Has your family participated in Meatless Monday yet? Maybe you’re reluctant to because someone in your family thinks veggies are yucky. Or maybe you’re just perplexed on how to cook up a vegetarian dish that’s filling and will be liked by all family members. That’s why you have to check out the new cookbook by Suzanne Landry, The Passionate Vegetable. Her health inspired recipes promise to revitalize your life whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover.
You can tell that Suzanne is a health educator, because The Passionate Vegetable is as educational as it is inspirational. The cookbook includes a simple guide to food nutrition, suggestions for healthy vegetarian meals, transition recipes for the meat lover (love this!), and a guide to remaking your pantry to be healthier and vegetarian friendly. The Passionate Vegetable contains over 145 recipes including breakfasts, salads, soups, grains and bean dishes, and entries, as well as a chapter devoted to meat and healthy treats and desserts. It also features fantastic food photography for some but not all her recipes, unfortunately. Recipes I’m looking forward to making include Ratatouille over Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese.
With the weather getting warmer, I’m on the lookout for recipes that require a minimum of cooking and are more on the light side. This recipe from The Passionate Vegetable for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad fits the bill, since you can make it ahead of time in the morning when it’s cooler. Quinoa makes a terrific main dish since it’s an excellent source of vegetarian protein and it’s gluten free. Suzanne suggests adding leftover quinoa salad to scrambled eggs – just before the eggs set hard, add 1/4 cup and give it a stir. She likes this egg and quinoa salad dish for breakfast, but you could make it for lunch or dinner, too!
California Fiesta Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup tomato, chopped (1 medium tomato)
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped (1 stalk)
- 1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped (1 medium cucumber)
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (4 scallions)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata are the best!)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Place in boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed. Remove from pot into a large bowl and allow to cool before adding vegetables.
- Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch slabs and remove most of the seeds. Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½-inch cubes. This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces that won’t get mushy if the salad isn’t eaten right away.
- Cut celery by slicing down the rib in the center of the stalk. If the stalk is large you might want to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Slice cucumber lengthwise into 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop these strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans, and olives.
- Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together. Toss lightly with salad. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe and picture used with permission.
Here’s another wonderful gluten free recipe the folks at San-J sent me from Amie Valpone of The Happy Apple. It would make a terrific side dish most nights, but is perfect for Meatless Monday as a main dish since quinoa is an excellent source of vegetarian protein – just double the amounts so you have plenty to serve.
Coconut Quinoa Salad
By Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups cooked shelled edamame
- 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup finely diced red bell peppers
- 4 button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/2 scallion, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salad by combining edamame, beans, red peppers, mushrooms, scallion, dried cranberries, coconut and carrot.
- Remove quinoa from heat; set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa to the bowl of salad ingredients.
- Pour San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing on top; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, parsley, lime zest, sea salt and pepper.
Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.
Adding pomegranates to your holiday recipes is a delicious way to to stay healthy during the holiday season since pomegranates are high in antioxidants. Pomegranate juice, like the kind made by POM Wonderful, is also wonderful alternative to high calorie/no nutritional value cocktails. Just add a little seltzer and maybe a squeeze of lime or some mint leaves and you have a lovely mock tail that’s yummy and good for you!
Cooking with pomegranates
I’ve been a fan of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice for years and have used it to create:
- Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce
- Stephanie Izard’s Pomegranate Pancake Syrup
- Basil Pomegranate Lemonade
- Pomegranate Smoothies
Even so, I’ve never cooked with pomegranate arils, the little “beads” that are inside pomegranate fruit. However, thanks to POM and celebrity chef Zoe Nathan, I’m inspired!
Zoe Nathan is the head baker and pastry chef at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen in Santa Monica, California. She and her husband/business partner, Josh Loeb, also run Huckleberry Café and Bakery. She created this quinoa and arils dish, which would be a perfect entree for any vegetarians at your holiday dinner table. (If there are vegans present – or guest avoiding milk products – substitute a vegan soy, rice or almond milk cheese for the goat cheese.) It’s also gluten free and would make a lovely side holiday dish with its green and red colors. (Just remember to halve the portion!)
Quinoa with Pomegranate Arils and Goat Cheese
- 1 cup arils from 1–2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- Score 1–2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; sauté until lightly browned.
- Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
- Remove quinoa from saucepan and spread out over sheet tray and let it cool (it stops the cooking process).
- Mix in the mint, pomegranate arils and goat cheese.
- Season with salt, pepper and some olive oil to taste. Serve.
- Calories: 400
- Calories from Fat: 140
- Total Fat: 16g
- Saturated fat: 8g
- Unsaturated fat: 8g
- Sodium: 1330mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 53g
- Sugar: 23g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 14g
- Cholesterol: 30mg
$1 off POM Wonderful coupon
To make your pomegranate cooking even easier and less time consuming, use POM Wonderful Fresh Arils instead of trying to remove the arils from the fruit – less messier for sure!
There’s also a $1 off coupon available on the POM website. Just click on it, fill out your email and zip code, and print it out.
Picture courtesy of POM Wonderful.