared foods in our diets.  I used regular ground black pepper in place of Turkish pepper and the mint leaves top it off perfectly.

Lemon Potato Salad with Mint

Source:  The New York Times

Yields 8 servings

Time 45 minutes (this includes boiling the potatoes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly the same size
  • Juice of 1 lemon, more for serving
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, more for serving
  • 1/4 cup torn mint leaves, more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turkish pepper, more for serving
  1. Place whole, unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and olive oil.
  3. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with dressing, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper. Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, top with additional lemon juice, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper.

Happy Summer Cooking!

Photo credit:  The New York Times Food

Almond Butter and Banana Oatmeal

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As the season turns to fall, the days get shorter and the coats come out, the body starts to crave warming foods.  Soups, stews, steaming mugs of cider and porridge.  These foods warm us from the inside out and help our bodies prepare for, and get through, the tough winters.

While I love my smoothies and salads for the spring and summer, I equally love my soups and oatmeals for the fall and winter.  I am constantly on a quest for a new variation in my morning porridge and recently found one that I am pretty excited about.  It tastes like a peanut butter and banana sandwich, just on top of oatmeal instead of bread.  And if you’ve never had peanut butter and banana on bread together and think I’m crazy, you are sorely missing out and should try this pronto.  🙂

A few quick thoughts on the main ingredients in this breakfast yumminess:

  • Nut Butters:  An excellent source of protein, nut butters are a great addition to a healthy diet, if you buy the right kind.  Many brands on supermarket shelves out there are loaded with sugar and extra salt.  These products give nut butters a bad rap.  Read your ingredients label!  If it has sugar listed, put it back on the shelf.  I am an almond butter girl and make sure to buy brands where the only ingredients are almonds, with no added salt.  This recipe calls for 1 tbsp, which is right in line with the recommended serving size on the container.
  • Oats:  I have never been a big fan of instant oatmeal.  I never had it growing up so I don’t think it tastes anything like the real thing.  Oatmeal is extremely easy to make.  I cook my oats (typically a combination of old fashioned oats and steel cut oats) in a big glass bowl in my microwave.  It only takes 5 minutes and cooking them on the stove doesn’t take much longer than that either.  I promise, it is worth the effort.  Old fashioned oats are less processed, so they have more of the whole oat, therefore will keep you more full for longer.  Plus they are more nutritious and don’t have any of the added stuff (i.e. sugar) that instant oatmeal commonly has.

Almond Butter and Banana Oatmeal

(serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • dash of cinnamon

Combine oats and water in a microwavable bowl with higher sides.  Place in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes (the higher sides on the bowl will prevent it from boiling over and making a mess).  After cooking is complete, let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.  Then add sunflower seeds, chia seeds and almond butter.  Stir so that ingredients are mixed evenly with the oats.  Pour into a cereal bowl and slice the banana on top.  Finish it off with a dash of cinnamon.

Enjoy!!

Peace, love and healthy breakfasts,

The Yogi~Foodie

Pumpkin + Banana, Almond Butter & Maca Smoothie

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I have a little confession to make…  I have been really resisting the onset of Fall. Yes, it is my favorite season and the trees around my home turn into breathtaking colors. Yes, pumpkins and squash (some of my favorite veggies) are all around. Yes, I do enjoy a little cooler of weather and how I can break out my boots and sweaters again.  In the past I have welcomed Fall with open arms, but not so much this year.

The truth is, I am dreading the winter.  The snow and ice and numerous days of too little sunlight.  My body doesn’t like it too much and every year I wonder how many more times I can put myself (and my poor little dog) through it.  Poor Fall and all its gloriousness has taken the brunt of this dread.  I’ve been looking too far into the future and it has been preventing me from enjoying my present.  Sounds a lot like what I’ve been writing about recently!

This wonderful smoothie recipe is a remix on an earlier one I’ve posted (see the original here!).  It has helped me to embrace the onset of Fall while also holding onto the Summer a little bit.  The only new ingredient?  Pumpkin of course!  A little canned pumpkin takes this smoothie to a whole new level, so I hope you give it a try.

Here are a few facts that make pumpkin a nutritional powerhouse and great addition to your morning routine:

  1. 1 cup contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids in vision.
  2. Pumpkins are high in fiber, with 3 grams in 1 cup.  This will help keep you fuller longer and stave off the need for snacks between meals.
  3. Pumpkins are high in the cancer fighting antioxidant beta-carotene, which gives it its orange color.  These carotenoids fight free radicals which may cause cancer and also help keep your skin wrinkle-free.
  4. Thought bananas were high in potassium?  Try pumpkin!  1 cup contains 564 milligrams compared to a banana’s 422.  Potassium helps the body to restore electrolytes after a tough workout and keeps your muscles functioning at the top of their game.
  5. Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin C.  1 cup contains 11 milligrams, which is about 20% of a woman’s recommended daily intake of 60 milligrams (recommendation for men is 75).

This smoothie is great for breakfast or post-workout and can be taken with you on the go.

Pumpkin + Banana, Almond Butter and Maca Smoothie

serves 1

  • 1/2 canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened hemp milk (unsweetened almond milk would work too)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 banana (I prefer to use frozen bananas as they make the smoothie cooler without having to use ice, which dilutes the flavor.  If you choose to use a banana that has been frozen, let it sit for 5 minutes or so before trying to peel it.)
  • 1 tbsp natural almond butter (i.e. the kind without added sugar)
  • dash (or two) of cinnamon

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly.  Add more liquid as needed to achieve your desired consistency.  Enjoy the pumpkin-y goodness!

Peace, love and smoothies,

The Yogi~Foodie

CC image used above courtesy of frankieleon on flickr

Homemade Olive Oil Popcorn

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Mmm mmm popcorn :).  There is something about it that just reminds me of a lot of happy memories.  Fun at the movies, childhood sleepovers, comfy nights curled up on the couch, and popcorn balls at Halloween.  I’m sure all of you popcorn lovers out there can agree with me and have some fun memories of your own.

Popcorn, in its plain form, is actually really healthy for you.  It is a whole grain packed with fiber and antioxidants.  The health benefits of popcorn come from its fiber, polyphenolic compounds, antioxidants, vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium content.  Popcorn’s impressive fiber content helps regulate blood sugar (making it a fantastic snack), lower cholesterol, and improve digestion.  Antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds help to fight free radicals in the body that lead to cancer and premature aging. 

As a result of all of these health benefits, popcorn is a great weight loss tool.  A cup of normal popped popcorn contains only 30 calories, about 5 times less than the same amount of potato chips.  But this healthy snack commonly gets a bad rap as it is typically doused in butter and salt or caramel.  Too much of these and a healthy whole grain snack becomes an unhealthy one.  Packaging in pre-packaged popcorn has also come under some speculation.  Once the popcorn begins to pop, it has been found that some of the chemicals in the packaging may actually break down and destroy some of the polyphenolic compounds in the hull of the kernel.  Uh, chemicals in the packaging leaking into my food?  No thanks…

So, how can we make popcorn healthy and more enjoyable again?  Easy!  All you need is a brown paper lunch bag, popcorn kernels and a microwave.  I’ve subbed olive oil for butter in this recipe, gone light on the salt (just a pinch or two), and added some cayenne pepper for a kick (I love my spicy!).

Homemade Olive Oil Popcorn

makes approx. 4 cups

  • 1 brown paper lunch bag
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch or two of salt to taste (don’t go overboard!)
  • dash or two of cayenne pepper

Place kernels into paper bag and fold top over once a few inches down.  Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Timing may vary slightly by microwave so monitor it to ensure the popcorn doesn’t burn.  When you don’t hear popping for a few seconds that means it’s normally done.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper.  Grab your favorite movie, head to the couch and enjoy!!

Peace, love and healthy snacking,

The Yogi~Foodie

Banana, Almond Butter and Maca Smoothie

In my house, summertime equals smoothie time and I am always on a quest to find a new favorite.  Mission accomplished my friends.  This puppy tastes like a peanut butter milkshake but doesn’t come with the guilt that arises with indulging in one too many.  I am a milkshake fan after all, so why not create a healthier version that is quick and delicious?  Wins all around.

While there are many healthy ingredients in this smoothie, I am going to focus on one in particular, maca.  For more on the benefits of cacao, hemp milk and chia seeds, check out my recipe for Quinoa Breakfast Porridge here

Maca is a superfood of the Andes, native to Bolivia and Peru.  It is one of the only food plants that can thrive at such a high altitude.  The root of the plant is used to make maca powder, which has a long history as a superfood.  It was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s endocrine system.  It’s grounding affect helps you cope with anxiety and stress.  It provides natural energy without the side effects of caffeine and can also aid in reproductive function by helping to balance hormones and increase fertility.  You can buy maca at health food stores and online.  I’m a fan of the Navitas Naturals brand.

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Banana, Almond Butter and Maca Smoothie

serves 1

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened hemp milk (unsweetened almond milk would work too)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 banana (I prefer to use frozen bananas as they make the smoothie cooler without having to use ice, which dilutes the flavor.  If you choose to use a banana that has been frozen, let it sit for 5 minutes or so before trying to peel it.)
  • 1 tbsp natural almond butter (i.e. the kind without added sugar)
  • dash (or two) of cinnamon

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly.  Enjoy the goodness!

Peace, love and smoothies,

The Yogi~Foodie

Glorious Guacamole

Oh avocados, how I love you.  Delicious and nutritious, I always have these guys in my kitchen.  They add great texture and flavor to a smoothie, can replace mayonnaise or other condiments on a sandwich or burger, and are one of my go-to toppings for my many salads.  I just can’t get enough.  If only I lived in an area where I could grow them.  May need to think on that… 😉

A fruit from the avocado tree, these puppies pack a nutritious punch.  Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium (more than a banana!), B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.  They do not contain any cholesterol or sodium.  In fact, recent studies have shown that these little green guys can actually help stave off bad cholesterol (don’t believe me? read about it here!).  They are loaded with fiber, helping to keep us full longer and reduce blood sugar spikes, and contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.  

Avocados are lauded for their healthy fats.  Yes I said fat.  Before you go running and screaming away from avocados, know that fat is a necessity.  Our bodies can’t function properly without it.  Without fats our bodies can’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Fats help build cell walls, boost immunity and assist with assimilation of minerals and calcium.  Digestion is also impossible without fats.  What is key is the type of fat we eat (i.e. avoid industrial fats in processed foods, hydrogenated oils and trans fats).  Avocados primarily contain monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, which is known for helping to low LDL (bad) cholesterol.  Do you know what else is loaded with oleic acid?  Olive oil.  And we all know how good that is for us.

California currently produces 90% of the U.S.’s avocado crop, with the Hass variety being the most popular.  I have learned a few tricks regarding avocados over the years.  If they are rock solid when you get home from the grocery, put them in a brown paper lunch bag to hasten the ripening process.  Once they are ripe, put them in the refrigerator and they will stop ripening and last until you are ready to eat them.  I commonly only eat half an avocado at one time, storing the other half in the fridge in aluminum foil for later.  I always make sure to store the half with the pit as the pit helps to keep it fresh.

Summer is quickly approaching, which means pool, parties, fun and sun.  On hot summer days, nothing beats some fresh, homemade guacamole with plantain chips and raw veggies and a cool drink (maybe with tequila in it??).  This recipe is super easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.  The lemon in the recipe helps to keep it from turning brown (which happens when avocado is exposed to air).  I also leave the pit in the dish until right before I serve it.

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Glorious Guacamole

makes approximately 5 servings

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil (approx. 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste

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Mash avocado in a bowl then throw in ingredients, mixing thoroughly.  Serve atop your favorite salad or with your favorite chips.  Best with some sort of tequila-based drink on the side (kidding!).  Or not.  🙂

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Peace, love and healthy fats,

The Yogi~Foodie

Farmers Markets and Tomatoes

Late May heralds the return of farmers markets to areas near and far.  I love a good farmers market and am fortunate enough to have three very close to me on three different days of the week.  If you have never been to one, I highly encourage you to find one near you (the website http://www.localharvest.org can help with that) and check it out.  Established markets typically have a little bit of everything, from meat to produce to honey and flowers.  You will probably find a bakery with fresh baked scones or muffins as well.

Not convinced that farmers markets are better than your supermarket?  Here are my top 5 benefits of farmers markets:

  1. Speak directly with your farmer – When you visit a stand at your local farmers market, you have the opportunity to talk directly with the farmer and workers who are growing your food or raising the animals who’s meat you are purchasing.  You can ask any questions you may have about their farming techniques, inquire about whether the farm uses any pesticides or fertilizers and how they butcher their animals.2015-05-23 09.34.56
  2. Smaller carbon footprint – When you buy locally, your food doesn’t need to travel as far to reach you, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.  Some of the food we find in our local grocery markets comes from places completely across the globe and a lot of energy is spent shipping those goods.  The cost of shipping is passed to the consumer in the price of the product and is also passed onto Mother Earth in the form of pollution.
  3. Food is fresh – As I mentioned in #2 above, food at your local farmers market does not travel very far to come to you.  As it comes straight from the farm, it is picked right before travel to market when the food is at its peak of ripeness.  Produce picked at just the right time tastes much better than produce that was picked prior to becoming ripe and has been out of the ground for the better part of a week.  Don’t believe me?  Try a blind taste test with strawberries, which are in season now through the end of June. 
  4. Food is more nutritious – Most produce in your grocery market is picked prior to ripening and typically ripens while in transit.  Produce picked at just the right time is much more nutritious than produce picked early.  There is also a significant difference between pasture-raised meat fed a traditional diet versus meat from animals raised in factories on industrial farms.  For example, beef from cows raised on pasture eating natural grasses (the food cows have eaten for centuries) has higher amounts of alpha-lipoic acid (essential for metabolism, lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity), contains CLA (an omega-6 fat that fights cancer and builds lean muscle tissue), has higher amounts of omega-3 fats (prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease), contains stearic acid (a saturated fat that lowers LDL cholesterol), and has vitamins E and A.
  5. Support local businesses – Shopping at your local farmers market will also provide you with the opportunity to give back to your community and support local small businesses.  Currently, approximately 10 large companies control 90% of our food supply.

Open-faced Toasted Tomato Sandwich

Tomatoes are one of the produce stars of the summer.  To me, it is hard to beat a fresh, local tomato just off the vine.  They are bursting with flavor and contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been found to help prevent diabetes, age-related muscular degeneration and cataracts, aging of the skin, and osteoporosis.  Tomatoes can be eaten in so many different ways – sliced on a sandwich or burger, chopped and put into a salad, eaten raw like an apple, or layered with fresh mozzarella for a Caprese salad, to name a few.  My current favorite is open-faced toasted tomato sandwiches.  Though tomatoes won’t be at their absolute best for a few more weeks, I can’t help myself. 🙂

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Makes 1 sandwich (vegetarian and vegan)

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 slices whole grain bread (my current favorite is Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Sea salt, to taste

Toast bread in toaster oven and spread with coconut oil (about 1 tbsp per slice, load it up!).  Let sit for 30 or so seconds so that oil can melt and seep into the bread.  Lay sliced tomato on top and sprinkle with sea salt.  Enjoy!!

Peace, love and farmers markets,

The Yogi~Foodie

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

I love a good vegetable salad.  They are super easy to whip up, are healthy and the varieties are endless.  Salads are also a great way to bring every color of the rainbow to your plate.  Raw vegetables have a cooling effect to the body, which is why we tend to crave them and other cooling foods such as smoothies during warmer spring and summer months.  As a result, I load up on my raw veggie salads during these seasons and get my fill.  In contrast, during the late fall and winter, when my body craves warming foods, I eat more soups, stews and cooked vegetables.

Spring and summer bring in a bounty of delicious, healthy, in-season produce.  In the spring we have avocados, carrots, grapefruit, lemons, arugula, asparagus, beets, spring onions, lettuce, parsley, peas, spinach, radishes, and swiss chard.  The summer months bring the berries, peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, apples, avocado, asparagus, basil, beets, broccoli, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, radishes, spinach, summer squash and zucchini.  I don’t know about you, but this list makes my mouth water.  For a more extensive list of what produce is in season throughout the year, go here.  Eating in-season means the produce is usually fresh, local and more nutritious.  And typically less expensive too!

This salad is a not traditional lettuce-based salad, though it would probably be pretty yummy added on top of spinach, lettuce or kale, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.  It is simple, delicious, only takes about 15 minutes to prepare with only a little bit of chopping and minimal clean up involved.  I am all about recipes that don’t take time and that you can make in large batches!  This salad can be used as a dip with tortilla chips and as a side at a picnic or social gathering.

The base is quinoa, an ancient grain that hails from Peru and Bolivia.  As I recently mentioned in my Quinoa Breakfast Porridge recipe (located here), quinoa is a complete protein.  This means that it contains all 8 amino acids essential to our health that our bodies cannot produce.  It is gluten free and has the highest nutrient profile of all whole grains.  Quinoa only takes about 20-25 minutes to cook and all you need to do is follow the instructions provided on the package.

The recipe below makes approximately 5 servings and is vegetarian and vegan.

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Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (run under warm water in a strainer to thaw)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (red, orange or yellow)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 avocado (to add on top when serving)

Add quinoa, black beans, corn, onion, bell pepper and cilantro to a bowl.  Mix together well.  Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, mixing again to coat contents thoroughly.  Place in fridge for 30 minutes prior to serving.  When serving, slice avocado and place on top.

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Enjoy!  More yummy spring and summer salads coming soon 🙂

Peace, love and healthy food,

The Yogi~Foodie