Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Solstice everyone :)  I don’t know if you realized, but yesterday was the longest day of the year?!?!  I find it odd that the longest day of the year is actually earlier on in the summer, but I’m not complaining.  I love summer and Seattle is getting longer, warmer days each year that I live here.  Seriously, the sun sets after 9 pm and we are experiencing highs in the 90s BEFORE “the official” start of summer in Seattle (aka 4th of July weekend).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Fremont, which is undoubtedly the quirkiest neighborhood in Seattle, and also refers to itself as, “The Center of the Universe” throws a fair for Solstice.  There is even a parade and this may be one of the most free-spirited parade routes in the country…it starts off with naked, body-painted, cyclists.   If that doesn’t welcome summer, I don’t know what does.  We kicked off the weekend with a mimosa brunch, build your own breakfast burrito bar, and spent the afternoon watching the parade festivities.  Andrew and I were lucky to be a part of a friend’s proposal later that night and continued celebrating into the evening.  Talk about  making the most of a long day!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Today, the day after Solstice, is all about relaxing and some meal prep for the week ahead.  Quinoa salads are a great, healthy, easy, and versatile recipe to throw into your meal planning routine.  With all the warm weather, there is so much yummy produce, and a light salad is one of my favorite work lunches :)  This is a twist on one of my favorite Bosnian dishes –šopska salata (Shopska Salad).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This salad is a staple in many Balkan countries.   Traditionally, the salad is comprised of tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, onion, feta, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt.  Here in the U.S. it is difficult to find the green peppers that are custom to The Balkans, so I omit the peppers because bell peppers just don’t taste the same.  The quinoa and beans are great protein boost and the I love to change up the flavor by adding whatever fresh herb I have on-hand.  Today it was rosemary, but basil and parsley work nicely too.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I decided to have some fun with the pictures for this post and get a lil’ fancy since the rest of my day has been pretty casual ;)  I hope you all had a happy, safe Solstice and are excited for the rest of summer!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8-10

The Players: 

For the salad
1 C dry quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1/2 hothouse cucumber, sliced and quartered (~1 1/2 C)
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, diced (~1 C)
16 oz can 50% reduced sodium garbanzo bean, drained and rinsed

For the dressing 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced rosemary
1/2 C feta cheese
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. For the quinoa: Place quinoa and water in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to low heat, place lid on pot, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff quinoa, and replace lid for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your veggies and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once quinoa is cooked, transfer to the mixing bowl, and add dressing ingredients.  Toss well to combine.  Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and allow the flavors to enhance.  Serve cold.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love snacking.  I am pretty much a professional grazer.  I eat every 2-3 hours and constantly am perusing the grocery store for my next snack choice.  A snack connoisseur if you will.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus.  Now this is a snack I get down with every week.  I figure why purchase store-bought hummus, when you can make a healthier version in less than 5 minutes.   You can also make any flavor you want.   Avocado, eggplant, olive, pesto, jalapeno are just a few I have toyed with.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I will usually use garbanzo beans (chickpeas); however, white bean hummus has an amazing creamy texture.  Here’s a white bean recipe for you: https://bonappeteek.com/2014/10/12/reduced-guilt-hummus/

You can store the hummus in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, but it doesn’t last more than a day when Andrew joins me in snack mode.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

As always,

Bon Appeteek

The Players: 

15.5 oz can 50% less sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 roasted red pepper (I use Trader Joe’s fire-roasted red peppers)
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
2 t ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth, creamy consistency.  (Note: you can leave the hummus chunkier if you would like)

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

I love having pre-made salads and sides on hand.  This is one of my favorite, nutrient and flavor-packed salads.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin B6, C, D, iron, magnesium, potassium, and a fairly low-calorie carbohydrate.  Chickpeas provide fiber, protein, manganese, and iron.  Seriously these two mixed together in a salad = amazing health benefits AND flavor.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter and the earthiness of cumin will provide a nice balance to that sweetness, as well as the citrus in the dressing.  The freshness of the cilantro adds another dimension to the flavor-profile.  As you know by now I love making dishes a little hotter in the kitchen.  I chose to just add chili flakes to the dressing, but you could add some serrano peppers or jalapenos if you want even more spice.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

The longer you let this salad marinate in the refrigerator the yummier it will be.  I did not have the patience to wait that long…oops ;)  That’s why I will be making a double batch of this salad the next time!

Sweet Potato and Chickpea SaladThe cilantro also adds a lovely pop of color to the salad! 

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Servings: 4

The Players: 

For the salad: 
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 red onion, diced
14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 T fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing: 
1/4 C honey
1 1/2 to 2 lemons, juiced
1/2 t crushed red chili flakes
1 T ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil.  Cook the cubed sweet potato for approximately 5 minutes per side, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat once the sweet potato is fork-tender.  (Note: It is okay if the potatoes are slightly charred)
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, combine the ingredients for the dressing in a medium-mixing bowl.   Whisk until well-combined.  Add the remaining salad ingredients, including the sweet potatoes to the mixing bowl with the dressing.  Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.
  3. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Black beans are an amazing source of protein and fiber.  I like adding beans to salads, tacos, burritos, pretty much any Latin American food.  Why not make beans the star of a dish?

If anyone truly knows me they know that I am OBSESSED with soups.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

I could eat some variation of soup or stew Every. Single. Day.  I was inspired to create my own black bean stew, by my fit and fab friend Rebecca.  I was talking with Rebecca today and she told me she was going to meal prep for the week –one of those meals was a chipotle black bean soup.  Doesn’t that just sound fantastic?!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

At least I thought so and I decided to take a look in my pantry and dream up a vegan-friendly, hearty, SPICY, black bean soup for my own Sunday meal-prep.  You know what they say:

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So we have beans at every meal!”

~Elementary school children

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Don’t let my crude sense of humor stop you from making this amazing soup!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8

The Players: 

1 T coconut oil
1 red onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (or any other color you have on hand)
2 carrots, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced (I included the seeds)
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 x 15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained not rinsed
4 C low sodium vegetable stock
1 T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
sea salt to taste

Optional toppings: cilantro, avocado, scallions, cotija cheese, lime, salsa, sour cream, cooked rice/quinoa/cous cous

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Once the pot is hot, add 1 tbsp coconut oil and allow to melt.
  2. Transfer the first seven ingredients to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the remaining soup ingredients to the pot, stir to combine, and turn burner to high heat.  Bring the soup to a boil then cover with lid.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree some of the soup to desired consistency. (Note: you can use a food processor or blender to puree the soup, but you will need to allow the soup to cool first)

Skinny Enchilada Bake

Skinny Enchilada Bake

This recipe is one I have experimented with over the past year.  It started with a trip to Miami.  My cousin and her fiance live in Miami and they were gracious enough to host us for a much needed break from the gloomy Seattle winter!  What better way to repay your host than to have a yummy, home-made meal ready for them after work?

Skinny Enchilada Bake

I decided to make a healthier twist on a favorite Mexican dish–enchiladas!  You really cannot go wrong with Mexican food or casseroles in my opinion.  Casseroles are just a midwest obsession.  Anyone who grew up in the Midwest has grown up eating their fair share of casseroles.  Traditionally, I associate casseroles with canned soup: most midwest mamas love to add canned soup to their casseroles.  Don’t worry this is not your mama’s casserole, no canned soup here (not that I have anything against your mama’s casserole).

Skinny Enchilada Bake

The first time I made this dish I did not include the sweet potato or jalapeno, I shredded the chicken, and I used salsa verde instead of enchilada sauce.  I think this new and improved version packs even more healthy ingredients into each bite and the pieces of chicken and sweet potato are a great contrast to the quinoa.  To keep it on the healthier side I went easy on the cheese, but you can feel free to add more to get an ooey-gooey, cheesy crust on top of the enchilada bake.  Feel free to garnish with greek yogurt (seriously, I may have an unhealthy obsession with that condiment), sour cream, salsa, or hot sauce.  We even used the last of the enchilada bake as the filling for some soft shell tacos.

Skinny Enchilada Bake

This is a hearty dish that is sure to be a favorite in your household.  We ate this meal three times in a row.  Not because we had to, but because it is just that good.  I usually love leftovers…once.  I repeat “three times in a row?!?!” You know this a winner-winner chicken dinner ;)

Skinny Enchilada Bake

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breast, fat trimmed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
12 oz bottle of enchilada sauce + 3/4 C water
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 C frozen corn
1 C quinoa + 11/2 C water (I used a mix of red and white quinoa)
1/2 C grated cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)
1 roma tomato, diced
4 scallions, diced

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. For the quinoa: combine 1 1/2 C water and quinoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer (low setting), place lid on pan and let quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes.  (Note: Do not uncover lid from sauce pan until at least 15 minutes have passed otherwise you will lose the steam needed to cook the quinoa)
  3. Place the sweet potato pieces in a small microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tbsp of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Drain excess water and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan greased with non-stick cooking spray sauté the pepper, onions, garlic, and jalapeno over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Move the veggies over to one side of the pan and add the chicken breast, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken over to the opposite side and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes to the pan at this time.
  6. Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken.  Add water to the bottle of enchilada sauce, replace lid, shake to loosen any sauce on the bottle and pour the enchilada sauce-water mixture over the chicken too.
  7. Add the corn and black beans to the pan and stir to combine all ingredients.
  8. Remove the chicken breast from the pan and set on a cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Replace chicken in the enchilada sauce and veggie mixture. (Note: If the chicken is still slightly raw in the middle, do not worry it will finish cooking in the oven)
  9. Add the quinoa to the frying pan and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Transfer to your prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with the grated cheese.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with freshly chopped tomatoes and scallions.  Serve warm with your favorite Mexican garnishes!