Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rotini and Black Bean Salad

From:  Pasta Salad Cookbook by Barbara Lauterbach

I followed this recipe but also varied it quite a bit.  I noted in blue writing what I did differently.  This is another salad that tastes better over time since the flavors get stronger.  Also, another good one to pack in my kids lunches.  I doubled the recipe when I made it so we'd have leftovers.

8 oz whole wheat/whole grain rotini pasta
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can black beans
1/2 c. cherry tomatos (I used roma tomatos)
1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. chopped green onion, white parts
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado
salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh cilantro (I used an entire bunch)

*First of all, I doubled the recipe above.  Then, I added 1 red bell pepper, 1 bunch cilantro (instead of 1 tbsp), 1 tsp cumin, several dashes cayenne pepper, & garlic salt to taste.  I also used more beans and corn than it called for. In addition, double the dressing recipe.  As the pasta sits, it absorbs the dressing.  You need to add more prior to serving.  I grilled chicken breast to put in the salad for the family members that eat chicken.  If I would've had fresh spinach, I would have put that in it as well.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on box.  Rinse with cold water and drain.  Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and garlic in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then, whisk oil in until dressing thickens.  Add beans, corn, onion, chives, cilantro, bell pepper, etc. to the pasta.  Pour dressing over pasta and toss.  Add cubed avocado to pasta and fold in.  Refrigerate at least an hour or longer before serving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kale Pesto Gnocchi

From:  The food Medic

*This is delicious!  Just be careful to not don't want mushy gnocchi!

1 package potato gnocchi (I buy the whole wheat gnocchi from Trader Joes)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup kale
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put the kale, garlic, and pine nuts on a pile on a cutting board.  Start chopping...continue chopping until everything is finely chopped (see picture 1).  In a bowl, add pesto mix, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Mix and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

In a pot of boiling salted water, add the package of gnocchi and boil over medium heat until they float...about 2 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  They get mushy and icky!  Drain, place back in pot and add the pesto mix.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quinoa Party Salad

From Clean Eating Magazine Nov/Dec 2011

This is a delicious and nutritious salad that will fill you up!  I'm always looking for quinoa recipes since quinoa is high in protein.  This is another salad that the family loved!

2 cups quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
juice 1 lime
1 tbsp ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 med red bell pepper, chopped
1 med orange bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste

Make the quinoa according to directions on package.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing:  in a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, cumin and pepper flakes until combined.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine corn, beans, bell peppers, jalapeno and cilantro.  Add quinoa and stir to combine.  Top with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  Serve cold or at room temp.

**The longer this sits the better the flavor.  You can make ahead!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Curried Chick Pea Salad

I will admit...I'm normally not a fan of curry.  I was hesitant to make this dish because it had curry spice in it.  However, I'm a huge chick pea fan so I thought I'd try it!  I'm glad I did!  This is a great dish.  It is very versatile.  Sometimes I eat it as is...other times I put it in a whole wheat pita stuffed with uncooked spinach and the salad.  It is also great to eat with whole grain pita chips.  This one is worth making!

2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil (I used half this amount)
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted (I dry toasted them in a saute pan)
2 cans cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (I used cilantro)

mixed greens, spinach, pita chips (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, curry powder, maple syrup and salt.  Add raisins, cumin, chickpeas, bell pepper, onion and cilantro and toss to combine.  Spoon chickpea mixture over salad, serve with pita chips, or put in whole grain pita.