Meatless Monday – 25 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

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Happy Monday!  I spent the weekend in Seattle surrounded by family and friends to celebrate the life of my beautiful Mother.  I flew home last night with my heart full of happy memories and my suitcase full of sweet potatoes compliments of my brother, Paul.  Paul and his wife, Barbara, own Paradisos del Sol Winery in Zillah, part of Washington’s wine country (They have quite a unique wine tasting room, so check it out if you are in the area) AND they have quite a large vegetable garden.  In addition to delicious wine, Paul brought up a huge box of sweet potatoes for all of us to take home.  I didn’t get a proper photo of some of the ‘monster potatoes’ he grew. They really needed to be seen to be believed. I only took a few of the smaller ones that would fit in my suitcase.  So, I took to Google to figure out what I was going to make with Paul’s sweet potatoes and came across this article by Benjamin Placket for Health.com. He has some really great mostly vegetarian recipes for sweet potato soups, fries, salads, mashed and baked – even a noodle kugel!  I will be making one of these recipes tonight, so stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog post…

“It’s no surprise that sweet potatoes are at the top of nearly everyone’s healthiest foods list. One baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438% of your daily value of vitamin A (a white potato contains 1%), 37% of your vitamin C, and some calcium, potassium, and iron too. All this at just 105 calories!

What’s more, they also deliver 4 grams of dietary fiber—16% of the daily value—and absolutely zip in terms of fat.

And luckily there are many ways to whip them up. Here are 25 great (even kid-friendly!) sweet potato recipes from Health.com.”

Just click the link below.

25 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

Coconut Curry Fish with Red Ginger Rice

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Seafood is good for us, or is it?  Those that have been following Goodmotherdiet know that I care about our food and where it comes from, both from an agricultural and an animal standpoint.  I am not alone in thinking this is important for our health and the health of our planet which we share with all animals.   So, I am excited to announce that I have recently partnered with The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project, whose goal is to bring food bloggers together in a conversation about sustainability, and to provide resources for sustainable seafood to bloggers and readers alike.  Here is what the Sustainable Seafood Blog Project has to say about seafood:

It can be daunting to wade through all of the information out there about what we should be eating. Between fad diets, sale prices, ambiguous terms like “natural” or “safe”, and convoluted ingredient labels, “good” and “bad” food have fallen into an ever-expanding grey area. When it comes to seafood, it can be even more difficult to discern what the “right” purchases are. Many times, the public is unaware of the plight facing our world’s oceans.

The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project

Some of our seafood is unsafe to eat due to farming practices and/or polluted water and other species are at risk of extinction due to overfishing. Luckily, we don’t have to research everything ourselves, as others have already taken on that challenge.  Seafood Watch has also partnered with this project to provide more information on the sustainability of our seafood.  I have long relied on  Seafood Watch for guidance while in the grocery store on which fish or shrimp is “Best Choice”, “Good Alternative” or “Avoid”.  It’s easy – just click on the website and type in the name of the seafood you are contemplating and you will get an instant, informed response.  Here is their recommendation from March,2014, but check the site as a few things may have changed since then.

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Photo Credit: Seafood Watch

 

For my techie friends, here are the apps for easy access:

Monterey Bay Seafood Watch App for iPhone

Monterey Bay Seafood Watch App for Android

Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Online Buyer’s Guide

So join the conversation!  Check out the The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project for more information.  Click on their Shopping and Dining Guide for a state by state listing of good seafood sources.  For more delicious sustainable seafood recipes, check out the other bloggers who are also new partners with the Sustainable Seafood Blog:

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So the way I see it, we can still enjoy seafood as long as we make good, informed purchases.  As your Mother used to tell you, “Make good choices.”  How does Coconut Curry Fish with Red Ginger Rice sound?  I love coconut curry with almost anything but I have never made it for fish.  I created this curry with red curry paste which is warm and mildly spicy rather than green, which is very spicy and I thought it might overpower a delicate fish. I used Pacific Cod (live-caught in the U.S.) which is considered ‘Best Choice’ by Seafood Watch. Cod is a light, white fish that is adaptable to many recipes, however other good choices might be halibut, rockfish and salmon.  This red curry sauce is so tasty you will want to serve the fish on something to soak it up.  I really like it with red or black rice, both of which are dense and chewy but brown rice would be another good choice.  The red bell pepper and snow peas add color and interest.  Other veggies to consider would be zucchini, carrots or green bell pepper.  I love a color contrast.
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TIPS:  I like really spicy food so I added red pepper flakes.  For a milder dish, leave them out and use less curry powder, or turn them both up for even more heat.  In making ginger rice, I add a one inch piece of fresh peeled ginger to the water as it’s cooking and then remove it before serving.  This is an optional step but it adds a nice gingery flavor to the rice without too much extra work.
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COCONUT CURRY FISH WITH RED GINGER RICE

2 lbs fresh boneless, skinless, mild fish (halibut, cod, rockfish or salmon)
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsn fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp ginger paste (or fresh ginger, finely minced)
2 Tbsn red curry paste
1-2 tsp curry powder (preferably Madras)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice
1 cup red, black or brown long grained rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1″ piece fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger paste)

Optional Veggies:  1 red bell pepper and 20 sugar snap or snow peas

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  • Cook rice according to instructions using vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor.  Throw in a piece of peeled ginger but remove before serving

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  • Rinse and dry fish and place it in a baking dish in a single layer

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  • Combine coconut milk, fish sauce, curry powder and paste, garlic, red pepper flakes and lime juice in a small bowl.

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  • Pour coconut curry sauce over fish and lift each piece to allow sauce to cover the underside. Bake fish at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes.

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  • While fish is cooking, slice red bell pepper and sugar snap peas into thick julienne and saute in olive oil, with salt and pepper and a minced clove of garlic on medium heat 4 or 5 minutes or until softened but still al dente and brightly colored. Remove from heat.

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  • Spoon sauce over the fish and broil for another 5 minutes.  Fish should be opaque in the center and the sections beginning to pull apart.

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  • To serve, place fish on a bed of rice, spoon sauce over the top and dress with veggies.

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Coconut Curry Fish with Red Ginger Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 lbs fresh boneless, skinless, mild fish (halibut, cod, rockfish or salmon)
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsn fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp ginger paste (or fresh ginger, finely minced)
2 Tbsn red curry paste
1-2 tsp curry powder (preferably Madras)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice
1 cup red, black or brown long grained rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1″ piece fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger paste)

Optional Veggies:  1 red bell pepper and 20 sugar snap or snow peas

  • Rinse and dry fish and place it in a baking dish in a single layer
  • Combine coconut milk, fish sauce, curry powder and paste, garlic, red pepper flakes and lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Pour coconut curry sauce over fish and lift each piece to allow sauce to cover the underside.
  • Cook rice according to instructions using vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor.  Throw in a piece of peeled garlic but remove before serving.
  • Bake fish at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes.
  • While fish is cooking, slice red bell pepper and sugar snap peas into a thick julienne and saute in olive oil, with salt and pepper and a minced clove of garlic on medium heat 4 or 5 minutes or until softened but still al dente and brightly colored. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon sauce over the fish and broil for another 5 minutes.  Fish should be opaque in the center and the sections beginning to pull apart.
  • To serve, place fish on a bed of rice, spoon sauce over the top and dress with veggies.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

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If you are throwing away your carrot tops, you need to Stop-Right-Now!   Sorry Zuber chickens.  Usually my feathered friends next door get all the odds and ends from my kitchen and would normally get my carrot tops too, except that in the spirit of ‘no waste’, I decided to try to use the tops as well since I know they are as nutritious as the carrots. I was looking for a recipe for carrot tops and came across this one for roasted carrots with pesto in Bon Appetit.  I had these lovely carrots which truly exemplify the concept of “Eat the Rainbow”.  They range in color from almost white to dark purple with many shades of yellow, orange and red in between.  Who says carrots are boring?  Roasting them intensifies their flavor, making them rich and creamy, no resemblance to their watery boiled or steamed versions.  As a bonus, with each colorful bite you get a different dose of vitamins.

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Here is what Rainbow Carrots can do for you:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

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Topped with the delicious pesto made right from the carrot tops themselves, these roasted carrots are heavenly.  The pesto is good enough to go out an buy the carrot tops and forget the carrots!  Who knew? If you are looking for a sweeter, more caramelized carrot recipe, you may like my Maple Citrus Glazed Carrots which are pretty delicious and totally worth  a try.  To make the roasted carrots a main course, just slice up the carrots and toss them along with a big dollop of pesto with hot pasta.  I actually had that as a lovely lunch.  I had one leftover carrot (a regular orange one for sure as everyone was enamored with the exotically colored carrots) and some pesto which was still bright green the next day.

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I tossed them all together – yum!  So simple but delicious! It would have been prettier with some multi colored carrots but those were long gone.

 

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TIPS: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill. Carrots can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.  Unless your carrots are older with tough skins, scrub them with a kitchen sponge with a scour pad instead of peeling as so many of the vitamins rest at or under the skin.  If you want to roast carrots that don’t have tops to make pesto, try adding cumin or other spices to jazz them up a bit.

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ROASTED CARROTS WITH CARROT TOP PESTO

2-3 lbs whole carrots with tops
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil

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  • Preheat oven to 400°. Trim carrot tops, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem attached. Measure out 2 cups carrot top leaves and set aside.Discard stems. Scrub carrots with a kitchen sponge with a scour pad instead of peeling.

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  • Toss carrots and vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.

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  • Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are golden brown and tender, 25–35 minutes.

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  • Pulse garlic and nuts in a food processor until a coarse paste forms.

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  • Add basil, parmesan, and reserved carrot tops; process until even.

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  • Add olive oil and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over carrots to serve.

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Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2-3 lbs whole carrots with tops
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Trim carrot tops, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem attached. Measure out 2 cups carrot top leaves and set aside.Discard stems. Scrub carrots with a kitchen spunge with a scour pad.
  • Toss carrots and vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are golden brown and tender, 25–35 minutes. Let cool.
  • Pulse garlic and nuts in a food processor until a coarse paste forms.
  • Add basil, parmesan, and reserved carrot tops; process until a coarse purße forms.
  • Add olive oil and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over carrots to serve.

Wheatless Wednesday – Vegetarian Tom Kha Soup

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Time for soup… It’s raining!  Our parched flowers and trees are enjoying a much-needed drink of water but for those of us indoors, the weather is gray and gloomy.  Throw in with last night’s storm which was quite a doozy, complete with lightning and thunder, also known as nature’s fireworks, and just like that, winter is here.  I think the only remedy for this wet weather is a hot and spicy bowl of soup to warm us up from the inside out.  Over the last couple of weeks I have travelled from warm and sunny California to unseasonably cold and rainy Virginia, on to warm and balmy Exuma and Florida, then crisp and snowy Maine before coming back to a wet and gray California. Perhaps my laptop dislikes airports and so many changes of venue because it died.  I first lost my mouse but not the touch screen (thankfully) but then, in complete protest, my laptop went on strike, refusing to go on.  So my last three posts (including this one) have been on borrowed computers, which means I’m back to the dark ages of figuring out how to upload photos and use my widgets so be forgiving.  I’m staying put for a while and hopefully, after a visit with a computer technician, my  laptop will forgive me so we can get back to work.

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Last night, at the beginning of the storm, I decided to make a vegetarian Tom Kha soup, which is one of my son, Eric’s specialties.  Tom Kha Gai, the most traditional of Thai soups, is made of chicken (Gai) cooked (Tom) in coconut milk which has been infused with galangal (Kha), lemongrass, and often, kaffir lime leaves. There are other versions of tom kha but these seem to be the most common; made with seafood (tom kha thale), mushrooms (tom kha het), pork (tom kha mu) and tofu (tom kha taohu).  Now you’ll think of me next time you’re looking at a Thai menu.  I wanted to make a vegetarian version, so I substituted mushrooms for the chicken which technically makes this soup Tom Kha Het, however, if you want a boost of protein, you can also add cubes of extra firm tofu and then you will be eating Tom Kha Taohu.  This particular recipe, as are most of Eric’s recipes, is not written down anywhere and resides as memories of past soups in his head (like mother like son).  So, knowing the basic ingredients, we went to work and came up with a delicious and fairly easy Tom Kha Het which is easy to adapt to what you have on hand.

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TIP:  I used the last of the cayenne peppers which I collected from my drenched and bedraggled garden.  They were pretty waterlogged and not as spicy as I would have liked, so I added two dried bird’s eye peppers (which can be found in supermarkets in the Asian food aisle) which I crushed with my wooden spoon before adding to give it the proper kick. The galangal root, lemon grass and hot peppers are added to infuse the broth with flavor so make sure you let it simmer long enough for the flavors to develop.  In slicing the galangal root and lemon grass, slice them in large pieces to make it easier for the diner to pick out, as they are very woody and not really eaten. You can also strain them out before serving but I think they add character. Only the truly fearless eat the hot peppers (unless you slice them into thin circles).  If you want them  hotter, slice each one down the middle but still leave intact. If you can’t find galangal substitute fresh ginger root.  There is no good substitute for lemongrass but sometimes it’s available as a paste or spice. For a vegan version, omit the fish sauce. I added baby corn to add fullness to the soup but it can be omitted or substituted with any vegetable that sounds good to you. Serve with cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and Sriracha for additional kick.

VEGETARIAN TOM KHA

2 16 oz cans coconut milk
3-4 cups vegetable broth (depending on desired thickness)
1 stalk lemongrass Use only the bottom white part (about 6 inches of the stalk part) and discard the woody grass part. With a flat edge, pound and mash the lemongrass so it releases the flavor. Cut into 2 inch segments.
4-5 slices of fresh galangal or gingerroot (about a 1 inch piece)
1 yellow onion
1 red serrano or jalapeno pepper (thinly sliced) or5-6 tiny whole cayenne or other small red pepper (or dried bird’s eye peppers)
1-2 cups mushrooms (button, baby bella or cremini)
1 cup whole baby corn(optional)
1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1-2 fresh limes (1 – 2 Tbsn to taste)
1 Tbsn sugar
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on the saltiness of the broth)
Cilantro and Sriracha (optional)

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  • Chop the onion into large pieces and slice the galangal into thin rounds.  Lightly pound the stalk of lemongrass and slice into 1 or  2 inch pieces, slicing on the diagonal to release the most flavor.

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  • In a large soup pot, saute the onion in 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil until softened. Add the galangal, lemon grass and hot peppers and saute a few more minutes.

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  • Pour in vegetable broth and coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, salt and fish sauce, if using and let simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb into the broth.
  • Adjust seasonings, if necessary. If it’s not spicy enough, slice open the peppers and/or add a couple of crushed dried birds eye chilis.  If it’s too spicy, remove some of the peppers from the soup. You can either strain all the solids out of the soup or leave them in for added interest.  Add corn and mushroom and cook another 10 minutes.

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  • Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce, if desired.

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Vegetarian Tom Kha

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 16 oz cans coconut milk
3-4 cups vegetable broth (depending on desired thickness)
1 stalk lemongrass Use only the bottom white part (about 6 inches of the stalk part) and discard the woody grass part. With a flat edge, pound and mash the lemongrass so it releases the flavor. Cut into 2 inch segments.
4-5 slices of fresh galangal or gingerroot (about a 1 inch piece)
1 yellow onion
1 red serrano or jalapeno pepper (thinly sliced) or5-6 tiny whole cayenne or other small red pepper (or dried bird’s eye peppers)
1-2 cups mushrooms (button, baby bella or cremini)
1 cup whole baby corn(optional)
1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1-2 fresh limes (1 – 2 Tbsn to taste)
1 Tbsn sugar
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on the saltiness of the broth)
Cilantro and Sriracha (optional)

  • Chop the onion into large pieces and slice the galangal into thin rounds.  Lightly pound the stalk of lemongrass and slice into 1 or  2 inch pieces, slicing on the diagonal to release the most flavor.
  • In a large soup pot, saute the onion in 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil until softened.
  • Add the galangal, lemon grass and hot peppers and saute a few more minutes.
  • Pour in vegetable broth and coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, salt and fish sauce, if using and let simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb into the broth.
  • Adjust seasonings, if necessary. If it’s not spicy enough, slice open the peppers and/or add a couple of crushed dried birds eye chilis.  If it’s too spicy, remove some of the peppers from the soup. You can either strain all the solids out of the soup or leave them in for added interest.  Add corn and mushroom and cook another 10 minutes.
  • Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce, if desired.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Quinoa Crust Pizza with Goat Cheese, Meyer Lemon and Basil

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QUINOA CRUST PIZZA – YOU HAD ME AT PIZZA!  Those that have been following GMD, know that I am in constant search of great pizza recipes, especially those whose ingredients stretch conventional thinking (read not white flour). My Meyer Lemon tree outside is still loaded with lemons and I now have two pounds of freshly made goat cheese (click HERE to learn how to make goat cheese which is surprisingly easy), so when I saw this recipe from Cafe Johnsonia using quinoa instead of white flour for the crust, I knew we had a new Wheatless Wednesday contender.  The quinoa crust is fantastic!  I really like it and will make it again and again.  Its less heavy than a cornmeal crust and has a great consistency.  In fact, I experimented with thick vs thin crust and think this recipe would also make a great cracker, so you may be seeing Quinoa Crackers in a post coming soon.

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You could top this pizza crust with your favorite toppings if lemon and goat cheese are not your thing.   It will hold up well, even with wet toppings like tomato sauce or heavy cheeses.   The combination of tangy goat cheese and tart meyer lemon, topped with fresh basil and shallots is a wonderful explosion of flavors.  If you want the same flavor combination but a less intense version, substitute strips of lemon zest in place of the lemons.  My favorite variation includes thinly sliced zucchini circles, garlic and lemon zest cooked with the lemon goat cheese, then topped with fresh basil, shallots (or scallions) and a handful of arugula.  Delish!

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Quinoa is one of the reigning superfoods, but do you know why?  According to Forbes, quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods available and has twice as much fiber as other grains.  It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B2 and gluten free.  Making a crust out of quinoa is not only way more nutritious than one out of white flour, it is easier as it doesn’t have to rise or be handled in any way.  The quinoa does have to soak for 8 hours or overnight but other than that, it only takes about 45 minutes and the prep is easy. For those that also like alternative pizzas, check out some others I have done in the past with good results:

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Margherita and Pesto Chicken Pizzas on White Whole Wheat Crust
Zucchini Crust Pizza with Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper

 

Quinoa Crust Pizza with Goat Cheese, Meyer Lemon and Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 cup quinoa
water, for soaking and blending
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or another high-heat oil)
5-6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1 Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced (seeds removed)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, thinly sliced
small handful fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 Tablespoons pine nuts ( toasted)
coarse ground black pepper
coarse sea salt
olive oil, for drizzling(optional)

  • Place quinoa in a medium bowl and cover with water by several inches. Let stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drain the pre-soaked quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well to remove the bitter saponins (a naturally occurring residue). Place in a food processor or blender with a little water (about ¼ cup), garlic clove, and salt. Puree until smooth. Add more water if needed. The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter but still pourable.
  • Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the hot oven. Allow to heat for 5-10 minutes. Carefully add the 2 Tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven carefully. Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the hot oil. Make sure pan and oil are hot or quinoa will stick.

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  • Pour the batter into the center of the pan and tilt it to create an even layer on the bottom. Place back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven, turn crust over, and place back in oven for another 10. Remove from oven and transfer the crust to a pizza pan, if desired. (At this point you can also place it on a cooling rack and let it cool completely, then prepare the pizza at a later time.)
  •  Mix the goat cheese with the lemon juice. If the cheese is very crumbly, add a little milk or water to make it spreadable.

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  • Spread the cheese evenly over the crust. Layer the Meyer lemons evenly over the cheese.
  • Place in the 450 degree oven and let bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned golden, and the lemons are tender. (For a crispy top, place under the broiler for a few minutes.)
  • Remove from oven and top with the remaining toppings. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • MY FAVORITE VARIATION:  For a less lemon intense pizza, replace lemon slices with lemon zest,  thin zucchini circles, and add a clove or two of garlic, that has been thinly sliced.  After cooking add a handful of arugula on top of the other ingredients.  Yum!

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Wheatless Wednesday- Dhal Lentil Soup with Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes

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Red Lentil Soup with Quinoa  Cauliflower Cakes

I have an ongoing love affair with lentils which come in various colors and sizes.  I’m not picky.  My favorites are the French Green and the Black Beluga, both which hold their shape and don’t turn to mush unless you overcook them. I use them often for salads or side dishes.   I have opted to use Red Lentils which are traditional for this dish. Red lentils are softer and do get mushy which works well with soup.  The original recipe calls a lot of coconut milk.  I don’t want the extra calories so substituted vegetable broth for two-thirds of the liquid.

Dhal is usually served with rice but since its Wheatless Wednesday, I have decided to get more creative and have paired the soup with Quinoa & Cauliflower Cakes.  Since the quinoa cake recipe calls for only half the cauliflower, I thought it would be interesting to add the rest of the cauliflower to the soup, so we get cauliflower (one of my other current loves) two ways.

I got the idea for the Dhal and the Quinoa & Cauliflower Cakes from the ‘Vegetarian Everyday’ cookbook, which is also where I got the cauliflower pizza crust so I had high hopes. I did a test run of the cakes recipe over the weekend while my college boys were still home.  They were quite a hit, very tasty and a great use for leftover quinoa (although other grains would probably work too). This is not a carb free recipe, although they are all good carbs.  The oats are high in fiber and rich in antioxidants, and the quinoa is high in protein, magnesium, iron and calcium and its gluten free. Gluten free oats are available as a gluten free alternative. The quinoa needs to be rinsed before cooking to wash off the saponin powder which is a naturally occurring protectant to make the seeds unpalatable to birds.  Rinse until the water is clear and use a fine mesh colander as the seeds are pretty small and you will lose them down the drain.

The recipe also calls for ramps, which are a type of wild garlic usually only available in spring or summer.  I remember buying ramps at a farmer’s market in Maine last summer but didn’t really know what to do with them.  I think I added them to sautéed vegetables.  They are fresh and mild, not sharp like regular garlic.  I was unable to find ramps here in December so substituted spinach and garlic. My taste testers all agreed that the cakes would be even better with a sauce, so I paired the leftovers with a homemade Tzatziki sauce and brought them to a Niners game the next day where every last crumb was devoured.  They were just as good the next day, warmed up in the oven.  The yield is large so feel free to cut the recipe in half.

Dhal Red Lentil Soup

½ Tbsn coriander seeds or ground coriander

½ tsp mustard seeds or ground mustard

½ tsp cardamom seeds or ground cardamom

2 teaspoons curry powder

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp  ground ginger

¼ tsp chili powder

6 dried apricots, chopped

1-2 cups vegetable stock

1 can coconut milk

1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed

3 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

 

2 carrots, sliced

½ -1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

Handful of fresh spinach

 

  • If you are using whole seeds, crush them into a powder with a mortar and pestle.  Combine the spices and the apricot into a small bowl.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice mix and saute, stir continuously, until its fragrant.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
  • Add the cauliflower and carrots and stir to coat. Then add the lentils and broth.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. If you want it a bit spicier add red curry paste and/or red pepper flakes to taste.  Just before serving add spinach and stir to combine.

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Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dhal Lentil Sou[p

Quinoa Cauliflower Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce

(Makes 12 large or 24 small cakes)

1 cup quinoa

1 2/3 cups cauliflower florets

1 large handful wild garlic or ramps (or 1 cup fresh spinach cut into ribbons and 2 cloves garlic, minced)

4 large eggs

1 1.3 cups crumbled feta cheese

¾ cup rolled oats

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp coconut, avocado or olive oil for frying

 

  • Combine 2 ¼ cups water, the quinoa and a pinch of salt in a medium sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes or until you see small tails (the germ) on the quinoa seeds.  Drain any excess water and set aside to cool.
  • Place cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it is a rice-like texture.  Transfer to a bowl and add the quinoa, beaten eggs, ramps (or spinach and garlic), feta, oats and salt and pepper.  Stir until well combined.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Form the mixture into 12 patties with your hands.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.  Add 4 patties at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.  Flip carefully and brown the other side a few more minutes.  Continue until all patties are cooked. Drain on paper towels.

Spinach ribbons
TIp:  An easy way to cut spinach is to stack the leaves and slice widthwise into thin ribbons.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 16oz container plain non-fat yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 Tbsn olive oil

1 Tbsn lemon juice

1-2 tsp fresh dill

2 cloves garlic

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it’s watery or too sour for your taste, add a bit of mayonnaise which will thicken it up and offset the sour.Tzatziki can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator several days.