Heart Healthy Quinoa Greek Salad

image.jpegJune is Stroke Awareness Month. As the Nutritionist for Sobeys, we are partnering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to offer you Wellness classes every Monday night of June. Last night our first class topic covered the basic of eating healthy, cholesterol, and nutrition tips that may help reduce your risk of stroke.

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The recipe that I prepared for my Heart and Stroke class last night was a Quinoa Greek Salad that I had altered from the Heart and Stroke’s recipe online. This recipe is fresh, easy, and delicious for summer. It ensures to include all the heart healthy ingredients and can be used as a main dish or a side to any dinner.

I made sure to add in a few of my favourite items. For example:

Chickpeas: A great plant-based source of protein and fibre. The bean I’m sure you know by now is my ultimate favourite! This item has 13g of fibre per 1 cup. 

Avocados: A great source of heart healthy unsaturated fats and soluble fibre (6.7g fibre per 1/2 avocado).

Red & Green Pepper: Peppers have high antioxidant and vitamin C content. This means they will fight off pollutants (free radicals) in the body that can cause cell damage.

Black Olives: Are low in a cholesterol. A source of dietary fibre, iron and copper. However, olives are high in sodium. Make sure to rinse and drain the olives before using them in this recipe and don’t overdo it. Slice them in to thirds to make a smaller amount go a long way.

Heart Healthy Quinoa Greek Salad Recipe

(Serves 10 people as a side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cook and chill
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onion, diced
  • ¼ cup black olives
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • ½ avocado, sliced, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese (reduced fat if available), rinse and drain to remove sodium.
  • Optional: Add a fibre and protein boost with ¼ cup rinsed and drained chickpeas or add a salted crunch with roasted chickpeas!

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp basil fresh
  • Ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, cook 1 cup dry quinoa as per package instructions.
  2. When quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in the refrigerator while you are preparing the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Prepare diced vegetables and crumble feta cheese.
  4. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir the veggies and cheese into the cooled quinoa.
  6. Pour the dressing over quinoa mixture and toss.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Take aways from our class: 

  • Choose foods lower in sodium (less than 15% Daily Value, always read the nutrition facts label!)
  • Choose healthy fats (UNSATURATED fats), avoid saturated and trans fats where possible.
  • Choose high fibre foods, soluble fibre has been found to have a greater impact in lowering cholesterol compared to insoluble fibre
  • Choose lean protein sources: fish, chicken, turkey, lean meats
  • Avoid highly processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Watch out for canned food items, they tend to be high in sodium
  • Limit added sugars: less than 12 tsp or 48g of added sugar a day!!

 

Thank you all so much to those of you who came out to our first Heart and Stroke Awareness Month Class at Stratford Sobeys last night! It was so much fun sharing my knowledge with all of you who are so eager to learn. We will be offering these classes every Monday night at 6:30 PM here. Please email me for more information if you are local and would like to attend! brooke@ateaspoonofbliss.com

 

THE BEST Southwest Dressing (Wholesome Ingredients, Vegan, & Delicious!)

I tried out Vegenaise for the first time back in December…. and fell in love! It is an egg-free mayonnaise. You can opt to use regular mayo or ..I would recommend trying out Vegenaise for this recipe. You won’t regret it. I think it tastes better than the traditional egg mayo. No need to be vegan to enjoy this dip.. it will be a hit with the whole family!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vegenaise “egg-free mayonnaise”
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions: Mix ingredients together, in the order above, using a whisk. When all ingredients are combined, store in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cold.

*You can top this creamy dressing on salads, sandwiches, use it as a dip for chips, veggies, and much more! It is by far my favourite dressing I have created. Try it out!* This is the same dip that I featured in my sweet potato fry recipe. Great for dipping 🙂

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 *This recipe is a low carbohydrate alternative to regular pizza dough.  It can also be made gluten-free.*

TIP: If you do not want to end up eating your pizza with a fork and knife, I recommend going light on the cheese or cooking both sides of the crust before doing your toppings. How? Cook the crust for ~10-15 minutes until browning and then use a plate to remove the crust from the parchment paper. Slide/place the cauliflower crust back on the parchment paper so that the bottom side is now turned up. Bake for ~10-15 minutes again until this side is browning. After both sides are baked – add your toppings and put in the oven one last time.

cooked final pizza
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Crust Cook time: 10-15 mins (more if you are cooking both sides)
Total time: ~40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower florets (500g)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan (from container)
  • 2 tbsp spelt flour (or gluten-free flour of choice.. e.g. almond meal)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cheese cloth

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Place the chopped cauliflower florets in the food processor. Pulse for approximately 30 seconds until the cauliflower resembles snow.
  3. Place the ground cauliflower in the microwave-safe container. Microwave for 3 minutes covered.
  4. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool.
  5. Place cauliflower on the cheese cloth and ring out as much water as you possibly can. (Squeeze as hard as you can! The more water removed the better your crust will turn out).
  6. When finished removing the water, place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add every ingredient except for the egg. Mix.
  8. Add the egg last and stir until the mixture is fully blended together.
  9. When evenly combined, spread and pack down the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make into your desired shape.
  10.  Bake for ~10-15 minutes until browning. Remove from the oven.
  11.  Add your favourite pizza sauce, toppings, and whatever your heart desires!
  12.  Bake for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy 🙂

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Quinoa Chicken Chili

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Ingredients (Serves ~8-10)

  • 1 container lean ground chicken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans (2 cups)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp red lentils
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp tricolor quinoa
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • Ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on medium heat, add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes.
  2. Preheat a skillet to medium/high heat. Add 1.5 tbsp olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove, and cook the ground chicken thoroughly (until no pink) with 1 tbsp chili powder. When finished, add to the large pot.
  3. In the small skillet, saute the peppers, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil. When complete add to the large pot.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the large pot and allow to come to a slight boil.
  5. Turn onto low heat to simmer for at least 1 hour.
  6. Enjoy!.. You can top with shredded cheese or I love to use Skotidakis Jalapeno Greek yogurt and mix it in. DELICIOUS 🙂

 

Vegan/Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

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This recipe is warm and filling for those cool nights ahead of us. It is packed with various sources of plant-based proteins: quinoa, red kidney beans, chickpeas, and textured vegetable protein (TVP). This recipe also passed the test with my dad (a meat-eater)… he absolutely loved it! I calculated the nutrition facts based on 12 servings and you will get ~170 calories per serving/bowl.

You can also make this recipe not vegetarian by removing the TVP and swapping for ground chicken or turkey. Why not ground beef? Ground beef is higher in saturated fats and calories and I do not consider this a lean source of protein. However, everything in moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle! 

Note: If you are swapping to add ground meat to your chili instead of plant-based proteins, cook in a skillet first and then add into the large pot when it in fully cooked. Also, you may need to add a bit extra broth so that it does not get way too chunky.

What you will need: (Serves ~12-14 bowls)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1.5 cups sliced mushrooms

*Saute the above ingredients first.

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (500 mL)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp TVP (found at bulk barn)
  • 1.5 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups red kidney beans
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn niblets
  • 3.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Ground sea salt to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Saute the top bundle of vegetable ingredients in a skillet on medium-high heat first (with regular mixing).
  2. While your vegetables are cooking, prepare a large pot. Add you tomatoes, veg broth, uncooked quinoa, and TVP. Let this sit on medium heat to begin to cook the quinoa and TVP.
  3. After ~10-12 minutes of sauteeing of the vegetables, when they are finished, you can add them to the large pot. Stir in with the other ingredients.
  4. Add in the rest of your seasonings and beans to the large pot.
  5. Lower the burner temperature to low after ~10 more minutes of cooking everything together.
  6. Allow the chili to simmer for at least an hour to bring all the flavours out.
  7. You can eat immediately, store in the refrigerator or freezer for later consumption. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts per serving (based on 12 servings): 170 calories, 3.9g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 8g protein. 

 

 

Fish Tacos with a Grilled Spiced Corn & Black Bean Mix

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Fish tacos are a much healthier switch up from the traditional beef taco (they are lower in fat and calories).  Also, since I do not eat beef I always want to find creative ways to change up traditional dishes with fish or vegetarian alternatives! These fish tacos were absolutely delicious and packed with flavour and nutritional benefit.

This recipe here serves 2 people: 

What you will need: 

  • ~5 Corn Tortillas (I used Mission’s gluten-free yellow corn mini tortillas)
  • 2-3 tilapia loins (I usually buy the big bag of individually frozen tilapia from Costco)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Ground Salt and Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Optional: Blackening Seasoning
  1. Light the barbeque. Allow to heat on med-high heat.
  2. On tinfoil, add olive oil, lay your thawed fish in the foil. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, spritz with lemon juice, and blacken seasoning if desired.
  3. Prepare your Corn and Bean Mixture while the BBQ is heating. See below. 

 

Ingredients for Grilled Corn and Bean Mixture:

  • 1 can of corn niblets or frozen corn (341 mL)
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Sprinkle of ground sea salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  1. In a BBQ safe dish, mix together all of these ingredients and stir.
  2. When the BBQ is heated, place the fish on the grill in the tin foil. Place the grilled corn and bean mixture on the BBQ as well but, place this burner on low-medium heat.
  3. While these cooking (~20 minutes), prepare toppings. Your fish will be complete when it begins to flake when touched with a fork/knife.
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Toppings:

  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Fresh salsa
  • Plain 0% green yogurt (instead of sour cream.. a healthier alternative).
  • Other options if desired: shredded cheese, cilantro, lettuce, etc. Make it however you’d like! 🙂

ENJOY! 

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Low-Cal Mini Pizza Crusts (Gluten-Free)

I created this recipe looking for a healthy alternative to pizza crust. You can make this crust as mini individual pizza crusts, or make one large pizza crust. I thought the mini pizzas was a fun idea so that if people wanted to created their own pizza and toppings it could be done! This crust is high in protein and low in cals.

beet mini pizzas

Nutrition Facts Per 1 Mini Crust (Makes 5):  Calories: 61 calories Fat: 0.9g Carbs: 5.9g Protein:7.5g

What you will need (makes 5 mini-crusts):

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt protein-powder from Genuine Health.
  • 1/2 a large head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Touch of ground sea salt
  • Touch of ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Steam your cauliflower until soft in a heat safe, sealed container for ~5 minutes in the microwave with  3 tbsp water.
  2. When cauliflower is cooked, using a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower until it becomes a fine consistency (no chunks).
  3. When the cauliflower is fully processed, combine in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Regularly mix as adding ingredients to ensure proper distribution.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Mold your mixture into small pizza crust rounds and place on the baking sheet.
  6. When the oven is ready, bake on one side for ~15 minutes, gently flip the crusts to toast the alternative side for ~15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and then begin to add your toppings as desired. Once you have completed your toppings, put the pizzas back in the oven.
  8. Remember: this pizza crust is made from cauliflower and may apart a lot more easily than regular crust. You may not be able to pick it up however, eating it with a fork and a knife isn’t so bad. It still tastes GREAT!

I topped my pizzas with roasted beets, roasted garlic, arugula, goat cheese, olive oil, black pepper. One of my favourite food combinations 🙂