Spicy Quinoa and Beans is one of my favorite go-to dishes. It’s the dish I make when I’m craving spicy Mexican flavors, it’s the dish I make when I don’t feel like cooking (yep that happens), but want to have something healthy and tasty to eat all week, and it’s that one meal I turn to when I’ve over indulged (yep that happens too) and I need to get my eating back on track!
This recipe is a nutritional powerhouse full of protein, vegetables, and spices that are sure to satisfy and keep you satisfied for hours! Occasionally I’ll add shredded chicken to this recipe and that’s fantastic too! One time I added extra chicken stock and shredded chicken to make a healthy chicken tortilla soup that was to die for! Basically what I’m saying is – take the basics I share here and run with it! Create your own version…adjust the spices to your preferences. Maybe add some browned ground beef and cheese and turn it into a casserole. Add more vegetables if you like – I’ve made it in the summer when I have zucchini and summer squash coming outta my ears and it’s super tasty with those added in! In this recipe I used black beans and pinto beans, but those could be switched up too! Or how about roast a spaghetti squash and serve the quinoa and beans over the top? I like to serve it as pictured with fresh tomatoes and avocado, but it would be fantastic with salsa, sour cream, your favorite cheese, tortilla chips…you get the idea! The possibilities are limitless!
Start by sautéing the onion, peppers, celery, and garlic in olive oil or about 5 minutes – just until the vegetables start to soften.
Then add the quinoa and sauté another 2 or 3 minutes.
Next add the spices, then the beans and tomatoes, and then the chopped chipotle in adobo. Finally the stock is added, bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is cooked and most the liquid is absorbed.
Here it is after its simmered for about 30 minutes – the corn is added about 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
This is just such a colorful and satisfying dish! After eating it for a few days just exactly as I had prepared it, I addded some shredded chicken and homemade enchilada sauce and morphed it into Spicy Quinoa Suffed Peppers! It was super tasty and my husband loved it too!
Spicy Quinoa and Beans
A spicy and satisfying protein-packed nutritional powerhouse recipe sure to curb even the biggest appetite!
Okay you guys….as I write this it’s still summer. The kids are back in school, but the weather is definitely summer like and Labor Day is a week away yet. Labor Day of course brings us to the unofficial end of summer and start of Fall! Which leads me to think about Fall holidays, and then because I always get carried away, right on to Thanksgiving and Christmas! But, as I’m a certified(able) pre-planner, I feel like now’s the time to start testing recipes and planning ahead for the holidays. In fact, my daughter calls me a con-crastinator because I’m the polar opposite of a procrastinator! 😉 We’re only looking at 8 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving, which means just over 12 until Christmas. Do you know how quickly that time will FLY by?
This year the holidays will be different for us for many reasons, not the least of which is that I’ve adopted the CEBH lifestyle, so many of our more decadent holiday dishes and treats will either be eliminated or I will need to re-vamp them. For many of us Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a traditional Green Bean Casserole. However, that traditional casserole is loaded with processed foods, fat, and artificial ingredients in the form of canned cream of mushroom soup and crispy fried onions.
I’ve tried to make a somewhat healthier version of Green Bean Casserole in the past, but I’ve never really nailed it until now. And the reason this version is so good is thanks to our secret weapon – cashew cream…so this recipe becomes #6 in our CEBH Cashew Cream recipe series! The creaminess of the cashew cream mimics the consistency of the cream of mushroom soup perfectly! Once I’d managed to find a substitution for the soup the next hurdle was those yummy, crunchy, salty, crispy, fried onions! I knew it would be a challenge to duplicate the exact crunch, but I feel like I’ve come really close! By shaving a couple shallots super thin, quickly sautéing them until crispy, and combining them with pan toasted panko, I’ve managed to match the flavor and crunch of the canned onions!
As a matter of course, I’d obviously prefer to use fresh green beans, but the beans at the store were pathetic and there were none at the farmers market, so I opted for frozen. This is a perfectly wonderful option for when fresh vegetables are not readily available – think Iowa from about October through April! I just really implore you not to use canned green beans for this dish if you can avoid it. The texture and color tends to put me off, plus they’re a little squeaky when I chew them and that grosses me out! But as with all my recipes, use what you have access to and what your family likes. Better canned beans than no beans I always say…actually I don’t think I’ve ever said that before, but it’s still true nonetheless! 😉 All the other ingredients in this recipe should be available year round at your local market. It’s a simple list that of course includes green beans, fresh or frozen, onion, shallots, mushrooms, cashews, panko, and a few other basic pantry items!
Preparation of this green bean casserole is only slightly more complicated than the traditional recipe. Mostly it just takes a little pre-planning (see above regarding my pre-planning *issue*) to soak the cashews for the cashew cream. The cashew cream, just like in our other recipes, is made simply by blending the drained cashews, water, and seasonings in the blender. Cooking the mushrooms and onions is a pretty basic kitchen task for most everyone I think. Frying the shallots and browning the panko is easy because both steps are accomplished in short order using the same pan – first the shallots, then the panko! If using fresh beans they’ll need to be trimmed and steamed for just a couple minutes, as they’ll continue cooking in the oven. Frozen beans can be set out an hour or two ahead to thaw. Once all the components are prepared the casserole goes together in under 2 minutes and bakes at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until bubbly and heated through. The aroma this green bean casserole emits while baking may cause you to go weak in the knees…I’m just sayin’…in case you’re susceptible to those sorts of things! It will most definitely get you in the mood for dinner though – I promise you that!
Crisping the shallots is a simple process of melting 2 teaspoons of coconut oil over medium high heat and very quickly browning the thinly sliced shallots until dark and crispy. Remove them from the pan to drain on a paper towel. While the pan is still warm, add the panko with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and stir the crumbs around the pan for just a few seconds until they turn golden brown, then remove them from the heat. If you find the pan is too dry after sautéing the shallots you may need to add another teaspoon of coconut oil. The beauty of using the same pan is that the shallot flavored oil left in the pan helps to infuse the panko crumbs with scrumptious shallot-y flavor!
Once everything is ready, mix the green beans, cashew cream, and sautéed mushrooms and onions together. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish, sprinkle the crispy shallots and then the toasted panko evenly over the top, pop it in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, covering the dish with foil after the first 20 minutes or so to keep the shallots from burning.
I hope this is a recipe you’ll try serving to your family and friends this year! I fact, I think the CEBH Green Bean Casserole is even tastier than the traditional version thanks to the fact that it’s made from scratch with no artificial ingredients!
Green Bean Casserole CEBH Style
This Thanksgiving serve your guests a tastier and healthier re-vamped version of a traditional holiday dish.
When we were little, our mom used to tell us not to play with our food. Now that I’m grown up with children (and a grandchild) of my own, I realize what she really meant was : don’t make such a big mess and hurry up so I can finish the dinner dishes and finally sit down and relax for a minute or two! One of the other things I’ve learned as a grown up is that playing with my food is FUN!!! When I was envisioning today’s recipe for some sort of egg & avocado wrap or sandwich I just wasn’t feeling very inspired. Then my friend and I went out for Thai food for lunch and we split an order of fresh spring rolls – and voilà – I’d found my inspiration! Only one problem……I’d never made spring rolls before. But never one to back down from a challenge, I thought this would be the best way to learn how to make them. And you know what??? It was fun playing with my food and learning a new technique at the same time!!! Once I started taking the idea of egg & avocado spring rolls seriously I began to get excited about the different directions I could take this recipe. I had a blast thinking of the different vegetables that I wanted to include. And my imagination was running rampant conjuring up different concoctions for dipping sauces! Obviously I needed eggs and avocados, and since I was making a spring roll, I decided to boil the eggs to make them “rollable”. I added carrots and cucumbers because…..duh…..spring rolls! 😜 After that I just added a few of my favorite veggies, settling on scallions, radishes, arugula, and broccoli sprouts. For the dipping sauce I made a spicy jalapeño mayo (find my homemade mayo recipe here) with cumin and lime juice, which pairs fabulously with all the veggies in the spring rolls. Now of course, because I’m me, I added a pinch of cayenne to the mayo sauce, but it’s completely optional. I imagine most folks would find the jalapeño spicy enough – but then, I’m not most folks! I also tried the spring rolls with honey mustard vinaigrette and raspberry poppyseed vinaigrette and they were fantastic too! I’m sure I could think of at least a dozen other flavors of dipping sauces that would be amazing….I bet you could too! I definitely suggest making the dipping sauce first thing – or even the day before so the flavors can develop while chillin’ in the fridge! The first thing you’ll want to do is boil your eggs. I’ve found mine turn out perfectly every time by putting the eggs in a saucepan, covering them with cold water, and bringing to a boil. Once they’ve come to a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let them sit 10 minutes. At that point, run cold water into the pan until you can handle the eggs, remove them from the water and refrigerate until ready to use. While the eggs are cooking it’s time to prep the veggies. I really like this part…..I find it incredibly calming to stand in my kitchen and chop vegetables. To simplify the process and get nice thin julienned pieces of cucumber and carrot I started by slicing them with a mandolin, then cutting them into matchsticks. I also used the mandolin to get super thin radish slices. I sliced the avocado as thinly as possible, and sliced each of the boiled eggs into about 8 slices. Finally it’s time to have fun!!! To make the spring rolls soak a sheet rice spring roll paper in hot water until softened and transparent. Carefully transfer the wrapper to a flat working surface like a cutting board and starting layering your spring roll ingredients about 2 inches from the bottom edge. After all your veggies and egg slices are carefully layered, fold up the bottom edge of the rice paper to enclose the spring roll filling. Then fold both sides in toward the center and roll toward the top edge, keeping the roll as tight as possible. Dip your finger in a little water and moisten the top edge of the rice paper, then wrap the spring roll all the way up, sealing it by smoothing the moistened edge flat against the roll. See—-that was a blast! Right??? A couple of these make for a fantastic light lunch, or cut them in half and serve them as appetizers at your next party! Food should definitely be fun – make some egg & avocado spring rolls and enjoy playing with your food! 😉
Egg & Avocado Spring Rolls
Perfect for a light summer meal or appetizer these Egg & Avocado Spring Rolls are fun to make and fun to eat!
1/2 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin
1/2 cup broccoli sprouts
1/2 large seedless cucumber, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1 cup baby arugula
1/3 cup homemade mayo
1/2 lime, juiced
1 small jalapeño, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne, optional
For the Spring Rolls
Place a sheet of rice paper in a bowl of hot water and soak until transparent and pliable.
Transfer the spring roll wrapper to a flat surface like a cutting board, and beginning about 2" from the bottom edge start layering your spring roll ingredients. Begin with avocado, then eggs, carrots, cucumbers, radish, scallions, broccoli sprouts, and arugula.
Fold bottom edge upward to encase vegetables, fold sides in toward center, and continue rolling toward upper edge, keeping the spring roll as tight as possible.
When nearing the top, dip your finger in water, moisten the top edge of the rice paper just slightly, then roll completely and seal by pressing the moistened edge firmly against the roll.
Continue in this manner until all 8 spring rolls are wrapped.
Just before serving cut each roll in half and serve with spicy mayo dipping sauce, honey mustard vinaigrette, raspberry poppyseed vinaigrette, or your choice of sauces.
For the Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce
In a small bowl combine mayo, diced jalapeño, juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lime, cumin, and cayenne.
Stir well, refrigerate in covered container until ready to serve.
*I’ll admit that sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. *Sometimes it takes me a while to put two and two together. *Every once in awhile I’m a little bit stubborn. And though I’m loathe to admit it, apparently I’ve lived in denial for most my life regarding my tolerance, or rather lack there of, of dairy. Stomach upset was so routine for me that I just thought it was normal. And then……I eliminated dairy, sugar, gluten, red meat, and processed foods of any kind from my diet. And guess what???? No more upset stomachs! No more cramps and bloating! But then I was left wondering what the cause of my distress had been. As it turns out, the culprit was dairy! Are you kidding me? I grew up eating dairy, I love cheese and ice cream, we were taught “Milk…..it does a body good”, and that dairy helps prevent osteoporosis, and now, at the age of 55, I find out that dairy is disagreeable for me. All my life I suffered varying degrees of distress and only recently figured out why! *please refer to comments above! 🙃
But knowledge is power! And armed with my newfound knowledge I’ve learned to avoid dairy as much as I possibly can, and to come up with alternatives that don’t feel like a lame substitute for the “real thing”. Sometimes it’s pretty tough though. I still haven’t found a cheese sub I’m happy with, so for now I’d rather skip it all together than to waste calories eating something that’s not 100% delicious and satisfying. That means no pizza, no macaroni & cheese, no grilled cheese sandwiches, and no gooey cheesy casseroles. I’m not a big milk drinker, and in recipes I find it a simple thing to swap out cow’s milk for almond milk….my family has no idea I do that…please don’t tell them! 😉 I avoid yogurt because even though I like it, I don’t feel deprived when I don’t have it. But then there’s the BIG one…I’m talking ICE CREAM!!!! How the heck was I going to live the rest of my life without ice cream?!? The thought of that was a mighty motivating factor for my developing this recipe for Dairy Free Maple Walnut Ice Cream!
There’s an ice cream and fudge shop that we always visit when we’re in Highlands,North Carolina called Kilwins. Typically we visit at least 2 or 3 times a year and my favorite flavor there is Maple Walnut. It’s rich and creamy and loaded with walnuts. Of course, I’d pay the price every time I had some, but *please refer to comments above…again! When we were there last month I managed to exercise great self control and not have any ice cream. I went with my husband and daughter and watched them eat theirs, and I may have pouted just a little bit, but I knew it wasn’t going to be worth hours of discomfort for a few minutes of flavorful bliss! Since I’d started living The Cook Eat Be Healthy lifestyle it was probably for the best anyway…sigh…..🙂
Perhaps the most important component of the Cook Eat Be Healthy lifestyle is to avoid deprivation. I believe deprivation is why so many diets fail, and why I like to think I’m on a “live-it” instead! I also think that the occasional treat is fine, and that no foods should be strictly forbidden (other than regarding intolerances or allergies), but those indulgent treats must be homemade. That way I’m in complete control of what I’m eating and there’s no chance of anything sneaking into my food that I don’t 100% approve of!
So I decided that the best substitution for milk and cream would be full fat coconut milk. While still high in fat and calories, the plant based saturated fats are markedly better for one’s health than animal based saturated fats found in dairy. And it’s lower in sugar so if you’re counting carbs, that’s a bonus as well! Also since I’m avoiding processed sugars I wanted to find natural sweeteners, and obviously maple syrup was one of my choices…it is maple ice cream after all! I also decided to add some dates for additional sweetness and because I knew their caramel-like flavor would enhance the “mapleness” of the ice cream. Otherwise the ingredients are pretty much what you’d find in any good homemade ice cream. I used egg yolks, vanilla, a little organic maple flavoring, and a bit of salt. I soaked the dates in hot water for just a few minutes to soften them, then processed them, adding warm water as needed, until they became date caramel. After making the ice cream custard with the coconut milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla, and maple flavoring, I removed the pan from the heat and stirred in the date caramel. I poured the custard into a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap, being sure the plastic laid on the top of the mixture. At that point the ice cream custard goes in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, and preferably over night.
The next day all you do is pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and process according to instructions. About half way through you’ll add in the chopped walnuts and continue processing until desired thickness is achieved. For best results, I find its better to freeze the ice cream for a few hours before serving it. Then, because you’ve worked so hard, and waited so long, you get to enjoy your dairy free, sugar free, guilt free ice cream with a smile. Because you know you’ve made something amazing….and you deserve it!!!!
Tip: Store the bowl of your ice cream maker in your freezer at all times. That way when you get a hankering for ice cream you’ll be all set to go! 👍
Dairy Free Maple Walnut Ice Cream
A rich and creamy, dairy free ice cream, sweetened with all natural ingredients, and packed full of walnuts!
Drain, and place dates in bowl of food processor. Process on low, adding hot water 1 tbsp at a time until dates are smooth and the consistency of caramel. Set aside.
Simmer the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, & maple flavoring until steaming hot, but not boiling.
Whisk the egg yolks and temper them by adding small amounts of the warm milk mixture to the eggs, whisking the entire time, until yolks are warm enough to not scramble when slowly added to simmering milk.
After adding the tempered egg yolks, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 10 more minutes, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Custard is done when thickened mixture is glossy and clings to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Remove from heat, stir in salt and date caramel.
Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, being sure plastic makes contact with the surface of the custard.
Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours, and preferably over night.
Process according to manufacturers instructions for your ice cream freezer.
Add walnuts with about 10 minutes freezing time remaining.
Continue processing until desired consistency is achieved.
Transfer ice cream to a bowl and freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
Im thinking of soooo many different flavor combinations for delicious dairy free ice cream! What’s your favorite flavor? Let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll give it a try!!! 🍦