Lentils and Chickpeas with a Mediterranean Flair

Sometimes all you want to do is whip up a quick, nourishing meal that is filled with protein and nutrients. Well, maybe it’s not just sometimes but always! That’s when recipes such as this one come in handy because they require no specialty ingredients and just a few fresh vegetables that allow you to create a vibrant, delicious plate.

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Ingredients:

> 1 cup green lentils
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 3 cups spinach
> salt and pepper
> 1 can chickpeas
> 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
> juice from 1 lemon

Instructions:

Cook lentils in a medium saucepan for 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add spinach. Cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine lentils, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Raw Vegan Risotto

Risotto is typically a creamy, decadent dish that I feel guilty after eating, even though my stomach is filled with yummy flavors. Whether you’re looking for a low-carb risotto dish or you’re testing out a raw or vegan diet, this risotto dish that my friend Brooke of Naturally Wholesome Life made leaves your tastebuds satisfied and your stomach filled.

Raw Vegan Risotto

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup soaked cashews
> 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
> 3 tablespoons water
> 1 1/2 cups cauliflower
> 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes
> juice from 1/2 lemon
> 1 cup peas

Instructions:

To make the cashew cheese, blend the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast and water in a food processor until it becomes creamy. Set aside in a separate bowl.

Combine cauliflower, sundried tomatoes and lemon juice in a food processor, and blend until the mixture has a rice-like texture. Mix in peas and cashew cheese.

Makes 1 serving.

Adapted from Naturally Wholesome Life.

Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup

On a cold winter day, the most satisfying meal is often a large bowl of soup that warms the body, heart and soul. Besides its warming factor, this curry cauliflower soup has nutritional perks that will keep you healthy all year long. Cauliflower is known to prevent cancer. How? Because it detoxes, provides antioxidants and reduces inflammation. Cauliflower and curry paired together make the perfect disease-fighting combo. Curry helps control blood sugar, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, and remove toxic heavy metals.

Now that we know why we should eat this delicious soup, let’s get on to the recipe.

Curry Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
> 3 teaspoons curry powder
> 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
> 3 cloves garlic, chopped
> 5 cups cauliflower florets
> salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Heat 1/2 cup almond milk in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add cauliflower, curry powder and almond milk, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more curry powder, if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

Puree half of batch in a blender until smooth. Add second half and puree. Transfer to bowls and serve.

Makes 5 cup-sized servings.

Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

Curry Cauliflower

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Lentils are one of those foods that I often order at restaurants since I hardly ever prepare them. Lentil soup, lentils in Indian cuisine, and lentils in veggie burgers are the first dishes that come to mind, so when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to try it. This baked dish requires some preparation but is perfect for having a hearty warm meal, full of flavors.

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Ingredients:

> 1 teaspoon olive oil
> 1 large onion, finely chopped
> 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
> 1/2 cup green lentils
> 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
> 3 red bell peppers, chopped
> one 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
> 1 ounce shredded mozarella cheese
> rosemary twigs, separated
> salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add lentils and vegetable broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add red peppers and canned tomatoes and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-9 baking pan and sprinkle cheese on top. Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from FitSugar.

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Spiced Chickpeas with Quinoa and Yogurt

Chickpeas are a staple in my kitchen. Just ask my roommate who found a drawer filled with nine cans of chickpeas after a Costco trip! Nonetheless, I’m always looking for new ways to cook with chickpeas. A classic go-to meal for me is roasted or steamed vegetables with chickpeas — simple yet flavorful and healthy. One night when I was in the mood for a dish with more texture and spice, I stumbled upon this recipe. This is a simple recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients. Plus it can be modified in many ways to satisfy your tastebuds.

Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients: 

> 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
> 1 large onion, finely chopped
> 3 large garlic cloves, minced
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
> 3 handfuls fresh spinach
> 1 cup water
> 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
> salt and freshly ground pepper
> 1 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

Instructions:

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, spinach and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and boil, uncovered, until the liquid is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve alone or over a cooked grain (I chose quinoa) and top with yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

I have always loved my mom’s veggie lasagna, filled with zucchini, tomato and a plethora of other colorful veggies. When I came across a recipe for veggie lasagna without noodles, I knew I had to try it out of curiosity. Aren’t noodles a defining factor of lasagna? While the end product was not comparable to my mom’s lasagna, it’s brilliant colors and perfect flavors make a wonderful warm meal.

The recipe was greatly adapted to accommodate for personal taste preferences and to play with some different flavors.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:

> 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 2 cans cremini mushrooms, drained, trimmed and sliced
> 5 cloves garlic, chopped
> 1 pound spinach
> 1 can cannellini beans, drained
> 1 can diced plum tomatoes, drained
> 6 ounces ricotta cheese (optional)
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat a small nonstick skillet over high heat, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add half the mushrooms, and saute, stirring occasionally  until mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and repeat with second half of mushrooms.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic and a dash of salt, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, and add 1/2 cup water. Add half of the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1 minutes. Add remaining spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted and tender.

Preheat oven to 375°. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to bottom of a 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Spread half tomatoes in baking dish, and top with half of spinach. Spread half of the beans over the spinach, and scatter evenly with three-quarters of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Continue layering with a third of the tomatoes, the remaining spinach, and a quarter of the beans. Spread the ricotta cheese, if desired. Repeat layering to finish off ingredients.

Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Turn on broiler, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna 3

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Imagine this: cookies baked without any flour that have the same delicious flavor as flour-baked cookies. For people who are intolerant or allergic to gluten or for people looking for decadent cookies, these gluten-free cookies are filled with peanut butter flavor and pieces of chocolate.

Don’t be scared when you read the ingredients because the combination makes the perfect cookie.

The recipe was taken from the Texanerin Baking blog.

~ 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas
~ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~ 1/2 cup peanut butter
~ 1/4 cup honey or agave
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse and pat dry the canned chickpeas.
2. Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to incorporate chunks of chickpeas. Process until combined.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on greased baking sheet. Leave in a ball or press down to form a flat cookie.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

The peanut butter component of these cookies distract you from the chickpeas included in these cookies. Instead of the normal flour-based peanut butter cookies, give these cookies with healthy fats a try!