Bok Choy Stir Fry over Bulgur Wheat with a Ginger Garlic Dressing

I’m never thrilled about cooking brown rice… It’s just not appealing to me! I’ll mix it with beans, peas, and soups but I avoid eating it when it’s lonely and separate from all the other foods on my plate. Luckily, we have so many grain options at our grocery stores now in the U.S. Just look at this dirt-cheap sale!>>

Bulgur wheat is quick and affordable. The nutritional content is very similar to quinoa (minerals and B vitamins) except it has a little less calories.

It tastes a bit nutty like farro but smaller. I presume it’s versatile in about any type of entree. If you’re an oatmeal connoisseur like me, you’ll be very happy to know it resembles steel-cut oats with its dense almost crunchy texture!

As you probably may have noticed, my stir-fry is not overly cooked. (The vegetables are firm and the colors are vibrant). You’ll see in my recipe below how I achieve this. I don’t do it intentionally to save calories or to retain more vitamins and minerals… I just really prefer the taste and texture. Call it al dente, call it tasty, I don’t care.

It’s a win, win!

Bok Choy Stir Fry over Bulgur with a Ginger Garlic Dressing
Print Recipe
Easy and affordable bok choy stiry fry over bulgur wheat mixed with garlic ginger dressing. An asian-inspired meal with a unique grain.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Bok Choy Stir Fry over Bulgur with a Ginger Garlic Dressing
Print Recipe
Easy and affordable bok choy stiry fry over bulgur wheat mixed with garlic ginger dressing. An asian-inspired meal with a unique grain.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Vegetables
  • 3/4 cup Bulgur wheat, measured dry
  • <1/2 teaspoon Vegetable bouillon cube Optional, or use a broth
  • 1 tablespoon Oil, canola
  • 3-4 whole Carrots, large, slice 1/4-1/2" thick
  • 1/4 cup Onion, yellow or white, diced
  • 3 whole Bell peppers, diced Variety of orange, yellow, red, etc.
  • 1 lb Bok choy, roughly chopped Substitute cabbage, collard or kale greens
Garlic Ginger Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic, fresh, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger, fresh, grated I use the chilled tubed variety
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sweet chili sauce *Optional
  • 2 tablespoons Rice vinegar Or substitute with a white vinegar
  • To taste Salt and Pepper
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat large skillet to medium heat. Add canola oil once warm. In a small-medium pan, begin boiling bulgur per labeled directions, adding a bouillon cube or broth if you'd like. This should take 15 minutes maximum to cook.
  2. Add the sliced carrots to the hot skillet. Stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or so. Once the carrots begin to tenderize a little bit, add onion and peppers together until almost caramelized (another 3 minutes.) Add bok choy (or substitute collard greens, kale or cabbage).
  3. To continue cooking the bok choy (or greens), reduce the heat to slightly below medium and cover the pan to allow to steam until desired texture is achieved! This should only take 2 minutes or so.
  4. Saute garlic with olive oil: In a small skillet on medium heat, with one tablespoon of olive oil, once hot, add minced garlic and saute until golden and aromatic. (30 seconds to 1 minute.) Place garlic and extra oils from pan and add to a small bowl with the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, sweet chili sauce (optional). Whisk liquid sauce. Add sauce to vegetables.
  5. Serve sauced vegetables over the warm bulgur wheat! (You can also combine all of these thing and of course multiply the sauce if you're needing that drippy feel!)
Recipe Notes

Nutrition information per (1/4th of recipe) serving:

Calories 312 | Fat 12 | Carbohydrates 53.1 |Fiber 10.1 | Protein 9.4

Sodium: 273 mg

  • I realize I have 3 different oils in this recipe. If you can't make it to the store for sesame oil, I would just wait until next time you make it. (The flavor is A LOT tastier.) And use just canola oil for the entire recipe.
  • Calorie reduction tips: Double leafy greens and/or peppers to stir fry. Use a non-stick pan, steam instead of adding oil, and save a bout 1/4th of the amount of calories.
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Beef & Kale Soup with Potato

It’s officially time to embrace the winter weather. The beach is kindly preparing me for this lake effect snow I have the pleasure in experiencing next month. It’s sort of daunting, sort of exciting. But, I really don’t like spending anytime complaining. Plus, I’m getting this soup thing down! Baby steps.

The best part about this hearty soup is that the meat will take no time at all and it will not dry out! I even recommend this soup for adding any leftover beef you may have, like from your taco nights.

Cooking at home changes with the seasons… and like clockwork, when it hits December, I forget to get the occasional red meat. Hamburgers and steaks are usually for eating out during these times of the year. So, without spending too much at all, home cooked meals like these really help me out!

And don’t worry, this soup is also very calorie friendly so with new years resolutions / summer bod preparation in mind, you can rest assured you’re getting a balanced meal without breaking the calorie bank.

Beef & Kale Soup with Potato
Print Recipe
This hearty soup has 6 basic ingredients, with beef being the highlighting flavor. Without weighing you down with cream and extras, it's a balanced approach for what your body craves at meal time. This soup can be be prepared, cooked, and cooled in less than 1 hour.
Servings Prep Time
7 servings 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
7 servings 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Beef & Kale Soup with Potato
Print Recipe
This hearty soup has 6 basic ingredients, with beef being the highlighting flavor. Without weighing you down with cream and extras, it's a balanced approach for what your body craves at meal time. This soup can be be prepared, cooked, and cooled in less than 1 hour.
Servings Prep Time
7 servings 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
7 servings 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (Or 80/20 turkey or beef) *Nutrition information is for chuck, higher in fat
  • 1 lb Red skin potatoes, small, cubed Or 5-6 potatoes, quartered for smaller potatoes
  • 1 whole Onion, white, medium, chopped
  • 3 whole Carrots, large, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, fresh, minced or chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 quarts Broth (Vegetable, Beef, or Chicken) *I used vegetable concentrate
  • 1/2 bunch Kale, fresh, chopped, stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 pinch Red chili pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for vegetables *Optional but recommended, 1 tbsp is included in nutrition information
  • Lemon for garnish
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat your large soup pot or dutch oven. In a separate skillet- start cooking the 1 lb of ground meat (of your choice) on medium heat. While the meat is browning, add chopped onions, carrots, and potatoes to the large soup pot. Cook vegetables on medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Once the vegetables are tender and juicy, reduce to medium heat and add in the 1.5 quarts of broth, chopped garlic and kale, and cooked meat. Allow to simmer again. Add in seasonings (oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander, chili flakes is optional) and additional salt and pepper to taste. Flavors should marry and should be ready to cool in another 10 minutes.
  3. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon, serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information, per 1 serving (1/7th of recipe):

Calories 294 Fat 15g Carbohydrates 26g Fiber 4g Protein 16g

*Sodium 198mg

Nutrition information includes ground chuck beef, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and the other listed ingredients

Other nutrition related recipe notes...

  • Swap lean ground turkey to reduce about 90 calories per serving
  • I don't suggest skipping the olive oil in soups!
  • Vegan: Skip the meat, cook lentils instead (with vegetable broth), and add step 1
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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai with Broccolini

As I’m posting this, I’m realizing many of us are probably sorting out recipes for the holiday dinners. I’m thinking pies, casseroles, and cocktails are invading your brain right now.

I’ll just pretend some of you are interested in some vegetables!

This pad thai can be made with any type of protein you’d like. In my recipe you’ll see I used tempeh; chicken is specified as an alternative for those who would rather cook up some meat. To stir fry the tempeh/chicken all I used was peanut butter and coconut oil! The sauce you stir in has plenty of flavor.

The spaghetti squash works perfectly as noodles in the pad thai… and you will most likely have some left over!

Pro tip: If you have to be cautious with your sodium intake, add the remaining roasted spaghetti squash noodles to a small portion of your serving instead of the saucy pad thai noodles

I hope everyone enjoys the holidays this weekend and finds room for more meals like this! <3

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Print Recipe
Spaghetti squash converts this traditional pad thai recipe into a plant-based (and gluten free) dinner meal. Squash 'noodles' combined with saucy peanut sauteed tempeh (or chicken) with fresh broccolini and a little bit of a spicy kick makes for a great summer or cozy winter meal!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 10-12 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 10-12 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Print Recipe
Spaghetti squash converts this traditional pad thai recipe into a plant-based (and gluten free) dinner meal. Squash 'noodles' combined with saucy peanut sauteed tempeh (or chicken) with fresh broccolini and a little bit of a spicy kick makes for a great summer or cozy winter meal!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 10-12 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 10-12 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Spaghetti Squash (Noodles)
  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash ~5 cups cooked
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil, extra virgin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Skillet
  • 2 x 7.5 oz container Tempeh, cubed I use Lightlife (either Three grain or Original) ; or use 14oz-1lb chicken
  • 2 tbsp Peanut butter, creamy, natural With salt
  • 1-2 tbsp Coconut oil or canola oil For the skillet
  • 1 bunch Broccolini 4 cups minimum
  • 1 cup Mung bean sprouts *Optional
  • 1/4 cup Green onion, chopped *Optional
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts, crumbled Additional 1/4 cup for garnish is optional
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, fresh, roughly chopped *Optional
  • 1 whole Lime, halved and juiced *Optional
Pad Thai Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Sweet chili sauce I used Trader Joe's
  • 3 tbsp Soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp Rice vinegar
  • Pinch of red chili flakes *Optional
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the spaghetti squash to roast. Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It will be ready when it's fork tender and you can scoop out the squash like spaghetti noodles.
  2. Next, prepare either the sauteed chicken or tempeh. In a large (deep) skillet, on medium heat, add either 1 tbsp canola oil or coconut oil when warm, then add 2 tbsp of the peanut butter, and about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes. *This is for about 1 pound of chicken or 15 oz of tempeh*
  3. While the chicken (or tempeh) is cooking create the sauce for the entire pad thai seperately. In a small bowl mix together rice wine vinegar - 1 tbsp, and 3 tbsp each of sweet chili sauce and low-sodium soy sauce. Pinch of red chili flakes if you like it hot.
  4. When chicken (or tempeh) is cooked add the trimmed broccolini (or broccoli florets) to the large skillet on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add extra oil and black pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm if the squash is still cooking in the oven.
  5. Once spaghetti squash is cooked, add at least half of the spaghetti squash to the skillet stirring frequently. Combine the sprouts, sauce, green onion, and 1/4 c crushed peanuts. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro, as well as additional 1/4 cup of peanuts (if you'd like).... then serve!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information per (2/3 cup) serving

Calories 320 | Fat 16 | Carbohydrates 28.7 | Fiber 10.2 | Protein 20.1

  • Nutrition Information includes: tempeh,1/4 cup of peanuts, and 5 cups of cooked spaghetti squash
  • Protein: If you'd like to use chicken, cube about 14 oz to 1 lb of raw chicken in replacement of the tempeh.
  • If you have more than 5 cups of spaghetti squash I suggest keeping it separate and adding it as needed per meal time.
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Lentil Soup with Kale {Vegan}

It’s not officially winter until you start craving your favorite soups!

I fell in love with this recipe when I had my wisdom teeth removed in April. My client passed it on to me from the blog Cookie and Kate and I seriously ate this every day for about 2 weeks.

Not only is it super tasty, the ingredients are cheap and seasonal! Such a win. So, just by shopping kind of smart you will likely have these on hand fairly regularly during the winter months!

If you don’t already cook with legumes (beans, lentils, peas, nuts etc.) you should try some of the recipes here on my blog… [I really should have a legume recipe category.] They all originate from a pod and are full of fiber, protein, and folate (24% of your RDA). Check out the vegan recipes or search by key word if you’re interested in cooking with more legumes!

 

Lentil Soup with Kale {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Hearty lentil soup made with fresh seasonal kale makes this meal easy, quick, and affordable for the winter months. With just a few basics like cumin, curry, thyme, and lemon this vegan soup will soon become a staple in your household.
Servings Prep Time
6 bowls 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 bowls 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Lentil Soup with Kale {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Hearty lentil soup made with fresh seasonal kale makes this meal easy, quick, and affordable for the winter months. With just a few basics like cumin, curry, thyme, and lemon this vegan soup will soon become a staple in your household.
Servings Prep Time
6 bowls 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 bowls 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 medium Onion, white or yellow
  • 2 medium/large Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic, fresh, minced/pressed/grated Or 3 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin, ground powder
  • 1 teaspoon Curry, ground powder
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme, dried
  • 1 x 28 oz can Diced tomatoes, organic
  • 1 cup Lentils, brown or green/french etc. *If you'd like to modify, ensure the cooking time is 30 mins for replacement
  • 4 cups Vegetable or Chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red chili pepper flakes Pinch, or if using powder about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper to taste
  • 4 cups Fresh kale chopped, hard stems removed Or swiss chard, collard greens
  • 1 whole Lemon 3 tbsp of lemon juice works great too
Servings: bowls
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven (or large pot) over medium heat: Add olive oil, allow to sizzle, then add the chopped onion and carrots. Cook until tender, onion will appear a bit more clear, about 5 mins. Then, add the garlic, cumin, curry and thyme. Stir for a few seconds to combine the flavors.
  2. Pour in the diced tomatoes. (Notice the size here!) Stir and cook for an additional few minutes, about 3-5 minutes. Stir often for the best flavor.
  3. Pour vegetable broth (or chicken), water, and lentils. Add the salt, red chili pepper flakes, and black pepper. Raise heat so liquid comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially covered. Simmer for 30 minutes, lentils should be tender but still shapely.
  4. Pour greens into pot. Cook for 5 minutes until leaves all lightly wilted. Squeeze half of a lemon to the pot (this is about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice alternatively). Flavors will be best the day after!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information per (1/6th of recipe or ~1.5 cups) serving

Calories 289 | Fat 9.8 |Carbohydrates 39.8 | Fiber 8.3 | Protein 12.6

  • As an option you can use an immersion blender for half of the soup once you add the fresh greens
  • Flavors are best the next day
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Spicy Pinto Bean Orzo Pasta with Kale

Since I’ve discovered canned chipotles in adobo sauce, it’s been a game changer for recipes like these. Now my sauces have gotten spicy and I love it! This recipe is quick, simple, and doesn’t break the bank. All the canned items here are about $3-4, the pasta is about $4 and the vegetables including the kale, onion, and garlic is less than $5 in total…

Honestly though, I’m trying to cook like a college kid again. I’ll be limited in free time when I’m in Michigan next year and I know I’ll be giving up some of my free time in order to study for the RD exam. So, below you’ll find some of my tips for healthy cooking on a budget. Because it’s always nice to save money while also having a tasty meal!

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This dish starts with making the spicy garlic tomato sauce while the pasta is cooking. After the beans are mixed in and the kale is lightly wilted the sauce can be added to the pasta. And that’s really it. You’ll want to let the flavors marry and keep it at a low heat for just a bit.
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Nothing too long though, because this is meant to be quick and easy!

Cooking meatless will make you want to get a little creative. So adding your favorite spices, acids, and oils is a must. Thankfully nutritious and flavorful meals can be created on a budget with the help of fresh vegetables and a well stocked spice cabinet. 🙂

And of course sometimes you gotta use up all the dry goods from the pantry. I like to keep whole wheat pasta and a variety of whole grains like quinoa, freekah, brown rice, wild rice, millet etc. For canned foods stocking up on canned beans (black, garbanzo, pinto, kidney, all of them!), tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, peppers, pickled and brined vegetables keeps me from going starving when life gets hectic.

Happy and healthy cooking!

Spicy Pinto Bean Orzo Pasta with Kale
Print Recipe
An easy plant-based meal for meatless Mondays or lazy Sundays that's deceivingly hearty and comforting. Whole wheat orzo pasta and pinto beans come together in a spicy tomato sauce... with fresh kale of course!
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 2-6 minutes
Cook Time
12-18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 2-6 minutes
Cook Time
12-18 minutes
Spicy Pinto Bean Orzo Pasta with Kale
Print Recipe
An easy plant-based meal for meatless Mondays or lazy Sundays that's deceivingly hearty and comforting. Whole wheat orzo pasta and pinto beans come together in a spicy tomato sauce... with fresh kale of course!
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 2-6 minutes
Cook Time
12-18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 2-6 minutes
Cook Time
12-18 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic, fresh, minced/pressed/grated
  • 1/4 cup Onion, white, diced
  • 2 cups Kale, fresh, chopped, stems removed
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup Canned diced tomatoes Organic*
  • 1 x 8 oz can Tomato sauce, reduced sodium I used the Goya brand*
  • 1 x 15 oz can Pinto beans, drained, rinsed Or 1 and 2/3 cup cooked beans of choice
  • 2 whole Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon Oregano, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika powder, smoked
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Bring 1 large pot of water to a boil then add the 1 cup of whole wheat orzo pasta.
  2. In a large medium heat skillet add olive oil followed by garlic and onion until golden; then add chopped kale until lightly wilted. Lastly add peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and 1 full can of pinto beans (or white, kidney, black). Toss seasoning: 1/2 tbsp of oregano, salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp of chili powder and smoked paprika.
  3. Once seasoning is added and kale is wilted, allow the sauce to simmer low for at least 3 minutes.
  4. By this time your pasta should be cooked. Combine your sauce and pasta in either pan and mix.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information per (1/6th of recipe, ~1 and 1/4 to 1/2 cup) serving

Calories 231 | Fat 5 | Carbohydrates 38 | Fiber 5.1 | Protein 8.4

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Saucy Portobello, Black Beans + Butternut Squash Tacos {Vegan}

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I’d like to say these were the best vegetarian/vegan tacos I’ve ever had but that’s just not fair… So, I’ll let you know that my fair judges, and meat-eating friends, were very pleased (and stuffed) after this healthy taco night!

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I was sort of amazed on how well everything, including the butternut squash, mixed with everything.

Honestly, don’t neglect any part of this recipe! If you want chicken instead of the base (butternut squash and black beans) I would stick with the same seasonings and maybe add in the black beans. Because all of this made me want to drool, it’s hard to imagine it any different. The saucy portobellos are EVERYTHING.

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It starts with all the basics, but the added chipotle pepper in adobo sauce is what really makes this recipe so special.

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I hope these bring you as much happiness and messiness as they did me!

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Thank you Dana!!

Saucy Portobello, Black Beans + Butternut Squash Tacos {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Spiced black beans and butternut squash piled high; topped with saucy portobello mushrooms sautéed in a garlic-tomato-adoba sauce. Wrapped in small whole wheat tortilla(s), garnished with fresh cilantro!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Pmall tacos 0 Minutes; Prep time included in cook time
Cook Time
40 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Pmall tacos 0 Minutes; Prep time included in cook time
Cook Time
40 Minutes
Saucy Portobello, Black Beans + Butternut Squash Tacos {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Spiced black beans and butternut squash piled high; topped with saucy portobello mushrooms sautéed in a garlic-tomato-adoba sauce. Wrapped in small whole wheat tortilla(s), garnished with fresh cilantro!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Pmall tacos 0 Minutes; Prep time included in cook time
Cook Time
40 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Pmall tacos 0 Minutes; Prep time included in cook time
Cook Time
40 Minutes
Ingredients
Butternut Squash + Black Beans
  • 2 cups Butternut squash, cubed *Try the pre-cubed butternut squash to cut down on time
  • 1 x 15 oz can Black beans, rinsed, drained =1 and 2/3 cup cooked
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon Chili powder, ground
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
Adobo Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil or canola oil For sautéing
  • 1/4 cup Onion, white
  • 2 tbsp Garlic, fresh, minced/pressed/grated 3-5 cloves
  • 1 x 15 oz can Tomato sauce, no salt added *Organic
  • 1 whole Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp Adobo sauce More or less if preferred
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chili powder, ground
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar *Or you can use muscavado sugar
Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 whole Portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/2 an inch Stems removed
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil or canola oil
For Serving
  • 12 small Tortillas, whole wheat (or corn) La tortilla are a great choice, or fresh if you can find them
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, fresh, chopped
Servings: Pmall tacos
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Place cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet or a glass dish, lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with seasonings (cinnamon, chili powder, cumin). Bake for 20-40 mins or until tender. *I bake additional squash for later, 2 c cubed will reduce cooking time to 20 mins*
  2. In a large skillet: While squash bakes, heat skillet to medium, add 1 tbsp of coconut oil when hot. Sauté onion and garlic until golden. 4-5 minutes.
  3. Reduce skillet to low heat. Add 15 oz can of tomato sauce, chopped chipotle pepper, 2 tsp of adobo sauce, 1/2 c water, 1/2 tsp each of cumin and chili powder, then 1 and 1/2 tbsp of coconut sugar. Stir. Adjust to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes at least. Set aside
  4. In a large skillet: On medium-high heat sauté mushrooms, adding additional oil as needed. Once cooked, mix in about 1/2 a cup of Adobo Sauce to make the saucy mushroom topping.
  5. Squash should be baked or about ready. Set 2 c of butternut squash aside. Warm up the 1 and 2/3 c black beans, mix these together when warm. Add a pinch of black pepper. You may mix in 1/4 cup of Adobo Sauce now, or wait until tacos are served.
  6. Serve on warm whole wheat (or corn) tortillas! Placing butternut squash + black beans at bottom, saucy portobellos, then garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information per (2 tacos) serving

Calories 308 | Fat 11.4 | Carbohydrates 51.5 | Fiber 23 | Protein 16.3

Recipe makes about 12 tacos

Special note on cooking time: You may have tons of butternut squash. This will increase baking time. Remember to set aside the 2 cups cubed after baked if you decided to cook it all at once. You may add the Adobo Sauce then or just use the sauce as a topping on tacos when serving!

Storage: Sauce lasts up to 1 week, or you can freeze it! Freezing can keep the sauce fresh for at least 1 month. The remaining ingredients will ideally be stored and refrigerated for 2-3 days. I always recommend separating some ingredients if you can for storage purposes; this also helps with utilizing the leftovers better.

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Roasted Garlic Vegetable Orzo Pasta

Nothing complicated about this pasta dish at all. Roasting vegetables in olive oil is simple, tasty and makes every meal come together so nicely! You can do eggplant, butternut squash, sweet potato, zucchini, additional kale, really any vegetable you desire or already have in the house.

Try this fall friendly recipe out or let your imagine roll. Whole wheat (especially whole grains) coupled with vegetables is a perfect base for main meals; the protein can be added last or added to the baking process.

Get cooking, and if you experiment, let me know what you come up with!

 

Roasted Garlic Vegetable Orzo Pasta
Print Recipe
Roasted eggplant, artichokes, and kale come together with whole wheat orzo for a simple easy to make dinner.
Servings
6 servings
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings
6 servings
Cook Time
35 minutes
Roasted Garlic Vegetable Orzo Pasta
Print Recipe
Roasted eggplant, artichokes, and kale come together with whole wheat orzo for a simple easy to make dinner.
Servings
6 servings
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings
6 servings
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Orzo pasta
  • 1 medium Eggplant
  • 1/2 bunch Kale, fresh, chopped
  • 1 cup Artichokes, marinated in vinegar and olive oil Quartered, drained
  • 3-4 cloves(s) Garlic, fresh Or use 2 tablespoons of jarred minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper To taste
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cut eggplant in half (long ways is easier so you can rinse the salt off). Sprinkle with fine kosher salt. Let sit for ~ 30 mins. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare and chop garlic and kale.
  2. Cube eggplant uniformly and toss in olive. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and disperse the eggplant evenly on sheet. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes or until tender and cooked through.
  3. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of whole wheat orzo pasta to the pot. While pasta cooks- sauté garlic in olive oil on medium, adding kale last.
  4. Once pasta is al dente, add the cooked ingredients all in one pot: sautéed kale and garlic, roasted eggplant, and rinsed artichoke.
  5. Serve warm. This dish pairs well with just about everything and works well if you have leftover chicken to throw in!
Recipe Notes
  • To reduce calories simply steam kale and reduce olive oil
  • This recipe is not high in protein, so for most individuals consider this a side for a meal that includes meat, poultry or fish
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Sautéed Black Eyed Pea Kale Salad {Vegan}

So, I used this fancy Italian ‘lacinato kale’ instead of regular kale… because it looked pretty. I’ll be honest though, it didn’t taste much different. The chopping however was quick and painless!

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After chopping up all the vegetables I wanted to add fresh herbs and continue adding all the flavors… but I’m glad I resisted. This salad is tasty because of how simple it is. Just garlic, olive oil and rosemary.

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When you begin adding the kale to the pan, be patient…the kale takes the longest to cook down. But if you’re antsy, add a tad bit of water (technical terms) and top the pan. This will make the lettuce tender, and shorten the cooking time.

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Of course don’t forget to rinse and drain any canned beans you choose to use. If you go with the dried beans…more power to you! But I do suggest cooking the dried beans prior to starting this recipe to make it nice and quick.

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Black eyed peas or any semi-soft white bean will work.

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Tomatoes are next. Then add the cooked beans and white wine vinegar. White wine vinegar is crucial for this salad, but if anyone uses a substitute that pans out well, post it at the bottom and let me know!

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Serve it up warm, with a glass of wine, and you’re done for the night 😉 If you need additional protein though, see my notes at the bottom!

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This salad was perfect for a small dinner, but

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Sautéed Black Eyed Pea Kale Salad {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Lightly sautéed lacinato kale, chunks of tomato, garlic and white beans. This warm salad is wholesome, quick, and a great option for those who enjoy incorporating plant-based meals for dinner.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 salads 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 salads 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Sautéed Black Eyed Pea Kale Salad {Vegan}
Print Recipe
Lightly sautéed lacinato kale, chunks of tomato, garlic and white beans. This warm salad is wholesome, quick, and a great option for those who enjoy incorporating plant-based meals for dinner.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 salads 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 salads 5-10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch Kale, fresh, chopped, stems removed Lacinato, or regular
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 15 oz can Black eyed peas Navy beans work well too
  • 1 large Tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic, fresh, minced/pressed/grated Also jarred/canned works well here!
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary, dry Or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 2 teaspoons White wine vinegar
Servings: salads
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat with olive oil, add garlic and rosemary. Cook until aromatic, not brown, for a maximum of 2 minutes.
  2. Add kale to pan. Stir occasionally, cook for 10 minutes or more. (Steaming with a top and additional 2-5 tsp of water is optional) Next, add tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes or until warm.
  3. Stir in beans, vinegar, (and salt and pepper if you'd like). Cook for 2 or so minutes until beans are cooked to liking.
Recipe Notes
  • Serve warm
  • Storage: stays well for up to 5 days
  • For those who need additional protein: Stir fry sliced chicken breast (1/2 - 1 lb) in rosemary and olive oil prior to the recipe and keep warm.

Nutrition information per entire recipe:

Calories 551 Fat 17g Carbohydrates 77g Fiber 24g Protein 27g

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Thai Chickpea Salad with Spiralized Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodles {Vegetarian}

Fueled by new kitchen tools, this thai noodle (I’ll call it a salad I suppose) is perfectly refreshing, crunchy, and extremely attractive! This seriously beats regular thai noodles, big time.

Be prepared to fall in love.

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So, step one of this recipe was a success in itself. No blood was shed…so pretty great right? I hope everyone has a nice kitchen tool to allow them to do this spiraling method. But if not, it’s not the end of the world. Use those knife skills and julienne some bell peppers, maybe use a large cheese grater for squash and other root vegetables, and add the copious amounts of vegetables to a thin spaghetti, like whole wheat angel hair!

ThaiCZ2 After looking around at one of my favorite blogs I was truly inspired. Half Baked Harvest had exactly what I wanted, and this is where I adapted the recipe. Her dressing is outstanding, and I can’t wait to make it again once I get more limes! Everything in this dressing should be in your pantry…and if it isn’t then it’s about time you get it stocked. 🙂

For this recipe you’ll be happy to discover only a couple bowls are being used. A small bowl for the dressing, and a medium-large bowl for the ‘noodles’ or vegetables. You’ll see I used a variety of colors for sweet bell peppers, zucchini and summer squash, and sweet potato!  

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Typically I’ll use chickpeas INSTEAD of peanuts in recipes. But, this is thai and all the flavors and texture matters! I used about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 1 can) and 1/2 of a cup of roasted, lightly salted, peanuts. If you have any peanut allergies in the house, go with slivered almonds instead or double the beans.

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Did I mention that nothing has to be cooked? Sweet potatoes, nothing!

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Just lots of fresh herbs as you can see. And whisking up this delicious ginger vinaigrette!

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Guarantee once you mix in the dressing you’ll want to eat up asap.

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If you choose, garnish with chopped green onion or add some chicken if you need it.

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Thai Chickpea Salad with Spiralized Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodles
Print Recipe
A plant-based thai noodle salad with roasted peanuts and a ginger vinaigrette. No pasta required!
Servings Prep Time
5 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Thai Chickpea Salad with Spiralized Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodles
Print Recipe
A plant-based thai noodle salad with roasted peanuts and a ginger vinaigrette. No pasta required!
Servings Prep Time
5 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Thai noodle base
  • 1 medium Sweet potato
  • 2-3 medium Squash- Summer and Zucchini (Green and yellow varieties)
  • 2 medium Sweet bell peppers (Yellow, red etc.)
  • 2 cups Basil leaves, fresh, chopped roughly
  • 1 15 oz can Chickpeas, drained, rinsed About 2 cups, more if preferred
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts, roasted
Ginger Vinaigrette
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce, low sodium I suggest Bragg's
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce Optional! Adds a ton of flavor though.
  • 1 tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 medium Lime, juiced Or 2 tbsp
  • 2 tsp Ginger, fresh, grated
  • 1-2 tsp Siracha
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, fresh, chopped
Optional for topping
  • Chicken for serving
  • Green onion for garnish
  • Additional peanuts for serving
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Clean and spiralize all vegetables. Sweet bell peppers and possibly other substitute vegetables may be julienned or sliced thinly. Rinse chickpeas 2-3 times in colander. Chop up the 2 cups of fresh basil. Add 1/2 cup of lightly salted, roasted, peanuts. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. For the dressing chop up the 1/4 cup of cilantro and remaining ingredients. Whisk together dressing in a small bowl. Toss the dressing into the medium bowl with the spiralized vegetable mix.
  3. Garnish as you wish! With cilantro, chopped green onion, or add chicken to the dish for additional protein if needed.
Recipe Notes

Calories please wait for calories to be posted! Thank you!

  • Raw vegetables and root vegetables can be substituted for whatever you like: options include beets, potatoes, squash, additional watercress etc.
  • Recipe is adapted from Half Baked Harvest 's Rainbow Veggie Pad Thai Noodles- the dressing is key!
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Garlic Honey Chickpea Kale Salad {Vegetarian}

This recipe is perfect for those of you who love a bunch of flavor, but don’t have a bunch of ingredients. It’s light, crunchy, with a touch of honey to balance the warm spices in the chickpeas!

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First thing you want to do is clean and trim your kale. I usually do this when I bring it home because I hate dirty vegetables going into the fridge! You’ll want a solid 6 cups of trimmed kale prepared. I grabbed some local kale for only 99 cents per bunch, so I actually was able to make this salad twice!

Now set your oven to 350 degrees to get the chickpeas ready to roast. My favorite part! Toss the chickpeas in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus about 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, red chili powder, cumin, all spice, and garlic powder. Salt and pepper too if you feel you need it! These flavor combinations are all adjustable, so do what your heart desires, I like warm all spice and cinnamon, but they’re not crucial for flavor!

For this recipe I was looking for a CRUNCH. So, the cook time ranges from 50 minutes to an hour. I recommend flipping the chickpeas in the middle if you can remember! My oven didn’t take a full hour to make a crispy chickpea. You can do this part ahead of time, perfect for snacking.

While the chickpeas are crisping add all of the ingredients for the kale salad together. If you allow the dressing to sit in the kale for an hour or so you’ll notice the kale shrinks up. But if you’re feeling impatient I suppose you can double the dressing to make the kale more palatable.

Whisk minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and honey. You’ll want 1 whole lemon at least or 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. For salads I always use a rich extra virgin olive oil and usually don’t need too much.

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Once the chickpeas are toasted, toss them in the kale and eat up!

This salad made my mouth real happy. I felt full after eating it as a snack but I think the best combination was dinner. Pair this with a rotisserie chicken a couple of times a week and make your life easier after work!

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Garlic Honey Chickpea Kale Salad
Print Recipe
Crispy spiced chickpeas tossed in a slightly sweet garlic honey kale salad.
Servings Prep Time
4 side salads, 2 full 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 side salads, 2 full 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Garlic Honey Chickpea Kale Salad
Print Recipe
Crispy spiced chickpeas tossed in a slightly sweet garlic honey kale salad.
Servings Prep Time
4 side salads, 2 full 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 side salads, 2 full 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 15 oz can Chickpeas, rinsed, drained OR 1 and 2/3 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Paprika, smoked
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp All Spice
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder Powder
Garlicy Honey Kale Salad
  • 6 cups Kale, fresh, chopped Stem removed
  • 1-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, fresh, minced/pressed/grated This is when the jar type is awesome!
  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp Honey (Maple if vegan)
Servings: side salads, 2 full
Instructions
  1. Clean and trim kale. Measure 6 cups of chopped kale. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Rinse and drain 1 can of chickpeas (1 and 2/3 cups). Toss the chickpeas with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, red chili powder, cumin, all spice, and garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste*
  3. Bake on a very lightly greased baking sheet for about 50 minutes to an hour. Flip and check after 25 minutes.
  4. Toss the kale with 1 - 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, about 2 tbsp of lemon juice (or 1 lemon), 1/2 tbsp or more of honey (maple if vegan), and 1 tbsp of minced garlic. Let it sit and marinate in the kale as long as you can before serving. Great served chilled.
  5. Add the toasted chickpeas to the chilled kale salad. Serve immediately!
Recipe Notes

Calories 206 Fat 8g Protein 10.75g Carbohydrates 30.5g Fiber 10g

  • Serve with your favorite meat dish, like a roasted chicken or turkey. You can also use this as a healthy, surprisingly filling snack.
  • Stays well for 3 days maximum.
  • Kale salad dressing is approximate and light, double if you want a heavy dressing but remember if you let it sit before serving it will absorb well.
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