The other day I found myself scrounging for ingredients to make lunch at home (clearly I hadn’t planned my food shopping very well!). I didn’t have any lettuce to make a regular salad and I didn’t have any sandwich toppings, but I did have some vegetables, canned beans, and a whole bunch of grains in the pantry.
As you probably know by now, I love quinoa (and if you didn’t know, just check out some of my previous quinoa posts). I especially love how quickly it can be cooked up, which is perfect for a last-minute lunch dish. I ended up with a balanced, satisfying, and delicious lunch that took less than 20 minutes to make (ok – maybe this is longer than it takes to make most lunches, but it was so easy and the active time was only five minutes!).
Vegetable and Chickpea Quinoa Salad
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
- 4-5 roasted asparagus, chopped
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 1/2 can no-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Handful cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions in water or broth. When fully cooked (water is completely absorbed), rinse under cold water and drain. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
- When quinoa is at room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Divide between two bowls and serve.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 400 calories, 14 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 284 mg sodium
What do you make for lunch when you’re home?
In celebration of National Mediterranean Diet Month, here is the first of two Mediterranean-inspired recipes from Nutritioulicious intern Jo Bartell.
I have always loved falafel. Lucky for me there is no shortage of delicious, crispy falafel at the various Middle Eastern restaurants and falafel stands scattered throughout New York City. For those of you who are not familiar with this delicious food, Falafel is a ball or patty made of ground chickpeas. Falafel can be eaten alone as a snack, but it is often served in a pita pocket topped with vegetables and different sauces such as hummus or a yogurt sauce called tzatziki. The main ingredient of falafel is chickpeas, which makes the falafel high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. This combination of nutrients creates a healthy, satisfying meal component.
The problem with falafel from a nutritional standpoint is that it is usually deep-fried in oil. This cooking method turns a healthy dish into a less healthy version filled with saturated fat and cholesterol. Luckily, I found a great recipe for baked falafel I want to share. It is easy to make and definitely nutritioulicious!
Baked Falafel Balls (adapted from www.food.com)
Serves: 8; Serving Size: 4 falafel balls
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup bulgar wheat
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed for brushing
- 1 red onion, finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1¼ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons whole-wheat breadcrumbs*
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- ¼ cup minced parsley
*Note: You can substitute Panko Breadcrumbs for the whole-wheat breadcrumbs.
- Bring water to a boil and remove from the heat. Mix in the bulgur. Cover and allow the wheat to sit until all the water is absorbed — about 20 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is just transparent.
- Add chickpeas, red chili flakes, salt, cumin, and coriander to the pan and sauté for 1 minute more. Combine the chickpea mixture and bulgur in a food processor.
- Add the lemon juice, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and parsley and process until just mixed and the mixture has a grainy texture. Set mixture aside for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Form falafel mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Brush the balls with olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden, turning the pan once during baking.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 110 calories, 3.5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 173 mg sodium
Do you like falafel? Have you ever made it at home?
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Meals, Nutrition Education, Recipes, Snacks
Tagged baked falafel, chickpeas, falafel nutrition, healthy eating, mediterranean diet, national mediterranean diet month, Recipes
After many nights in a row of cooking, I often have the urge to order in or go out to dinner. Last week I was feeling that way, but then I saw that I had asparagus and broccoli in the fridge – I couldn’t just let them spoil, so I decided to cook one more night. I wasn’t going out to the supermarket to get any additional ingredients, so I figured I’d do a pasta dish – always an easy pantry dinner! Knowing that my husband doesn’t usually like pasta cooked at home (he’s not so into spaghetti and tomato sauce), I knew I needed to find something creative to make. I found a delicious-sounding recipe for Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce from Ellie Krieger, and decided I was going to use that as my jumping off point. I didn’t have all the ingredients it called for, so I added sundried tomatoes to the one small roasted red pepper I had left. I also added some beans to add a little more creaminess and protein to the sauce. And instead of fettuccine, I used einkorn pasta. In the end the dish was amazing and my husband was raving about it for days!
Einkorn Pasta with Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 4 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), preferably no-sodium added
- 8 ounces Einkorn pasta
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Add the broccoli and asparagus to the pan and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender. Set aside.
- Place the sauteéd onion, garlic, peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor with the vegetable stock. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the feta and the beans and process until combined and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with the vegetables and sauce, adding the reserved pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with pepper, to taste. (Note: the feta is salty, so you may not need to add salt.) Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with remaining feta cheese.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 442 calories, 19 g protein, 60 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 13 g total fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 22 mg cholesterol, 452 mg sodium, 194 mg calcium
Posted in Dinner, Recipes
Tagged chickpeas, creamy red pepper sauce, dinner recipes, einkorn pasta, ellie krieger, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, jessica fishman levinson ms rd cdn, nutritioulicious, Recipes, red pepper tomato sauce, registered dietitian jessica fishman levinson, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes