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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Eggplant Quinoa Lasagna – Guilt-Free!

Everyone loves lasagna on cool winter days. It is such a hearty meal but, the traditional lasagna has a bad rep with all that cheese, ground beef, and refined carbohydrates (white pasta!).

So, since I was craving something like lasagna… I decided to make one with a healthy twist. This lasagna is made from quinoa, eggplant, and veggies. The only cheese it contains is the little bit that I grated on top. Instead of ricotta or cheese in the inside – I created a layer using Skotidakis Jalapeño Greek yogurt dip. 

As a vegetarian dish, low in fat, and with protein coming from the quinoa… it is completely guilt-free.

Veggie Quinoa Lasagna

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked red/white quinoa
1 can diced tomatoes (796mL)
1.5 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cups spinach
1 medium sized eggplant (chopped into circles)
1.5 cups Skotidakis Jalapeño Greek Yogurt dip (COSTCO! duel packs for a better price 🙂
+ desired amount of shredded marble cheese
2 cups marinara (I used white linen marinara sauce from costco.. all natural ingredients– avoid marinaras that have sugar on the ingredient list).

Directions:
1. Cook 1 cup of quinoa as per package instructions.
2. While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl combine diced tomatoes, italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and crushed garlic. Mix.
3. Put the tomato base into a large baking dish. (layer 1)
4. Saute peppers and red onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet for ~10 minutes to soften.
5. Quinoa should be finished cooking now, add it into the baking dish on top of the tomato layer.
6. Using washed and trimmed spinach, make a spinach layer on top of the quinoa.
7. Disperse eggplant circles evenly on top of the spinach layer.
8. Add the sauted vegetables on top of the eggplant layer.
9. Spread 2 cups marinara sauce over this vegetable layer.
10. Spread 1.5 cups Skotidakas Jalapeño Greek Yogurt dip on top of this marinara layer.
11. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top as desired.
12. Preheat oven to 350F – bake for 40 minutes until brown. Broil for 5 minutes to help with browning.
13. ENJOY!!! 🙂 Add ground pepper and salt as desired. My mom also added a little bit of parmesan on top of hers!

Veg Quinoa Lasagna

My Main Chicks: All About Chickpeas

chickpeas

MMMM chickpeas. Whether adding them to a salad, roasting them, or coating them in dark chocolate… they are by far my favourite of the legume family. They also go by the name ‘garbanzo beans’.

So… what are they good for?
Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fibre.
Per 1/2 cup of chickpeas (canned) you will get 10g of protein and 8g of fibre. With almost ZERO grams of saturated fats. This makes chickpeas a great vegetarian protein source and meat substitute.

How can you eat them?

  • Puree (make a hummus or use as an alternative to nut butters in recipes)
  • Roasted (crunchy snack)
  • Add canned chickpeas to salad
  • Add canned or dehydrated chickpeas to soups
  • Roast and coat in dark chocolate for dessert
  • ….ETC!

I usually buy canned chickpeas. Once they are rinsed and drained, I add them to salads for an extra protein source, roast them to have as a snack, or roast them to coat in dark chocolate for dessert!

This legume has so many different ways it can be used. It is definitely an ingredient you should consider adding to your nutritional lifestyle.
…. I made sure to include chickpeas in my day today 😉

Chickpea Bark

Click here for my dark chocolate chickpea bark recipe:>>>>>>> CHICKPEA BARK <<<<<<<<<

My Protein Picks

Protein Sources1

Protein is a macronutrient, along with carbohydrates and fats, that is essential to our diet to maintain proper body function.

 My top protein picks (as seen above) include: ground turkey/chicken, salmon, nut butters (preferably almond butter), skinless boneless chicken breast, almonds/mixed nuts, quinoa, chickpeas, Greek yogurt (plain 0%), and beans/lentils. 

 
Why is protein so important to our body?

  • it is apart of every cell in our body
  • it is needed for muscle synthesis and development
  • helps to build and repair nails, tissues, skin, and hair
  • it is a building block of hormones and enzymes

Nutrition tips:

  • Choose ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef. Ground beef is high in saturated fats whereas, turkey/chicken are much leaner sources of protein.
  • When cooking chicken, try to barbeque/grill the chicken breast with spices versus pan-fried and with commercial sauces.
  • Choose plain/nature greek yogurt to avoid refined sugars. Sweeten it at home with fresh fruit, honey, maple syrup, melted frozen fruit (put in fridge over night).
  • Add chickpeas to your salads or stir fry’s to add protein.
  • Carry a small handful of nuts/seeds on you throughout your day in case you get hungry. Nuts are packed with the good fats (polyunsaturated) and protein to satisfy you until your next meal.
  • Choose quinoa, the ancient grain, over rice. Quinoa is a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids and also contains much more substantial/satisfying nutritional content. Check out my food fact of the day on quinoa for more information.