Top 13 Healthy Recipes of 2013

Goodness. This week has been a crazy one! Would you believe that I just started my Christmas shopping?! Yeah… I need to get better about that next year! Anyways, today I thought I would share my favorite recipes from the blog over the last year. Some of these recipes we have made a several times since I’ve posted them! Feel free to try them and add any of these dishes to your regular meal rotation – especially those looking to start off the new year on a healthier note. Since they are all healthy (ie. Dietitian approved) you can’t lose!

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Vegan Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash and Kale

Peppermint Macaroons 3

Dark Chocolate Mint Macaroons

Larabar in Jar

Homemade Larabar in a Jar

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Vegan Sweet and Sour Tempeh Kale Stir-Fry

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Overnight Chia Oats

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Superfood Bowl with Spicy Kale and Tempeh

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

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Spicy Tofu Curry

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Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

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Harvest Hot Toddy

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Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

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Pomegranate, Walnut, and Squash Salad

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Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

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Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

Happy Tuesday Friends! Today, I wanted to share this scrumptious fall/winter salad with you. This salad could easily be a healthy, colorful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. Who said all Thanksgiving dishes have to be laden in tons of calories?! Do you ever add fruit to your salads? I have made salads in the past with apple, cranberries, and pear; but I’ve been wanting to try pomegranate! Oh. my. goodness. Who knew they were such a delicious addition?! I love the mixture of the tart-sweet pomegranate arils with the buttery squash and tangy vinaigrette.

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Pomegranate Salad

Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups spring mix
  • 1/2 cubed, roasted butternut squash
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Cheddar cheese – to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix vinaigrette ingredients (vinegar to salt/pepper) together.
  2. Toss with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until lettuce is coated. Serve!

Pinning My Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner!

Are you all ready for Thanksgiving this week?! I can’t believe the holidays are already here.  In case you are still looking for a few ideas, or perhaps you have no idea what to serve a vegetarian guest, I have a few recipes to share with you! (Or maybe I’m the only procrastinator here!) As I was looking for recipe inspiration, I found myself searching Pinterest – with a bit of luck! You can find so many wonderful recipes and decorating inspiration – I could spend hours on the site. Below are a few of my favorite, or if you want more vegetarian friendly feast ideas, check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board! Click on any of the pinned images below to head to the recipe.

stuffed eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant from ME!

vegetable pot pie

Vegetarian Potpie from A Beautiful Mess

wheatberry salad

Ultimate Fall Wheatberry Salad from Kath Eats

green bean casserole

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions from Smitten Kitchen

sweet potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans from Oh My Veggies

pumpkin trifle

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles from My Baking Addiction

pear chai tarts

Pumpkin Chai Tarts from Delicious Knowledge

Cheesy Quinoa with Kale and Roasted Squash

Happy Veterans Day! So incredibly thankful for those who have served to protect our country. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to give back by working to make our Veterans healthier each day at a Veterans Affairs Hospital. To kick start the week, I just wanted to share this quick recipe with you today. Since we had a snowy day here in Chicago, I was craving a filling, warm lunch. So, I made up a batch of this cheesy quinoa with kale and roasted squash – all of my favorite foods melded together in one delicious dish. To make prep a little faster, roast your butternut squash before-hand and store in the fridge. I usually roast a winter squash or two over the weekend so I have something yummy to add to salads or dinner dishes throughout the week.

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Cheesy Quinoa with Kale and Roasted Squash

(Serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 oz. havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-2 large leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup cubed, roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, cover with lid and cook 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook over low heat until mixture starts to lightly brown. Stir in milk and continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Stir in shredded cheese and continue to stir until it is all melted and you have a thick cheese sauce.
  4. Toss cooked quinoa into the cheese sauce. Stir in kale, squash, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes. Serve warm!

Tomato Leek Soup

Hope you are enjoying lots of treats and not too many tricks. 😉 A lot of people at work really get into dressing up, so I joined in this year for the first time in a long time. Of course I promoted healthy foods by dressing up as a bunch of grapes. It was actually a lot of fun.  I just can’t believe that October is already over. The holiday season is approaching just so quickly – eek! Today, I thought I would share with you this delicious soup Will made up the other night. It’s a perfect way to warm up on the approaching cold winter nights! Feel free to replace the butter with oil if you’d like to make it vegan – both ways are delicious!

Tomato Leek Soup

Tomato Leek Soup (vegetarian; gluten-free)

(Makes 4 Servings)

Ingredients:

  • 8 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pint vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Melt butter in large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Toss in leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and tomatoes. Continue to cook and stir for another 10 minutes until leeks begin to soften.
  2. Stir in broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables softened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in spices and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and pour soup into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth (or puree only half of it to leave a few bits of chopped veggies like we did).
  5. Serve with cheese!

Vegetarian Tacos Made 3 Ways

An easy dinner meal that frequently makes an appearance on our table is vegetarian tacos! We live in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago, so we have easy access to some super cheap, yet delicious corn tortillas just a few steps from our door. This makes it especially tempting to make tacos frequently. 🙂 Even though you may think that tacos would be boring without meat, vegetarian tacos can be pretty tasty! We mix it up by changing out the meat with fish, crumbled tempeh, and marinated portobello mushrooms. With just a bit of vegetable chopping and some sauteing, tacos can literally come together in a matter of minutes – making it a great option for those nights when you are tight on time. We usually pair ours with a salad and just maybe, a brew!

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Tasty Tempeh Tacos

– Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil and toss in some chopped onion and bell pepper. Once the onion begins to become translucent, add crumbled tempeh and 1-2 teaspoons of taco seasoning OR 1/4 cup chopped, canned chipotle peppers in sauce and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Toss and cook until tempeh begins to brown.

IMG_0426Classic Fish Tacos

-These are great for using up leftover fish! Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil. Toss in some chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Add 1-2 fillets of flaked, cooked mild-flavored fish (think tilapia) and 1-2 teaspoons of taco seasoning. Cook until fish is warmed through.

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“Holy Mole” Mushroom Tacos

-Chop 1 pound of portobello mushrooms. Toss with 1/4 cup mole sauce. Add a dash of hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Toss together until mushrooms are coated with sauce. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 1-4 hours. When ready to cook, spread the mushrooms out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook under a broiler on high for 5-7 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Our Favorite Taco Toppings:

  • Cheddar cheese or queso fresco
  • Sour Cream
  • Homemade pico de gallo
  • Avocado or guacomole
  • Lettuce
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Hot sauce

What about you, do you have a favorite way to prepare tacos?

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Do me a favor and go buy yourself an eggplant before they go out of season! Never tried eating eggplant before? Make this your opportunity to try out a new vegetable. 🙂 Trust me, they may look weird, but hey can be really delicious. Will and I found a couple of beautiful ones at the market on Sunday and whipped up these the other night. Usually, we add eggplant to dishes as an addition rather than the star, like in curry. This dish, however, highlights just how versatile eggplants can be in the kitchen. Make sure to purchase or use eggplants that are fairly firm since you leave the skin on for this dish. The more ripe/soft an eggplant becomes, the more bitter the skin becomes.

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Stuffed Eggplant

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 oz. tempeh (or ground turkey or beef)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut eggplants in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh so that 1/3 inch of flesh around the skin remains. Chop up half of the flesh you removed and set aside.
  2. Spray eggplant halves with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until they begin to brown and soften.
  3. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add crumbled tempeh (or meat) and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, chopped eggplant, and mushrooms. Cook until onion is translucent and mushroom begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
  4. Toss in kale, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another 3 minutes or until kale begins to wilt. Turn off heat.
  5. Stuff eggplant shells with topping and place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Serve! We topped ours with a little bit of chevre cheese and smoked paprika. Yum!

Have you ever had eggplant? What is your favorite way to prepare it?