Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kabocha Blue Cheese Quesadillas

These vegetarian quesadillas make a seasonal, tasty appetizer or hearty meal. They have the flavors of autumn, without using the same old ingredients and spices. You could also replace the kabocha with pumpkin, which you may have lying around after Thanksgiving!

The Nutrition Rundown: Kabocha, like other orange vegetables, packs tons of vitamin A, which means that one of these quesadillas gives you over a third of your daily needs of that powerful antioxidant. Using whole grain tortillas in place of regular, refined flour tortillas packs in more fiber- pairing this quesadilla with a side salad is sure to fill you up! 

 Kabocha and Blue Cheese Quesadillas
Makes 4 large quesadillas 
Serves 4 meal portions or ~8 appetizer portions

Ingredients
½ medium Kabocha squash, halved and seeds scooped out (or about 1.5 cup mashed kabocha or pumpkin)
2 oz blue cheese (or goat cheese)- I used Humboldt Fog
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
4 large whole grain tortillas 
~3 Tbs oil, divided
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In shallow glass baking dish, pour ½ cup water. Place squash flesh side down in pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until orange flesh is fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
  2. Scoop squash from skin and place in medium mixing bowl. Add cheese and mash to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Over medium heat, saute garlic, onions and leeks in ~1/2 Tbs oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread kabocha mixture evenly across tortillas. Top with leek mixture. Fold tortillas in half. 
  5. Heat 1/2 Tbs oil in large skillet over medium heat. Pan fry 1 quesadilla in skillet for about 2-3 minutes, flip quesadilla and fry until both sides are golden crisp. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Overnight Oats


Making sure you eat breakfast is a lot easier with prep work the night before. You may have seen recipes all over the internet by now, and there's a reason. Overnight oats refers to softening the oats by soaking them for a few hours (or overnight, get it?), so there's no need for cooking. I've included a "base" recipe, and then a few of my favorite combinations of add-ins. I love how easy this recipe is for using what you've got on hand and for using seasonal flavors. A bowl of this hearty, healthy, delicious breakfast will leave you satisfied until lunchtime! 

The Nutrition Rundown: The type of fiber found in oats, known as "soluble fiber", keeps your heart healthy by helping to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. That same fiber also helps you feel full and satisfied! Chia seeds add omega-3 fats, and, of course, nothing beats a serving of fruit at breakfast for a vitamin boost!

Overnight Oats
Makes 2 Servings
The Base
1 cup rolled oats
Nutrition Facts based on
Base + 1/2 cup fruit
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (found at many supermarkets and most healthfood stores)
1 Tablespoon almond butter or cashew butter
1 cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened soy milk, and that's what the nutrition facts are based on)

The Mix-Ins
1 mashed banana + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries + 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberries + 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (substitute it for the almond butter in base recipe)
1/4 cup chopped apple + 1/4 cup pumpkin puree + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Serve! (Tip: If you put chopped nuts in your concoction, then add them in the morning of eating...don't leave them overnight to soak). 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Re-Purposing: Mustard Bottle Salad Dressing

Making your own salad dressing can seem pretty daunting. But opting to do-it-yourself saves you from the excess sodium and preservatives often dumped into bottled salad dressing (and it saves you some cash!). A mustard bottle on its "last legs" is the perfect container for mixing up and storing your new concoction. Mustard serves as a natural emulsifier, which helps keep the oil from separating too quickly. With no measuring and just a few ingredients, this "project" takes almost as little time and effort as opening up the bottled kind!

How to: 
1 almost-empty bottle or jar of mustard (type is up to you!) 
+ 2 parts acid (vinegar or lemon juice) 
+ 1 part olive oil 
+ herbs/spices (optional) 
+ pinch of sweetness (also optional, but honey, sugar, fruit juice all work well)
Give it a shake and pour it on! 

Here are a few of my favorite varieties:
  • Dijon mustard with lemon juice + olive oil + garlic + honey poured over herb salad;
  • Brown mustard with apple cider vinegar + olive oil + celery seed + pinch of sugar (great for cole slaw!)
  • Dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar + olive oil + chopped fresh basil on spinach and strawberry salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quick Dinner: Lemon Ricotta Arugula Pasta


It sure has been a while since I've posted a new recipe! That doesn't mean it's been quiet around here. I've been enjoying the summer and, along with it, quick, simple summer recipes. I love this few-ingredient dish, with whole grain pasta, with fresh summer flavors and minimal effort...perfect for lunch or dinner on your busiest of days. Scale this recipe up or down whether you're cooking for 1 or many.

The Nutrition Rundown: At under 400 calories per serving, this fiber-rich, creamy-textured whole grain pasta dish won't leave you overly full like other rich pasta dishes. Adding in bunches of arugula (feel free to add more veggies, too!) boosts fiber and vitamin content, leaving you satisfied and nourished without the usual post-pasta food coma.



 Lemon Ricotta Arugula Pasta
Serves 4
Ingredients
8oz whole grain pasta 
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1 Lemon, juice and zest
Pinch of salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh arugula
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, lemon juice and zest, spices, and olive oil until combined. Add arugula and toss to coat. 
  3. Drain cooked pasta. Toss into arugula mixture. Serve warm or chilled. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Scones

Blueberries are finally in season! And here they shine in yummy scones. Using seasonal fruit in baked goods adds natural sweetness, so you can cut back quite a bit on the sugar without compromising flavor. 

The Nutrition Rundown: A scone from a standard coffee shop may run as high as 500 calories. This perfectly-portioned, whole grain version gets flavor from fresh fruit instead of refined sugar.

Blueberry Lemon Scones
Makes ~10 scones
Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup blueberries
6oz plain yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In large bowl (or bowl of standing mixer) whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut butter into dry ingredients. Mix with whisk attachment or with electric mixer until butter is about pea-sized.  
  3. In separate bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. 
  4. Flour work surface, and knead dough (it will be difficult to knead). Pat into circle ~1/2 inch thick. Cut into ~10 triangles. 
  5. Transfer scones to baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool on wire rack. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fresh Pick of the Week: Kohlrabi


This root vegetable with edible leaves is at the beginning of its season, which runs from summer until early fall. After removing the tough outer skin, the edible root can be consumed raw or cooked, and is crisp and refreshing! Try it sliced with dip, chopped into slaw, or roasted (see below!). Kohlrabi root is rich in fiber, potassium, and B6. And don't forget about those greens! Get a hefty dose of vitamin K (important for blood and bone health) from the greens, which you can use like you would would kale, chard, or spinach.

Need more convincing? Try this simply Roasted Kohlrabi and Fennel. Eat it as is, or toss it, like I did, with greens, apple slices, and toasted almonds to make a hearty salad.



Roasted Kohlrabi and Fennel
Ingredients
1 kohlrabi root
1 fennel root
2 Tbs safflower oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Using vegetable peeler, remove outer skin of kohlrabi. Slice into crescents and set aside on large, rimmed baking sheet. 
  3. Remove top of fennel. Slice fennel bulb into quarters, and cut out tough inner core. Slice fennel into 1/2" pieces and place on baking sheet with kohlrabi. 
  4. Toss vegetables in oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until vegetable edges are golden brown and soft to bite. Serve warm, or toss into salad. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese with Truffle Oil

 I love reinventing classic comfort foods into healthier alternatives. This vegetable-rich take on Mac & Cheese leaves out the refined, white pasta in favor of complex-carbs, higher fiber content, and more vitamins. Because of its white color and relatively neutral flavor, cauliflower is a great alternative for starchier dishes. Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese (and who ever complained about truffle oil?) is a great main dish or could serve more guests as a side. I served it as a Meatless Monday dinner entree, alongside some fresh whole grain bread.

The Nutrition Rundown: Replacing low-nutrient, refined white pasta with cauliflower gives this dish tasty, heart-disease reducing benefits. Bulking up the creamy sauce with white bean puree helps cut back on saturated fat (another heart-health hooray!). The beans also add protein and soluble fiber, which make it a more filling and complete meal.


Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese with Truffle Oil
Serves 6
Ingredients
2 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided (I used coconut oil)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 15 oz can white kidney beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded cheese (I used ½ extra-sharp, grass-fed cheddar and ½ Gruyere)
¼ cup milk (I used 2%)
¼ cup crème fraiche (you can substitute sour cream or plain yogurt)
½ onion, diced
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons truffle oil (optional)
Salt and pepper

Directions
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using ~2 teaspoons of cooking oil, grease 9x13” baking dish.
  2. Fill large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until tender,  ~5 minutes. Drain and set aside cauliflower and pan for later use. (You could also steam the cauliflower or use frozen and steam in microwave).
  3. In food processor, make sauce by combining white beans, garlic, cheese, crème fraiche, milk, salt and pepper. Pulse until creamy and set aside.
  4.  Preheat remaining cooking oil to large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add cauliflower and toss to combine. Cook ~2-3 minutes until cauliflower begins to brown. Add sauce and herbs and stir to combine. Turn off heat, and add truffle oil if using as well as additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake for ~20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly and set for ~5 minutes before serving warm. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

All-Natural No-Bake Brownies

When shopping at the supermarket, "all-natural" doesn't necessarily mean healthy. But these brownies are fudgy, delicious, and full of truly natural and healthful ingredients. Packed with nuts and fruit, they taste good enough for dessert, and will nourish you well enough to be a balanced breakfast. You can whip up a batch in about 10 minutes, plus a little extra time for chilling, so no excuses not to indulge in these chocolaty treats!

The Nutrition Rundown: Bananas and dates replace the usual refined sugar and add potassium, an important electrolyte, which blunts the rise of blood pressure when you have too much salt and helps regulate the body's fluid status. Nuts and fruit will give you lasting energy instead of the typical post-pastry crash.



All-Natural No-Bake Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Makes 20 Brownies
Ingredients for Brownies
10 oz pecans
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ripe bananas
1 cup dates

Directions for Brownies

  1. Pulse pecans, coconut, and coco powder in food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Add bananas and dates and continue to pulse until well combines (you may need to remove lid and stir ingredients occasionally). 
  2. Press brownie mix into 9x13" pan. 
Ingredients for Frosting
1/4 cup organic, natural peanut butter
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions for Frosting
  1. Blend all ingredients in food processor until well combined. 
  2. Using rubber spatula, cover brownies in peanut butter topping. 
  3. Cover and chill brownies in refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 1 week. 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gluten Free Beet Muffins

Beet muffins may sound weird, but shredded beets add color and flavor to these tasty gluten free goodies. I used almonds and oats as the gluten free "flour" base. With orange, spices, and creme fraiche topping, they are reminiscent of carrot cake but without too much added sugar and instead packed with tons of nutrients. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Oats and almonds replace refined flour, adding soluble fiber, healthy fat, and protein. Beets give the muffins betacyanins, pigments that have been shown to act as powerful cancer-fighting agents. 






Beet Muffins
with Orange Crème Fraiche Topping
(Gluten Free)
Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients for muffins
3 beets, cleaned, peeled, rough chopped
1 cup almonds, toasted
½ cup rolled oats (labeled “gluten free”)
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs
½ lemon, zest and juice

Directions for muffins
  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using butter or oil, grease 12 muffin tin or prepare with parchment liners and set aside.
  2. Pulse beets in food processor until shredded.  Remove beets and set aside in small bowl.
  3. In food processor, pulse almonds and oats until coarse meal. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger and pulse to combine.
  4. Place dry mixture in medium mixing bowl. Whisk in brown sugar. Create a well in center of mixture and add eggs. Whisk eggs into dry mixture. Add beets and lemon and fold to combine.
  5.  Pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for ~15 minutes, until set in center. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks. Muffins without topping may be served warm or room temperature, and can be stored in enclosed container at room temperature.  

Ingredients for Topping
1/3 cup crème fraiche
2 oz goat cheese
Zest of 1/2 orange (plus additional as desired)
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey

Directions for Topping
  1. Combine all ingredients with electric mixer (or whisk together thoroughly).
  2. Place topping in piping bag (or sealable plastic bag with corner cut). Pipe onto top of muffins.
  3. Garnish with additional orange zest if desired. Store in refrigerator.  Allow to chill at least one hour before serving. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fresh Pick of the Week: Spring Onions

Yes, friends! That's SPRING in the title. These mild onions started popping up last week at my local farmer's market. In most parts of the country, spring onions are available starting around April/May and extending into early summer (here in Southern California, we benefit from longer-than-usual produce seasons). Spring onions have a similar flavor to green onions or scallions but are actually a different variety. In fact, spring onions are early-harvested (aka young) white/red onions, which is why their bulbs can be white or red. Since they have a similar flavor to green onions, they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Try them sauteed into next stir fry, cooked or raw on salad, as a pizza topping, or mixed into soups. Or check out my next recipe using quick-fry spring onions!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beet Gratin

Beets and their greens combine with rich cheese in this NY Times-inspired dish. This recipe could easily be used as a template for other vegetable gratins, which make decadent, vegetarian main dishes. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Beets and their greens are full of vitamins and minerals, including folate, a critical B vitamin helping to reduce risk of heart disease and to prevent birth defects for women of child-bearing age. This dish is also packed with filling-fiber. 

Beet Gratin
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 bunches of beets (red or golden) and their greens
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Gruyere and semi-hard Toma)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean and dice beets. Toss beets in 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Clean and slice greens. Preheat 1 Tbs olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic with salt and pepper for 1-2 minutes. Add greens with their rinsing liquid. Cover with lid and cook ~3-5 minutes to steam greens. Turn off heat an allow to cool. 
  3. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour in beets and greens and stir to combine.
  4. Grease 9x13" baking pan and pour in beet mixture. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for ~25 minutes until set. Place under broiler additional 2-3 minutes to brown cheese. Serve warm. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chipotle Tomatillo Guacamole

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! This smokey, spicy guacamole is the perfect addition to your Super Bowl spread. The tomatillo gives this dip a citrusy crunch, while chipotle chilis add smokey flavor. The chilis in adobo add sodium to this dip, so don't add any additional salt--with all the flavor of the chilis and sauce, you won't need it! Serve with whole grain tortilla chips (check the ingredients label for "whole corn") and some veggies for dipping.

The Nutrition Rundown: Avocados are full of healthy, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and vitamins that make them an anti-inflammatory food. Because of all this healthy fat, they are high in calories; using tomatillos and chili peppers in this guacamole cuts back on the calories per dip for any calorie-conscious Super Bowl party goers!

Chipotle Tomatillo Guacamole
Serves 8-10
Ingredients
1 large avocado (or 2 small)
1 can (7oz) Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (found in the Mexican grocery aisle) 
2 Tomatillos
Black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions
  1. Remove skin and pit of avocado(s). Dice into medium bowl. 
  2. Take chilis from can. There will be sauce on the chilis, but you may discard the excess sauce. Chop chilis and place in bowl with avocado. Remove skins of tomatillo, dice into bowl. 
  3. Add pepper and lime juice. Garnish with cilantro if using and serve! 




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Chickpeas, Cherries and Feta

I often cook with a lot of herbs and spices. Tonight, I opted to keep the flavors simple, allowing the natural flavors of the vegetables and fruit to shine through. The unorthodox addition of cherries was inspired by a recent online publication I did on Cooking with Fruit for Verily Magazine. I served this tasty vegetarian dish as our main fare, accompanied by some baked sweet potato "fries." Going meatless a few meals (or days) each week helps reduce risk of heart disease, expands your palate, and helps the environment. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Brussels sprouts and chickpeas together will give you lasting energy from complex carbohydrates. This dish is also packed with vitamins and lots of filling fiber. 




Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Chickpeas, Cherries and Feta
Serves 6
Ingredients
1 large onion, sliced 
4 cups Brussels Sprouts, rinsed & drained (not dried), ends removed (cut large ones in half)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons dried, unsweetened cherries
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ounce feta, crumbled
Salt and pepper

Directions
  1. Prepare vegetables. Add oil to large, heavy skillet. Preheat on medium heat. 
  2. Add onions, dash of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes or until onions are translucent and fragrant. 
  3. Add garlic, Brussels sprouts with their remaining rinsing liquid, and another dash of salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and add cherries and chickpeas. Add additional 1/4 cup water to cover bottom of pan if Brussels sprouts or onions are browning too quickly. Cover again and cook another 10 minutes, removing lid periodically to stir. 
  4. Remove lid. Stir in lemon juice. Cook additional 2-5 minutes. Brussels sprouts should be browning and soft to bite. 
  5. Sprinkle feta over the top of dish before serving. 




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

The coconut in these otherwise traditional cookies adds chewy texture and delicious flavor. They got rave reviews in our house, but make sure you have a few friends to share with for some built-in portion control. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Using half whole wheat flour in traditional baked goods adds fiber and vitamins and cuts back on refined white flour, all without compromising texture or flavor. Baking your own cookies instead of getting store-bought not only tastes better but let's you control the ingredients, ensuring no trans-fats and just the flavor you like! 

Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup + 3 Tbs whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
6 oz white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In standing mixer, beat butter about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and egg. 
  3. In separate bowl, sift together both flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet in 2-3 batches, combine well after each addition. Combine nuts, coconut, and chocolate into dough. 
  4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mediterranean-style Spaghetti Squash

This recipe uses spaghetti squash in place of pasta for a lighter dish that will satisfy your pasta craving. It incorporates some of my favorite flavors, lemon, oregano, and olive, making it reminiscent of Greek cuisine. It's fast enough to be a quick weeknight meal. Remember to go easy with the salt shaker when making this as both feta and olives add great flavor and their own salt. I enjoyed it warm, though it would make a great cold salad for lunch or a potluck. Enjoy!






Mediterranean-style Spaghetti Squash
Makes 4 entree-sized portions
2oz feta, chopped or crumbled
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp dried oregano 
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Allow baked squash to cool to room temperature. Using fork or spoon, scoop spaghetti squash strands from skin into a bowl. Discard skins.
  2. Toss spaghetti squash with feta, olives, and basil. 
  3. In separate bowl, mix lemon, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over spaghetti squash and toss. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spaghetti Squash


Spaghetti squash is a winter squash variety that is harvested in early fall. It keeps for many months after harvest, so it is available all winter long. The inside of the squash, which ranges in color from light yellow to near-orange, pulls apart in spaghetti-like strands after cooking. Spaghetti squash makes a nutrient-rich, lower calorie substitute for pasta. Spaghetti squash is rich in these important nutrients: 
  • Potassium, an important electrolyte; 
  • Beta-carotene, natural pre-cursor to vitamin A (levels will be higher in more orange squash);
  • Folic acid, important for making new, healthy cells (and especially important for women of child-bearing age). 
Image from Steamy Kitchen
To cook the squash: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 inch of water in glass baking dish. 
  2. Cut squash in half and discard seeds. Place squash flesh-side down in water. Fork the outer skin a few times on each half. 
  3. Bake ~30 minutes until fork tender. Strands can be easily scooped out with fork or spoon. 
Check back tomorrow for a tasty, easy recipe using the baked squash! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sesame Quinoa and Kale

Served alongside homemade coconut shrimp
with sweet and spicy jalapeno sauce
New Year's resolutions abound! Did you decide to be healthier in 2014? Meals with plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables, whole grains, and healthy (plant-based) fats fill you up and keep you healthy. This Sesame Quinoa and Kale has the added bonus of cooking up in less than 20 minutes (including the prep!), so you'll be on your way to a nutritious weeknight meal. I used a few pantry/refrigerator staples: coconut water, tahini, toasted sesame oil, and spices which add tons of flavor, so you can keep the added salt to a minimum. 

The Nutrition Rundown: Think you can't get enough protein on a plant-based diet? Think again! A side-serving of this dish has as much protein as a whole egg. It's also packed with numerous vitamins, including vitamin K, which is critical for blood and bone health. 





Sesame Quinoa and Kale
Serves 4-6
Based on 6 side-dish servings
Ingredients
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, small diced
1 Tbs curry powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coconut water
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into 2" pieces
2 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lemon 

Directions
  1. In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa, garlic, onion, and spices, stir to combine and continue stirring frequently while quinoa toasts and onion becomes translucent, ~2 minutes. 
  2. Add coconut water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add kale, and cover to cook ~7 minutes, until quinoa is cooked but still intact with a bite.
  3. Stir in tahini, sesame oil, and lemon juice. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate to serve cold as a salad.