Farro and Broccoli Pesto Bowl

Healthy grains with texture such as quinoa and farro are some of my favorites, but returning to the same old recipe of quinoa with chickpeas and roasted vegetables or a cold farro salad can get redundant. By adding one or two more ingredients, including a flavor booster such as pesto, can give a standard recipe a new face.

Grain and Pesto Bowl

Ingredients:

> 1/2 head of broccoli
> 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
> salt and pepper, to taste
> 4 carrots, chopped
> 2 zucchini, chopped
> 3/4 cup farro
> 2 tablespoons vinegar
> 2 tomatoes, chopped
> basil, shredded

Instructions:

To make broccoli pesto, place broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Add 5 tablespoons of water or as little as necessary, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast carrots and zucchini, seasoned with salt and pepper, on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Cook farro until fluffy.

Combine pesto, roasted vegetables, farro, vinegar, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

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Raw Vegan Lasagna

Lasagna is a comfort food for many, full of guilt, but this raw vegan recipe makes lasagna guilt-free and full of nutrients and flavor from veggies. When regular meat lasagna leaves you unable to stand from your seat, this version leaves you satisfied and ready to take on the world. The secret ingredients are the homemade cashew cheese and broccoli pesto.

Raw Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients:

> 2 zucchini
> 2/3 cup cashews
> 2 garlic cloves, peeled
> 1 tablespoon lemon juice
> 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
> salt and pepper to taste
> 1/2 head of broccoli
> 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
> mushrooms, sliced
> tomatoes, sliced

Instructions:

Cut zucchini in very thin slices with a knife or on a mandolin. Set aside.

To make the cashew cheese, place the cashews, garlic, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of water or as little as necessary, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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To make the broccoli pesto, place the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Add 5 tablespoons of water or as little as necessary, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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Assemble the lasagna by layering a zucchini noodle, cheese, pesto, mushrooms, tomatoes and any other ingredients you’d like. Top with a zucchini noodle.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Mediterranean Succotash with Quinoa

To give vegetables rich flavor, you can either season them with spices and herbs or you can cook them in a sauce so they absorb that flavor. The latter is exactly what this succotash involves, a dish full of protein and texture.

Mediterranean Succotash

Ingredients:

– 1 cup vegetable broth
– 2 medium zucchini, chopped
– 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

Bring vegetable broth to a boil and add zucchini, bell peppers and garlic in a large saucepan. Cook until vegetable are cooked, about 8 minutes.

Stir in beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Cook quinoa according to package. Serve the succotash over quinoa, and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Apricot Walnut Spread

Typically appetizers are known for their dairy or meat component — baked brie, mozzarella sticks, meatballs, pigs in a blanket. But bite-size treats come in all shapes and sizes, including vegan varieties. This sweet spread is rich and almost dessert-like. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Apricot Raisin Spread

Ingredients:

– 2 handfuls of walnuts
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 teaspoon maple syrup
– 2 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped
– 2 tablespoons raisins

Instructions:

Soak nuts overnight, or for 8 hours. Place soaked nuts and water in a food processor, and process until nuts form a cream. Add maple syrup, apricots and raisins, and process until incorporated.

Line a small bowl with aluminum foil, and place nut cream in bowl. Freeze until cream hardens and holds its shape. Enjoy with crackers.

Adapted from Naturally Wholesome.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Making pizza at home is a fun activity to get everyone involved in the kitchen — plus you can control what toppings you want and how much sauce and cheese your pizza will have. Another benefit is for those that are gluten intolerant or who are trying to avoid carbs, pizza is no longer off limits since you can make alternatives such as this recipe with cauliflower crust.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

> nonstick spray
> 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated (about half of a large head)
> 3 tablespoons egg whites
> 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
> salt and pepper
> 1/4 cup tomato sauce
> toppings (roasted chickpeas, zucchini, mushrooms, kale, squash, etc.)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°, and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Grate the cauliflower using a box grater, or chop to create the same effect. Place in a large bowl and microwave for seven minutes, or until soft. Remove from the microwave and let cool.

Add the egg whites and 1 cup mozzarella, and season with salt and pepper. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the prepared baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick spray, and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

Top the pizza with the sauce, remaining mozzarella and toppings. Bake another 10 minutes, until melted and bubbly.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from FitSugar.