Posts filed under ‘Sides and Snacks’
I sure hope you aren’t tired of pumpkin yet! I have a delectable baked dish that can triple as breakfast, a quick snack or a healthy dessert…now that’s a win in my book.
It’s Secret Recipe Club time again this month, and I was assigned Laura’s darling blog, A Healthy Jalapeño. Not only does Laura have a laundry list of recipes I want to try, she seems like “my type of people”…and the way she describes herself as “having no special talents, but I am passionately curious” is one fantastic statement. I searched through multiple recipes that I debated on trying this month, but finally settled on Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin and Bananas. Not only is this a dish that’s appropriate for pumpkin and holiday season, I was enticed by the layered look and the combination of flavors. Prior to making this dish, I hadn’t combined pumpkin and bananas but I loved it!
Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made a few changes based on preference and what I had on hand: I swapped out quick oats for quinoa flakes, used maple syrup instead of brown sugar and added maple extract to quinoa mixture. I wound up adding milk to the flakes as well because the mixture appeared to be a little dry for the middle and wanted to ensure it would cook. I also threw in 1/3 cup of pepitas in addition to walnuts (in lieu of pecans) for a little color and to play up the pumpkin flare.
I served this both warm and cold and thought it was delicious! If you don’t like it cold though, I blame it on my cold-pizza and refrigerated leftover fetish For a healthy dessert option, I drizzled my “yogurt glaze” over a slice to amp up the protein and to give it a more dessert-like feel.
Baked Quinoa with Pumpkin and Bananas (adapted from A Healthy Jalapeño)
Gluten-free, Oil-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Refined Sugar-free
4 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2″ pieces*
1 (15 oz) can organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
1 tbsp honey
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar, sucanat, or brown sugar)
1 cup uncooked quinoa flakes (or gluten free quick oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans) – omit for nut-free and substitute more pepitas if desired
1/3 cup pepitas
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened Almond milk, divided (or any milk you desire)
1 egg, whisked
1/4 – 1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Garnish and serving ideas (optional)
a drizzle of maple syrup or honey
sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg
extra pepitas, walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 9″ ceramic baking dish with cooking spray or coconut oil (my favorite) or line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft (I didn’t cook them until mushy though).
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the quinoa flakes (or oats), pepitas, 1 cup of milk, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and salt; stir together.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, maple syrup, maple extract, maple syrup/sweetener, remaining 1/2 cup of milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
5. Remove the bananas from the oven, then spread the quinoa mixture over the bananas. Next, pour the pumpkin mixture over the quinoa, spreading to make sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the the top.
6. Bake for about 32-38 minutes (mine baked for 38), or until the top is golden brown and the pumpkin and quinoa has set. Garnish with nuts/seeds/yogurt if desired and serve!
*If you aren’t a fan of bananas, try swapping out apples for a different taste.
Growing up, my favorite way to eat broccoli was covered in cheddar cheese. Of course, it was probably more cheese sauce than broccoli but I got a thumbs up from my parents for eating my veggies.
Now, my NEW favorite way of enjoying broccoli is raw in this salad…tossed in a delicious sweet n tangy dressing with hints of smoky bacon, scallions, nutty sunflower seeds and a touch of sweet currants or raisins. Sweet, salty, smoky, crunchy and healthy? Yes, it’s possible!
Plus, this dish can easily be made vegetarian or vegan, plus there are options to switch up the ingredients. Dried cranberries or halved grapes can be substituted in place of the currants/raisins. You can swap out the sunflower seeds for slivered almonds, walnuts or pepitas. If you don’t like mayo, just use more olive oil. Add in some smoked cheddar for the bacon if that suites you. Variety and options, you can’t go wrong!
Take this salad on your next picnic, potluck or BBQ, it travels well and is easy to prepare. I’ve been enjoying a big bowl as a quick lunch at work but it can be served as a side dish with your favorite summer or spring meal!
Smoky Broccoli Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Refined Sugar-free, Quick, Paleo-friendly
2 medium crowns or stalks of broccoli (about 4 cups)
2 scallions, chopped
2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled/chopped bacon (nitrate free if possible, omit for vegetarian,vegan)*
2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds (pepitas, slivered almonds or walnuts can be subbed)
2-3 Tbsp currants or raisins (or dried cranberries or halved fresh grapes can be used)**
For the dressing
2 Tbsp mayonnaise or vegan mayo (I’ve used soy-free Vegenaise)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or agave (or could use a tiny dash of stevia)
2 -3 tsp dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
a dash of crushed red pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1. Cut off the stems from the broccoli (save for another use) and cut into bite size pieces.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing and whisk until combined.
3. Add broccoli, bacon, seeds (or nuts), scallions and currants/raisins. Toss to combine and serve!
Yields 4 1/2 cups
*For vegetarian, you can swap out the bacon for 1/3 cup diced smoked cheddar cheese. If you omit altogether, you will lose the smoky element but that’s ok, it’s still delicious!
**If using fresh grapes, the salad won’t keep as long. Will be best if eaten same day or the next day.
All sorts of cauliflower recipes have been floating around the web, and I’ll admit that I’ve joined the fan club! What an incredible veggie – from sauces and soups to potatoes and pizza crusts, I am impressed with this seemingly ordinary ingredient.
This quick and quite filling bowl has been a go-to meal the last few weeks when I feel like I need some extra veggies and still want a satisfying dish. You can switch up the toppings and add-ins to make a southwestern dish or even an Italian or BLT version. While I am pretty routine, I do appreciate mixing things up a bit too
If you start with the base, –the cauliflower mashed potato recipe– you can customize your dish with your favorite ingredients. It’s flexible…you can serve this as a side dish just as the base, jazz it up with one or two ingredients or make it the main meal with several add-ins and protein of choice if desired. You gotta love options
Mashed Cauliflower “Potato” Bowl
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegan Option, Dairy-Free Option, Soy-free, Nut-free, Vegetarian Option
1 medium head of cauliflower, stem and core removed
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp Earth Balance, ghee, butter or olive oil (Use Earth Balance or oil for dairy free. I prefer the first 3 options because of the flavor)
garlic salt or sea salt to taste (don’t skimp, it adds flavor)
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp of your favorite fresh chopped herbs – chopped chives, parsley etc (optional)
Your favorite add-ins (see below for different variations)
Italian Chicken Pictured:
baby spinach, sauteed in 1/2 tsp olive oil
julienned sun-dried tomatoes with Italian herbs in olive oil
oregano and basil
diced rotesserie chicken
Daiya (dairy free) shredded cheddar cheese
1. Cut cauliflower into florets and discard or save the stems. Steam for 10-12 minutes until fork tender. Do NOT overcook or the end result will be mushy, if you undercook it the “mashed potatoes” will be grainy. Check the cauliflower at 10 minutes to see what the texture is, if a fork can pierce it easily then it’s done.
2. Drain any excess liquid from your cooked cauliflower (I use a steamer basket) then add to the bowl of a food processor along with the Earth Balance/Butter/Oil and blend until completely smooth. Do not add liquid though, keep processing! You may need to stop and stir a couple times, it may take 5 minutes depending on your processor and amount of veg in the bowl.
3. Season (generously) with pepper and garlic salt (my preference) or sea salt to taste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in mix-ins OR divide portions into bowls and top with “mix-ins” and serve! If you are adding salty add-ins such as bacon, sausage or cheese afterward, add some salt at the beginning and re-taste after mixing in ingredients.
BLT Bowl: add 3 slices of cooked, chopped (nitrate-free preferably) bacon, halved grape tomatoes OR chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and sauteed or wilted arugula/spinach or kale
Southwestern Bowl: Add 3 oz cooked chorizo or sausage, shredded cheddar cheese (optional), chopped scallions, 1 anaheim pepper, deseeded, diced sauteed, and 1/2 cup corn kernels
Mediterranean Bowl: Add 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, feta cheese or goat’s feta, toasted pine-nuts and chopped chives.
I am all about bite-sized treats. There is built-in portion control (theoretically speaking of course!)…then there’s the “cute factor”, and in my opinion, they are more fun to eat.
Though if I’m being honest, I always have more than one. However, with healthier ingredients I feel it’s OK to have that extra serving After all, I am getting an extra boost of fiber from flaxseed meal and oats, protein from the powder and nut butter and the healthy dose of fats keep me full.
These frozen chunky monkey “cupcakes” were adapted from my carob covered coconut protein bars on a whim when I was in the mood for something sweet yet filling and needed a little protein boost. They hit the spot and I made several batches – some with and without the “frosting”, which can be eaten sans-”cupcake” guilt-free as well
That’s a win-win situation in my book!
Frozen Chunky Monkey “Cupcakes” with a Fudgy Nana “Frosting”
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option
1/2 cup natural almond butter or peanut butter (can sub sunflower seed butter for nut-free), room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup or to taste* (could probably sub banana or soaked dates but haven’t tried this)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 grams good tasting vanilla protein powder of choice (I tested this with Jay robb’s whey protein, was 3 scoops)**
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2-3 Tbsp oat flour, oat bran (for grain-free, sub more flaxseed meal or use almond or peanut flour)
pinch of sea salt (eliminate if using salted nut butter)
For the Fudgy “Frosting”
2 small ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1/2 Tbsp honey or agave (omit for less sweet…I was going for frosting)
2-3 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder to taste*** (could sub carob powder for caffeine free)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt, optional but enhances the flavor
Chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (use chips or nibs for nut-free)
For the bottom layer
1. Line a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap or use a silicone mini muffin pan (my preference) and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine nut butter, oil, sweetener and extract. Process until smooth.
3. Add in remaining ingredients (protein powder through sea salt). Pulse until combined and well incorporated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a bit more flour to reach a cake batter consistency (the bottom layer will firm up when refrigerated though).
4. Spoon into 12 individual mini muffin cups and refrigerate until firm (I left the cups overnight, but you also freeze the cups for an hour or so before finishing them with “frosting” layer if using).
For the Frosting
1. While the bottom layer is hardening, prepare the topping. Pulse all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and well combined.
2. Spoon into a piping bag or a plastic freezer bag (this is to make the swirl on top). Place back in freezer for 15 minutes to let harden a bit.
3. Cut a small hole in the freezer bag and pipe onto prepared “cupcake” bottoms. Garnish with walnuts/chips/nibs and enjoy!
Best kept in freezer or frozen banana “frosting” will get goopy and melty. You may have extra frosting leftover depending on how much you pipe…you can freeze the rest and eat them frozen chocolate-nana ice cream cubes!
*My protein powder is sweetened so if you choose a powder that is unsweetened, feel free to add more sweetener to liking. If you want to keep the sugars low, adding a bit of stevia to taste is always an option but you may need more oil or nut butter to make up for the lacking moisture.
**If you would like to eliminate the protein powder, increase the oat bran/flour or almond or peanut flour
***Add cocoa/cacao powder to taste. If you prefer a lighter chocolate taste, use less…for a more intense chocolate taste use more. I used more because I like the deeper chocolate flavor.