Toasted Quinoa and Lentils

In my attempt to make a quinoa-lentil veggie burger, I instead created a delicious toasted quinoa and lentil dish that while different in form is similar in flavor to the veggie burger. Best of all, the mixture is delicious with a variety of other foods, including mixed greens and roasted vegetables.

Toasted Quinoa and Lentils

Ingredients:

> 2 cups cooked quinoa
> 1 cup cooked lentils
> 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
> salt
> 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
> cooking spray

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine quinoa, lentils, cumin and feta. Season with salt and mix until well combined.

Spray large skillet with cooking spray and add quinoa-lentil mixture. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve on its own, atop a salad or with vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Original recipe.

Refreshing and Nutty Mixed Green Salad

Warmer weather calls for lighter meals, and often salads are my go-to meal. While it’s easy to stay in the routine of making the same salad (or one with minor variations), our tastebuds and bodies can get bored of the constant repetition. Deviate from your typical salad routine by buying just one new ingredient at the grocery store, and it may inspire new creativity in the kitchen. For me, that ingredient was jicama.

Refreshing and Nutty Mixed Green Salad
Ingredients:
> 4 cups mixed greens
> 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
> jicama, cut in small slivers
> 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
> 1 cup cooked quinoa
> 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice from oranges
> 1/4 cup orange muscat champagne vinegar
> 3/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:
Tear mixed greens into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, jicama, almonds and quinoa.

Make orange vinaigrette by whisking together orange juice, vinegar and olive oil. Drizzle lightly over salad and mix with hands to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 entree-sized servings.

Original recipe.

Vegan Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

Creating a cheesy factor that is vegan may seem next to impossible, but the secret ingredient — nutritional yeast — which many people would never think of eating creates a delicious, savory flavor. Adding nutritional yeast to simple roasted vegetables creates a nuttiness and provides the nutritional value of protein.

Vegan Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:
> Cooking spray
> 1 large head of cauliflower, bite-sized pieces
> 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
> 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
> 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking oil. Place cauliflower on baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine nutritional yeast, garlic salt and pepper. Sprinkle nutritional yeast mixture over cauliflower. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Makes 4 side servings.

Adapted from Clean Eating.

White Bean and Kale Soup

Vegetable soup is like chicken noodle soup — light yet filling for your body and soul. It’s a homey food that no matter what mood you’re in, it always makes you feel better. The best part is vegetable soup is so easy to make. This white bean and kale soup requires chopping of the vegetables and then everything else takes less than half an hour for cooking. Feel free to play around with different vegetables that are in season. White Bean and Kale Stew Ingredients:

> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 onion, diced
> 2 cloves garlic, chopped
> 3 carrots, peeled and diced
> salt and pepper, to taste
> 1 lb cherry tomatoes, sliced
> 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
> 1 lb kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces

Instructions:

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, and add onion, garlic and carrots. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add tomatoes. Cook until mixture begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes.

Add 7 cups water and beans, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, then stir in kales. Cook until tender, about 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 entree-sized servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Raw Apricot Lemon Bites

When fresh fruit doesn’t sound like it’s going to satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to this dried fruit and nut recipe that combines for the perfect balance between sweet and salty. The bites are so dense that it only takes one bite to give you a sugar boost.

Apricot Lemon Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped walnuts
> 1 cup dried apricots, torn into pieces
> 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1 teaspoon salt
> zest from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 1/4 cup shredded dried coconut

Instructions:

Process walnuts in a food processor until they resemble a gritty flour. Add the dried apricots, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until well combined, and the mixture is sticky.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut and apricot-lemon mixture. Combine with a spoon or your hands until the coconut is distributed evenly.

Press mix firmly into a parchment lined pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate for two hours and cut into bars or form into bite-sized balls.

Adapted from One Green Planet.