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Vegan Pepita Pesto

Vegan Pepita Pesto

I’m quite frankly OBSESSED with pesto. I will literally eat it on everything. Ok, maybe not everything but I will say it is most certainly an accessory on my buddha bowls, my breakfast toasts, or my pesto pasta dinner dishes. I love pesto because it instantly brings your meal from 0 to 10 in my opinion. It has the powerful flavors of garlic and basil. It’s a bit salty, slightly cheesy, and definitely zesty! I always say you can EASILY take a dull salad and add a flavorful sauce or dressing to take it up a notch and actually create a dish you’re looking forward to eating!

Try this quick & easy VEGAN pesto sauce / Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil (tightly packed) / 1 cup fresh spinach (tightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pepita (pumpkin) seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast (vegan replacement for a cheesy flavor – PS this acts as a antibacterial immune-booster!)
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves (I like my pesto EXTRA garlicky)
  • a few parsley leaves (optional – I had fresh ones on hand!)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Add a huge dollop of pesto on your buddha bowl or salad!
Here’s why pesto is SO simple. All you need is a somewhat decent food processor! (If you don’t own a food processor – It’s 100% a worthwhile purchase – so many possibilities with one)! Add all above ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to blend for 30 seconds – 1 min and then take a spoon and push ingredients down along the side to ensure it’s all captured & well blended! You can store the pesto in the fridge – It’ll typically keep up for up to 5 days or you can store it in the freezer and pull out for future use.

PS – this pesto is a bit thick. If you’re looking to use it as a dressing, you can add more water or lemon juice into the mix and whisk until it’s reached the desired consistency.

Make your own Grain Bowl

Make your own Grain Bowl

As we were exploring the streets of Boston a few weekends ago, passing numerous fast-casual health restaurants, we noticed one common theme on the menu – grain bowls. Of course, there’s always been hype around grain bowls in the past, but now more than ever, it seems as though every restaurant is jumping on that bandwagon. So what’s the craze over grain bowls anyway?
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– They’re versatile and customizable! Who doesn’t enjoy building your own bowl?!
– They keep you full. You have a balanced mix of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins which help to curb your appetite throughout the day.
– INCREDIBLY tasty source for all your necessary veggies and nutrients.

If you’re sold on the concept, why not start by trying this weeks spin on my grain bowl? I was inspired by the local and in-season veggies I stumbled upon at the farmers market. I bought a few items based on what looked the tastiest then built on the “grain bowl” from there! This is the best way to switch it up each week, while staying inspired by what’s fresh and local!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bulks of Bok-Choy
  • 1 bulk of Tuscan Kale
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini (365 Whole Foods brand is great)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 zucchinis
  • Coconut Oil
  • Z’atar spice, pinch of salt & black pepper

Ingredients for the Baked Falafel:

  • 2 cans of organic, no-salt added garbanzo beans (well rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 squeezed lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp of z’atar spice
  • 1 -2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp of dried dill
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini
  • 2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup of chickpea flour

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Directions:

Start by preheating your oven to ~ 415 degrees. Next, coat 2 baking sheets in coconut oil. Add your chopped bell peppers, zucchini, and cauliflower to the baking sheets. Coat them in a little bit of EVOO or coconut oil and top with some z’atar spice, salt & black pepper. Place in oven and let cook for ~ 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on these as they’ll cook fast. I prefer mine slightly charred, but they should be good after 15 minutes in the oven!

Once you get your veggies in the oven, bring a pot of water (2 cups of water) w/ 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, you can let that simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Once the quinoa is ready, stir in your lemon tahini for flavoring.

After you’ve setup you quinoa, you can then move onto preparing your falafel. You’ll add your garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, bunch of parsley, salt, black pepper, cumin, dill, and z’atar spice. Blend this well until it reaches a smooth, yet chunky consistency. Transfer this to a bowl and layer in your chickpea flour. This should reach a doughy texture – feel free to add more flour if needed. Once your roasted veggies are done, reset your oven to 375 degrees. Next, you’ll spray a baking sheet with olive oil and form small balls or patties. Bake the patties in the oven ~ 15-20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, turn the oven to broil and let them reach a golden brown (make sure to keep an eye on these – they cook FAST)!

Lastly, while your falafel patties are cooking, saute your minced garlic, olive oil, kale, and bok-choy until well done (5-10 minutes needed).

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Now that you have all your ingredients, layer in a large bowl your quinoa, sauteed greens, roasted veggies, and 3-4 falafel patties. This portion should be served warm. If you plan on eating the next day or save this for the week, heat up in microwave for about 2 minutes in a pyrex glass bowl. Then top with optional toppings such as avocado, shredded carrots, different variations of hummus (I chose to go with beet & kale pesto), and finally add in some crunch with Mary’s Gone Crackers (black pepper is my fave flavor)!

Enjoy!!

New Summer Recipes – Perfect Way to Enjoy the End to this Heat Wave!

New Summer Recipes – Perfect Way to Enjoy the End to this Heat Wave!

For those of you who are not yet familiar with my blog and for those who are, I’m from New England and unfortunately have been suffering along with everyone else here in this record long heat wave. Granted, I’m a HUGE fan of the summer, absolutely love the sun, beach, and sand blah blah blah. But honestly, when it’s 95+ degrees out and feels like 110, it pretty much is miserable trying to attempt anything outdoors in that treacherous heat. Where’s the fun in summer when you’re stuck inside sprawled on the ground next to your air conditioning vent?? (Side note: no joke, my dog’s way of dealing with this heat is to literally find any air conditioning vent in the house and just lay right on top of it. I don’t think he could have found anymore of an efficient way to cool off than that!) Anyway, getting side tracked here! What I mean to say is that, when in doubt, EAT. Food seriously solves everything, especially when it’s a refreshing summer meal utilizing fresh fruits and veggies! There’s really no better way to cool off!

For Breakfast, try this! Lately I’m ALL about the sweet omelets instead of savory!

Berry-ful Zesty Sweet Omelete:
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What You’ll Need:
-3 Egg Whites
-1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder
-1.5 TBSP of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
-1 TSP of Vanilla Extract
-1 banana
-Cinnamon
-1 to 2 tsp of fresh orange zest (just use a zester or an apple peeler against the skin of a freshly washed orange)
-Strawberries and bananas

— Cook on a pan like a normal omelet using coconut oil. Pour mixture (without the fruit) into pan. Then once the omelet is beginning to form and almost read to flip in half, fold in 1/2 the sliced banana. Cook until lightly browned on both sides. Top with more banana and berries. Enjoy!

Sweet Choco-Nana Protein Omelet:
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What You’ll Need:
-2 egg whites
-1 egg
-1/2 scoop of chocolate whey protein
-2 tsp of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 tsp of vanilla
-cinnamon
-1 banana
-Mango, strawberries
-Plain Chobani Yogurt (mix 1 tsp of vanilla extract and cinnamon)

-Cook identical to the first sweet omelet recipe. You can add 1-2 tbsp of the chobani into the mixture while cooking as well, then place the rest on top when the omelet is complete to act as a “syrup”.

Kale & Spinach Quinoa Salad w/ Sesame Baked Chicken:
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What You’ll Need:
For the Chicken — Rub chicken in a little bit of sesame oil, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Bake on 375 degrees in oven until white in the middle.
-Kale
-Spinach
-Strawberries
-Sliced Almonds
-Honey Roasted Pecans (these are store bought, but if you have time, make your own!)
-Avocado
-Feta Cheese
-Whole Grain Quinoa (1/4 cup dried)
For the Dressing — Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Cinnamon

— Let salad chill for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potato w/ Kale, Corn, and Black Beans:
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What You’ll Need:
-1 sweet potato (cut in half, then cook until soft in microwave, time can range from 5 mins-8 mins)
In a pan…
-2-3 cups dry kale
-2 tbsp of yellow onion diced
-1/4 cup of cherry tomatoes
-1/4 cup of black beans
-1/4 cup of cooked corn
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 tbsp)
-Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Rosemary

— Sautee all ingredients in a large sauce pan, beginning with the onion, then kale, then tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Serve over warm sweet potato.

Spaghetti Squash and a Homemade Mushroom & Ground Turkey Meat Sauce:
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What You’ll Need:
~1 Whole Spaghetti Squash (found this by the Potatoes in Whole Foods!)
~2 small can of 365 organic tomato sauce
~1 can of diced tomatoes unsalted
~3 Tablespoons approx. of sliced yellow onion
~2 Garlic clove finally chopped
~1/2 Tablespoon of White Cooking Wine
~Fresh Basil (5 leaves)
~1 cup of chopped mushrooms
~1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
~Spices (Basil, Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Pepper, & Salt) add for taste

So, I found it was easiest to cut my spaghetti squash in half and then place both halves in the microwave for about 4-6 minutes. Similar to potatoes, they’re quite tough to slice, so I basically cooked the majority of it in the microwave, then took it out, scooped out the seedy middle part. Once the seeds are scooped out, I used a fork and basically just began peeling out the “spaghetti” looking insides of the squash. I then placed all of this on a lightly sprayed Olive Oil tin try to place in the oven. I then put it in the oven on about 350 degrees. Make sure to keep an eye on this and then take it out after about 5-10 mins.

Separately, I used about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a small sauté pan and added my garlic, then the onion and finally the ground turkey meal. After about 5-10 minutes, you’ll see the meat darken. Take off of heat once all the turkey meat is cooked. In a separate pot, toss in the cans of sauce and tomatoes. Add the mushrooms, basil, the rest of my spices and the wine to the sauce and let that sit on low heat for a bit. I then added the turkey meat to the tomato sauce in a separate small pot, let sizzle for about 10 mins.

Once the squash has cooked according to the above time and temperature, take out of oven and layer with the sauce.

~~ That’s all for today! Enjoy the end of the heat wave with these refreshing summer meals and be sure to check out my instagram @Eatrunandallinbetween for my daily meal postings! 🙂


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