Caprese and Beet-and-Chickpea Focaccia Pizza

Homemade pizza is a fun meal to make since everyone can customize their pizza as they please. Since I wasn’t in the mood to roll out pizza dough or make it from scratch, I decided to make an easy pizza alternative using focaccia bread. The same can be done with flatbread, pita or any other bread product that can support the weight of cheese and vegetables.

I made a caprese version and a beet and chickpea version. I preferred the latter since the chickpeas added a different texture. Feel free to experiment with the toppings!

Caprese Focaccia2015-06-21 19.51.07

 

 

Ingredients:

> 1 package focaccia bread
> 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
> 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
> 3 small beets, sliced
> 8 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to broil. Slice focaccia bread in half and set with sliced half open.

For the caprese version, place mozzarella then tomatoes on top of focaccia. For the beet and chickpea version, place mozzarella, then beets and chickpeas on top of focaccia. Be sure to not pile too high with cheese and veggies.

Place in oven to broil for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Makes 2 servings.

Inspired by Fitness Magazine.

Roasted Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa

Vegetarians rejoice because you can have steak too — it’s just a different kind of steak. I’ve often read cauliflower steak recipes and thought It sounds so simple, yet the presentation is of restaurant caliber. This rendition uses all parts of the cauliflower to make a cauliflower puree that’s simple yet elegant.

Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa

Ingredients:

> 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch thick “steaks”
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt and pepper
> 1 cup quinoa
> 1 leek, rinsed and sliced
> 1 clove garlic, chopped

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups water over simmering water, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan and roast the steaks on each side until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the cauliflower puree, cut the remaining cauliflower ends including the stalks into small florets and blanch until tender. Preheat oven to 350°F and spread florets on a baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes.

In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute the leek and garlic. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until cauliflower is tender. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth.

To assemble the dish, fold together quinoa and 1 cup cauliflower puree in a medium bowl. Place a bed of the quinoa mixture and top with a cauliflower steak on each plate. Garnish with roasted vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from The Wall Street Journal.

Caprese Quinoa Bake

While I love the flavors of pizza and pasta, I’m not always in the mood to eat that many white carbs or order an entire serving. Plus, Italians love their large pasta dishes and “single-serve” pizzas are often more appropriate for two. This recipe brings Italian flavors to a dish with whole grains and less cheese than your classic pizza or pasta. It’s easy to cook and makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.

Caprese Quinoa Bake

Ingredients:

> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 15-ounce tomato sauce
> 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
> 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
> 1/2 teaspoon oregano
> salt and pepper
> 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
> 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
> 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic salt and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa and cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly coat a 8×8-inch pan with olive oil. Add quinoa mixture to prepared baking dish. Bake about 10 minutes. Top with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from NatureBox.

Vegetable Farro with Figs and Sunflower Seeds

Every week I plan my meals for the next week or two, so I can do grocery shopping on the weekend and schedule the cooking throughout the week. Recently, I remembered my slow cooker, which hasn’t been used since last winter. The slow cooker can be a woman’s — or man’s — best friend.

The only challenge is finding recipes that are healthy, and in my case, vegetarian. A majority of slow cooker recipes involve a large white rice, bean or meat component, which can be fine as long as you pair it with heavy dose of vegetables, but I wanted a recipe that was naturally good for you and filling. When I typed “slow cooker” into my recipe app Paprika, I discovered this recipe, which I knew was going to be a winner in my book. The farro provides a nutty flavor, the veggies melt in your mouth, the figs give it a sweet kick, and the nuts on top make it crunch.

Vegetable Farro with Figs and Sunflower Seeds

Ingredients:

> 1 cup farro
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 2 cups water
> salt and pepper
> 1 tablespoon chili powder
> 4 cloves garlic
> 1 lemon, sliced into slivers
> 1 green bell pepper, sliced 1/3″ thick
> 1 red bell pepper, sliced 1/3″ thick
> 1 large eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 cup dried Black Mission figs, stemmed
> 1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
> 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
> 3 small zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
> 6 ounces spinach
> roasted sunflower seeds, for garnish

Instructions:

Turn a 6-quart slow cooker on high and set the timer for 6 hours. Add all of the ingredients up to and including the cherry tomatoes. Cover and cook for 4 hours.

Stir the mixture gently and add the zucchini and spinach, submerging them in the liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 2 more hours.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with roasted sunflower seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Bulgur Wheat, Beet and Chickpea Medley

As I start to train for my fourth half marathon, I’m reminded how important it is to fuel my body with the right nutrients — alongside stretching, getting plenty of sleep and of course taking care of my body when it hurts. For my normal green salads to have the right combo of nutrients, I need to be more thoughtful about getting the right mix of protein and carbs.

A grain salad full of vegetables is the perfect dish for high-intensity training. This dish, in particular, is characterized by a nutty texture from the bulgur wheat, a heartiness from the beets and chickpeas, a creamy element from the goat cheese and a sweetness from the honey dressing.

Bulgur Wheat, Beet and Chickpea Medley

Ingredients:

> 1 cup bulgur wheat
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> 4 large beets, cut into bite-size pieces
> 5 cups green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 2 tablespoons honey
> salt and pepper
> 4 tablespoons goat cheese
> 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Cook the bulgur wheat in a medium saucepan, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Mix beets with half of the dressing. Place in a baking pan lined with foil. Roast about 20 minutes. Add chickpeas to beets after about 10 minutes.

Steam green beans in a small saucepan. Combine the bulgur, chickpeas, green beans, beets and the remaining dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled goat cheese and sunflower seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Nourish: The Fit Woman’s Cookbook.

Roasted Broccoli and Grains

I couldn’t get enough of the nutty flavor of bulgur, so I whipped together this recipe which combines the perfect arrangement of flavors — the refreshing roasted broccoli, nutty bulgur, even nuttier roasted cashews and refreshing lemon. The well-rounded meal makes great leftovers to package for lunch at work the next day, or the following night’s dinner.

Roasted Broccoli with Grains

Ingredients:

> 1 large head of broccoli, sliced into bite-size pieces
> 1/3 cup cashew pieces
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt and pepper
> 1 cup bulgur wheat
> juice from 1 lemon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place broccoli on baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to to coat. Roast about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Boil 2 cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan, and add bulgur wheat. Bring to a simmer and cover with lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

Place cashews on a baking sheet and roast for about 7 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, bulgur wheat and cashews. Mix in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Bulgur, Cabbage and Tomato Salad

Many supergrains have increased in popularity over the past couple years, some for their gluten-free characteristics and others for their nutritional value. Quinoa, couscous and teff are just a few, but for those who don’t care about consuming gluten, bulgur wheat provides great nutritional benefit being low in fat and high in fiber and protein. This salad combines the nutty flavor and texture of bulgur with the refreshing crunch of cabbage and juiciness of tomatoes.

Bulgur, Cabbage and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup bulgur wheat
> 1/2 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1″-thick slices
> 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
> 4 cups tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
> juice from 1/2 lemon
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook bulgur according to package. Toss bulgur, cabbage, onion and tomatoes in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over mixture, and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.