Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl

Looking for a healthy way to get protein without compromising flavor?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  This Vegan Protein Bowl has hints of spicy, tangy, herby, and definitely brings a Middle Eastern vibe in each bite!

Simple to make and ready in just 30 minutes, you have got to try this delicious bowl.  So let me tell you a little bit about the ingredients I chose.  For my grain, I used quinoa because it packs more of a protein punch but you can definitely use any other grain.  Bulgur or Farro would be excellent substitutes to keep in line with the Middle Eastern food theme.

For added protein and crunch, I used garbanzo beans.  I love snacking on these so I actually made double the amount and the girls ended up eating most of them!

As to the veggies, I used a few different ones as I wanted to get the colors in.  To give it some warmth, I roasted the cauliflower with the garbanzos and to keep a cool factor, I made a salad of tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.

So it’s not just what ingredients I use but how much nutrition this delicious bowl provides.  In addition to almost 20 gm of protein, you are also getting:

  • Half of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of Fiber
  • 40% of DRI Iron
  • More than the recommended intake of Folic Acid
  • Meeting at least 20-50% of most of your Vitamins and Minerals DRI

The best part of making this recipe is that even though there are several different steps and techniques, you can multitask and get them all done at once without chaos in the kitchen!   Roast your veggies, while your quinoa cooks and you are making the Avocado Salsa!  So simple and easy!

Last but not least, I added a hummus dressing to pull it altogether.  I love making my own dressings and there is no way I would leave one out of a bowl this delicious.  And to be honest, I really think the hummus dressing really marries all the flavors together so perfectly.  So what are you waiting for?!  Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment below, give it a star rating, or tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl!

Here are the tools I used:

Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios

my foodgawker gallery

This fall and winter season I have been obsessed with acorn squash and pomegranates.  It only made sense that I find a way to combine the two together.  The girls love the rainbow shape this takes on when cut so I wanted to create something fun for them too.

The great thing about acorn squash is that it is a little sweet naturally but it will still take on any flavor you give it.  If you haven’t tried them yet, I made some Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos recently with acorn squash part of the filling.  It took on the spices really well so I wanted to go on the opposite spectrum this time and season it with something a little more mild.

I chose mostly fresh herbs that would bring out the more earthy flavors.  To help give it a little crust, I also added a little Parmesan.

Anyways, here are a few fun nutrition facts about acorn squash:

  • A nutrient dense food, acorn squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber yet is comparatively low in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Great source of phytonutrients, particularly carotenoids which have antioxidant properties.
  • Acorn squash is a starchy fruit, however, because it is so nutrient dense, there’s a good balance to eating this squash. The high fiber content slows down digestion which helps you stay full longer and slows down the release of glucose in your blood.  This process helps in maintaining weight and stabilizing your blood sugar.

So now that you know about my favorite squash this season, let’s move on to my favorite fruit of the season.

Pomegranates!

  • Pomegranates are known as one of the healthiest fruits on Earth!
  • High in fiber (7gms in 1 cup of arils), they also contain an impressive amount of protein (3gm in 1 cup of arils), and 16% of DRI of Folate (also in 1 cup of arils)
  • A great source of antioxidants which help with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • they improve exercise performance by delaying fatigue and increasing blood flow.

Basically, this is one healthy dish that you can have this winter season and enjoy every bite of it!  Try it out and tag me on Instagram @bitofspice146.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios.

Here are the tools I used to make this dish:

 

Tinseltown Tostadas

I think hands down, these are one of my favorite holiday foods.  I’ve had so many and I don’t think I can tire of them.  Snacking is one of my favorite activities.  These delicious tostadas make it so much easier as they are low in calorie, healthy, and guilt-free.

High in fiber, antioxidants, a good source of protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals, these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas definitely pack a punch!

Between the Serrano peppers and the watermelon radish, there were some strong flavors.  I knew I wanted to use the pomegranate arils to give it a sweet note (and make it look pretty).

But it needed depth so I played around with a few options before settling on the hummus and avocado.  And yet the radish was still giving off a bit of a pungent taste and therein comes the smear of pesto.

There are so many random flavors that they work despite wanting to prove the opposite.

Make these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas this holiday season and you won’t be able to stop eating them.  From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy them!

The tools I used for this recipe are:

Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos

We are a taco loving family.  I started the kids out simple with the basic filling of either ground meat or refried beans and some veggies and lots of cheese.  Though we love the basics, which often times provide a sense of comfort and nostalgia, I wanted to try something new.

Definitely no beans or meat.

I know, but trust me!  This is amazing!  You want to know why I say this?  I had to make it 5 times before I was able to get a single photo of it taken.  The first time I made it, these tacos flew so fast, I didn’t even realize what happened.  This also happened the second, third, and fourth time.  The fifth time, I made it well in advance so no one could get into them and I could actually take a photo to share with you my enthusiasm around these tacos.

So, I fire roasted the poblanos to give it a more earthy, smoky flavor.  If you don’t have a gas stove, you can totally do this on your BBQ grill or even in the oven.  You will still get that amazing smoky flavor, I promise!

Instead of beans or meat, I chose to use acorn squash to roast with ancho chili and chipotle powder.  These peppers give it a kick without making it too spicy and also enhance that smoky flavor, especially from the chipotle pepper powder.

I’m not done though!  Making this go one step further, I made a Habanero Crema with avocados, roasted garlic and a little yogurt to balance out the habaneros.

Serve it with microgreens instead of lettuce or cabbage, and top it off with a little salsa verde, and you have what I think is one of the most amazing tacos of the year!

Seriously, I’m just going to stop now and give you the recipe.  You really have to try it.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos.

Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl

The weather is still pretty warm out but I am mentally ready for fall!  Especially with all the delicious veggies at the Farmer’s Market that are coming out for the season.  The pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and especially all the squash and pumpkins I’m seeing everywhere!  They’re all so beautiful, colorful and oh so yummy!

I was inspired during my last visit to the Farmer’s Market for this recipe.  I used acorn squash because it is mild in flavor and one of the easiest squash to peel and cut.  The beets added beautiful color and flavor (and lots of nutrition!), and crispy brussels sprouts once roasted are the perfect addition for texture in this bowl.

Here are a few other ingredients I used though, I definitely didn’t roast them:

  • Avocado
  • Red Pears
  • Feta
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Quinoa

As for the dressing, I debated whether to add one or not but in the end, I decided a simple squeeze of lime would do justice without taking away from the other flavors.

I was so excited just roasting the veggies because they looked so bright, bold and beautiful!  The spice that I added to balance the sweet of the beets and pears out was smoky chipotle pepper to the veggies that I roasted.

This is one dish that I think is going to come up often on our table through this season!  Make a big batch for a holiday dinner side, a small batch for a lunch or make it a meal for a weeknight!  It’s simple, healthy, delicious, and you get to eat many of your colors!

Here are some of the health benefits from this yummy bowl:

  • Low Carb
  • High in Fiber
  • High in Protein
  • Vitamins K, C, A, and B-6
  • Good Source of Iron
  • Good Source of Folate

Well!  What are you waiting for?  You have got to try this out!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Sweet and Spicy Harvest Bowl!

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Barley Bowl

We’ve recently started eating more barley during meal times and use it as a go to for most of the week.  When I’m cooking the barley, the aroma that wafts out just makes your mouth water.  Then you bite into the nutty flavor and it’s a home run for me.   Plus, it’s really healthy so I don’t feel guilty about eating a little extra (as I tend to do).  It’s high in dietary fiber, a good source of protein, it’s low in sodium, and is a really good grain to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.
20190408_154956.jpg
This recipe was born of out sheer laziness.  Nope.  Not kidding.  I had been running errands all day, doing what seems like an indefinite load of laundry for the girls, and just wasn’t in the mood to cook (a rare moment).
20190408_155218.jpgSo, I started to putter around the kitchen feeling guilty about what to serve the family for dinner, feeling guilty that I wanted to pull something from the freezer, then unsatisfied with everything that I had because maybe, deep down, I knew I would figure something out.
20190408_155252.jpg
I’ve also been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately.  I’m not sure why… maybe it’s a slow developing discovery that I love them whether steamed, roasted or bbq’d?  Anyways, of course then I decided I wanted to put the sweet potatoes and the barley together.
20190408_184942.jpg
I figured on adding avocado because, who doesn’t add avocado to everything?  But I was still missing one more thing.  As I was getting started prepping, it hit me.  Caramelized Onions!  I discovered the joy of eating these a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and I keep wondering, what was I doing with my life?! Of course, since I was trying to keep this to a healthy dish, I used EVOO but it does taste so heavenly with butter.  If you want to use butter, just swap out the EVOO for equal measurement of butter.
20190408_184844.jpg
Little by little, I started putting this bowl together without having a real sense of direction and now, my husband wants it in the rotation weekly!  Score for me!
I added a chimichurri dressing to this to give it a little pizzazz and some chia seeds at the end (originially for presentation but, hey! the added Omega 3, fiber, and protein helps).
Check out the recipe below, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 med red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 sprigs Rosemary
1 c pearl barley
4 c veggie broth (optional, 2 c broth & 2 c white wine)
1 large sweet potato, 1″ cubes
1 lg yellow onion, ½” slices
1 lg avocado, cubed
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp EVOO

For the Chimichurri:
1 bunch cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 serrano pepper (optional for more heat)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF .  Place sweet potato on baking sheet, add 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and bake for 25 minutes.
In a shallow pot, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO.  Add onions and cook until they are browned.  Add in the barley and cook until it’s golden red in color.  Add in the garlic, rosemary, broth, salt and pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and pick out the rosemary stems.
While the barley is cooking, in another pan, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO and add the yellow onions.  add some salt to taste and mix well.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, while mixing the onions around every 5 minutes.
For the chimichurri, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blen everything until it becomes a smooth dressing.

For assembly:
Line a wide bowl with a cup of the cooked barley.  Add in the sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, avocado, and chimichurri.  Sprinkle some chia seeds on top and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Taco Cups Yum

I recently co-hosted a baby shower for my good friend, Diana. I am so excited to meet the little one and am counting down the weeks now!
I loved being a part of the baby shower because we did a lot of mini’s and individual foods to mesh with the baby theme. It was too cute!
The fun thing about these taco cups is that you can use whatever filling you choose. I’ve done a seven layer dip, black bean and corn salsa, and now sweet potato and black beans! I have to say, the sweet potato was a hit, not just with my family, but all the guests and especially the mama-to-be! That in itself made this recipe blog worthy.20180811_092502.jpg

Making the taco cups is really easy. In fact, I’ve even made them in advance – just store them in an airtight container and it will last up to a couple of weeks! Yep! These are perfect for parties! Bonus… they take less than 10 minutes to make! It can’t get better than that.20180810_170103.jpg

To make the cups, I used large burrito sized tortillas and a 4 inch diameter round cookie cutter. I got about 4 out of each tortilla – not bad!20180810_164945.jpg

Once you have the amount of disks you want, heat them up in the microwave for about 12 seconds to warm them up and make them soft and pliable. Remember to spray the muffin tin with cooking spray and also the disks to once you press them into the individual cups.20180810_165338.jpg

Bake at 350ºF for about 5-7 minutes until they are golden red. Remove from heat and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container or plate them to use with filling.20180811_092504.jpg

Ingredients:
For Taco Cups:
4 burrito sized tortillas
4 inch round cookie cutter
Cooking spray

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped into ½” cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp honey
juice of half lime
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro to garnish

For Avocado Crema:
¼ plain yogurt, whipped
½ Avocado, mashed
zest of 1 lime
juice of ½ lime
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:
For Taco Cups:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Use the cookie cutter to cut out the disks from the tortilla. Wrap the disks 4 at a time in paper towel and warm in microwave for about 12 seconds to make soft and pliable. Immediately press into greased muffin tin pan. Once all disks are in pan, spray again with cooking spray.
Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Store in airtight container.

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, line sweet potato. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, paprika and pepper. Mix well and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.
In a nonstick pan, heat EVOO. Add in onions and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in black beans and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add in the roasted sweet potatoes, honey, cumin powder, and lime juice. Mix well and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

For Avocado Crema:
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.

To serve:
Place 1 Tbsp of sweet potato and black bean mixture in a taco cup. Top with a dollop of avocado crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and will continue to do so.

Roasted Garden Salad

I don’t like to labor over big meals during the summer time – I’d rather spend my time outdoors!  To me, summertime is all about simple but filling foods and clean eating so I can enjoy the sun as much as possible.
This salad is just that.  It’s refreshingly light, satisfying, healthy, easy, and best of all, I can do it within 20 minutes!

20180709_185915.jpg

It truly is a one pan deal – all you have to do is line all the veggies in the pan, roast them in the oven and voila!
20180709_190720.jpg
I added in some roasted chickpeas for crunch and protein… let me tell you this completed the salad in the best way possible.
20180709_191223.jpg

Ingredients:
1lb fresh arugula
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 14oz can of Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat oven to 350ºF.  Sliced all veggies and line in a baking sheet.  Drizzle with EVOO, add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Mix well so all the veggies are equally seasoned.

Meanwhile, in another tray, spread out garbanzo beans in a flat layer.  Drizzle with EVOO, add salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.  Sprinkle paprika on the top but don’t mix it.

Bake veggies for 20 minutes and beans for 20-25 minutes.  In a bowl, add arugula.  when veggies and beans are done, add them to the arugula.  Drizzle EVOO lightly, add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and toss.  Enjoy this salad as much as I do!

Three Bean Chili

*Updated Oct. 16, 2020

Sundays in our house are dedicated to football. Now that the season has started, I’m challenging myself to find some healthier recipes to get us through the games. Sure the chicken wings, nachos, creamy dips, and pizza sound good but they definitely don’t pass the healthy test. This is a hearty chili loaded with veggies, beans and definitely falls into the comfort zone. It makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl while you’re watching football (or a movie or your favorite tv show).


The heat of the ancho chili and cayenne give this a perfect balance to some of the sweeter veggies like the carrots and bell peppers.  Using the canned beans also take a lot of the work out of this dish for you and I’ve included both stove top and slow cooker versions so you can make it any way that is easiest and most convenient.

Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of spring onions to finish off this chili before eating with a side of cornbread.  Nothing can beat this delicious chili on a cold winter day.  I’d like to say, I’m definitely ready for this winter season!

I’ve made this chili vegan and it can remain so with toppings such as spring onions, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.

Optional to add are toppings such as sour cream and cheese.  They will definitely soften up the taste if you choose these!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope this 3 Bean Chili brings a little warmth to your day!

I’ve made this both on the stove top and in the slow cooker.  Here is the equipment I used to make the chili: