Spinach Pesto

Having healthy go-to snacks is the only way to maintain a whole-foods diet when you feel like you’re constantly running to and fro. This spinach pesto is a wonderful snack with crackers or vegetables, and it also makes a great spread on sandwiches.

Spinach Pesto

Ingredients:

> 2 1/2 cups lightly packed spinach
> 1/3 cup walnuts
> 3 tablespoons lemon juice
> salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine spinach, walnuts and lemon juice. Pulse until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Adapted from YumSugar.

Warm Quinoa Salad: A Spinach & Cranberry Twist

Quinoa is a grain that I’ve loved ever since trying it about a year ago. Now, the fluffy round grain has become a staple in my diet — I can’t seem to get enough of the high-protein, gluten-free food that is a great substitute for rice, pasta and bread. Plus it’s much healthier than all those white grains. But when first diving into quinoa land, why make it so daunting to figure out what to eat it with? Pair it with veggies, meat, sauces, practically anything and it’ll taste delicious.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist 2

Here’s one rendition of a quinoa salad with a spinach and cranberry twist.

Ingredients:

> 2 cups cooked quinoa
> 3 generous handfuls of spinach
> 4 tablespoons dried cranberries
> extra virgin olive oil
> garlic salt
> ground pepper
> small lemon wedge

Instructions:

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet on low. Add the cooked quinoa and heat through. Add the spinach, and cook until begins to wilt. Season with garlic salt and ground pepper, and stir to mix. Just before serving, add dried cranberries, and squeeze lemon juice over dish.

Makes 2 servings.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist

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

Lentil Stew

After a cold windy day, the most satisfying meal is a hearty stew. Filled with protein and savory flavors, the lentils provide texture. With vegetable broth and water, the consistency can be made into a thinner soup or thicker stew.

Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

> 1 cup lentils, rinsed
> 2 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 1 chopped
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 cup chopped onion
> 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 cup vegetable broth
> 1 cup frozen spinach, dethawed
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Boil a medium saucepan of water. Add the lentils and whole garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until the lentils are tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.

Heat oil in another large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, under tender and lightly brown, 4-5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cumin, stirring until aromatic, about 1 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup broth and spinach and bring to a boil. Stir in reserved lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more broth and water to thin stew, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.